By: Jason Guanso

April 30, 2023

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How to Make French Press Cold Brew (in 6 Steps)

You can use your French press to make cold brew at home.  It’s a simple process and you don’t need any special equipment other than what you already have. Here are the materials you’ll need and the steps to follow:


  1. French Press
  2. Fresh Coffee Beans
  3. Coffee Grinder (preferably burr grinder)
  4. Cold Water
  5. Refrigerator
  6. Spoon to stir
  7. Optional: Scale to measure coffee

How to Make Cold brew with a French Press (in 6 Steps)

  1. Grind Your Coffee Beans: First, you’ll want to grind your coffee. For cold brew, you’ll want a coarser grind than hot coffee. If you have a burr grinder, this would be the same setting you use for French press coffee. If you don’t have a grinder, you can ask your local coffee shop to grind it.
  2. Measure Your Coffee: The ratio of coffee to water can vary depending on your preference, but a good starting point is a 1:8 ratio of coffee to water. So, for every 1 gram of coffee, you’ll use 8 grams (or milliliters) of water. If you don’t have a scale, a general guideline is 1 cup of coffee grounds to 4 cups of water.
  3. Combine Coffee and Water: Add your coffee grounds to the French press and cold water. Make sure all the coffee grounds are wet. You can use a spoon to stir and ensure all the coffee is saturated.
  4. Let It Steep: Put the plunger/lid on the French press but do not press it down. You’ll let the coffee steep for a long time, about 12-24 hours. The longer you let it steep, the stronger and more concentrated the flavor.
  5. Refrigerate: Place your French press in the refrigerator during the steeping process. This will keep your coffee cold and slow down the extraction process, giving cold brew its unique flavor.
  6. Press and Serve: After 12-24 hours, press the plunger down on your French press. Pour the coffee into a glass or jar to store it, leaving the grounds behind in the French press.

Your cold brew is now ready to serve! It will be a concentrate, so you can serve it over ice and dilute it with water or milk. Enjoy your homemade cold-brew coffee!

Remember to clean your French press thoroughly after each use to prevent any residual coffee from spoiling the taste of your next brew.

Choose Different Roasts for Different Flavor Profiles

The type of coffee roast you use for cold brew largely comes down to personal preference. Each roast level—light, medium, and dark—offers different flavor profiles that will be subtly altered in the process of making cold brew.

  • Light Roasts: These beans are roasted for a shorter period of time, resulting in a more acidic coffee with more pronounced origin flavors (the specific flavors inherent in the beans due to their region of growth). Light roasts can create a cold brew with more nuanced flavors, but these might not be as noticeable once diluted.
  • Medium Roasts: These beans are roasted a bit longer than light roasts, resulting in a more balanced flavor profile between acidity, sweetness, and bitterness. Medium roasts often make for a smooth and balanced cold brew.
  • Dark Roasts: These are roasted the longest, resulting in a less acidic, more bitter coffee with flavors of chocolate, nuts, and caramel. Dark roasts are often used for cold brew due to their robust flavor that can hold up well even when diluted.

While any roast can be used for cold brew, medium to dark roasts are commonly preferred for their bold and robust flavors. But feel free to experiment with different roasts to see which one you enjoy the most in your cold brew!

How Long Does Cold Brew Keep For

Cold brew coffee can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, although it will likely be at its best if consumed within the first week. After about a week, the flavor may begin to degrade and the coffee can start to taste stale.

It’s also important to note that the quality of your cold brew over time depends on how well it’s stored. Be sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness. It’s also a good idea to store it undiluted—if you add milk or other additives, it will significantly shorten the shelf life.

Remember, however, that cold brew coffee is a concentrate, so you’ll need to dilute it with water or milk before you drink it. This should be done per serving, not for the entire batch at once, to help maintain the freshness of the concentrate.

Cold Brew Measuring / Ratio Guide

The commonly suggested ratio for making cold brew is 1:8 coffee to water. Here is a guide based on this ratio for making 1 up to 12 cups of cold brew. Please note that a “cup” in these measurements is the standard US cup measurement, equal to 8 ounces or approximately 237 milliliters.

This guide assumes you’re making a cold brew concentrate, which you will dilute before drinking. The measurements are for the amount of water used to make the concentrate. The resulting volume of concentrate will be less, due to absorption by the coffee grounds.

Remember, the ratios can be adjusted to taste.

Coffee to Water Ratio:

  1. 1 cup cold brew: 1/4 cup (30g) coffee + 2 cups water
  2. 2 cups cold brew: 1/2 cup (60g) coffee + 4 cups water
  3. 3 cups cold brew: 3/4 cup (90g) coffee + 6 cups water
  4. 4 cups cold brew: 1 cup (120g) coffee + 8 cups water
  5. 5 cups cold brew: 1 1/4 cups (150g) coffee + 10 cups water
  6. 6 cups cold brew: 1 1/2 cups (180g) coffee + 12 cups water
  7. 7 cups cold brew: 1 3/4 cups (210g) coffee + 14 cups water
  8. 8 cups cold brew: 2 cups (240g) coffee + 16 cups water
  9. 9 cups cold brew: 2 1/4 cups (270g) coffee + 18 cups water
  10. 10 cups cold brew: 2 1/2 cups (300g) coffee + 20 cups water
  11. 11 cups cold brew: 2 3/4 cups (330g) coffee + 22 cups water
  12. 12 cups cold brew: 3 cups (360g) coffee + 24 cups water

This guide should help you make just the right amount of cold brew for your needs! Enjoy your homemade cold brew coffee!

Other Cold Brew Drink Ideas

Cold brew coffee is incredibly versatile and can be used as a base for various delicious drinks. Here are a few examples:

  1. Cold Brew Latte: Mix cold brew with an equal amount of cold milk or a dairy-free alternative, then sweeten to taste. Add ice and enjoy!
  2. Cold Brew Tonic: Fill a glass halfway with tonic water, then top it up with cold brew coffee. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime for a tangy twist.
  3. Cold Brew Smoothie: Blend cold brew coffee, a banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a splash of milk or a dairy-free alternative for a caffeine-fueled breakfast.
  4. Cold Brew Martini: Mix equal parts cold brew, vodka, and coffee liqueur for a fun and caffeinated cocktail.
  5. Cold Brew Affogato: Pour cold brew over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a refreshing dessert.
  6. Cold Brew Protein Shake: Blend cold brew with a scoop of chocolate protein powder, a banana, and some Greek yogurt for a post-workout treat.
  7. Vietnamese Iced Coffee: Make a sweetened condensed milk mixture by combining equal parts warm milk and sugar, then stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool, then mix with cold brew and ice.
  8. Mocha Cold Brew: Add chocolate syrup to your cold brew, then top with milk or a dairy-free alternative and ice. Stir to combine and enjoy!

Adjust the amount of cold brew and other ingredients according to your taste. Enjoy experimenting with these drinks!

Other Ways to Use Your French Press

The French press is a versatile tool that can be used to prepare more than just your typical hot or cold brew coffee. Here are some other ways you can use your French press:

  1. Espresso-Style Coffee: While a French press can’t create true espresso (which requires high pressure), you can make a similar, more concentrated coffee. Use the same amount of coffee you’d use for a regular brew, but half the amount of water. Brew for 4 minutes as usual. The result will be a strong, concentrated coffee that you can use as a base for homemade lattes or cappuccinos.
  2. Milk Frother: Heat milk on the stove until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot milk into the French press and move the plunger up and down quickly. This will aerate the milk and create froth, perfect for lattes and cappuccinos.
  3. Herbal or Loose Leaf Tea: A French press is an excellent way to brew loose-leaf tea. Add your tea leaves to the pot, pour over hot water, and steep for the appropriate amount of time for the type of tea you’re brewing (generally 3-5 minutes). Press the plunger to separate the leaves from the tea.
  4. Infused Water or Oils: A French press can infuse flavors into water or oil. For example, add fruits or herbs to water and sit in the fridge for a few hours. The press makes it easy to separate the solids from the liquid. Similarly, you can infuse oils with garlic, herbs, or spices for culinary use.
  5. Fruit Juices: If you have soft fruits like berries or citrus, you can press them in French to extract fresh, homemade juice. You may want to strain the juice afterward to remove any remaining pulp or seeds.
  6. Cocktails: A French press can muddle ingredients and mix cocktails. For example, you could make a mojito by muddling the mint and lime directly in the press, adding the other ingredients, and then using the plunger to strain the drink as you pour.

Remember to clean your French press thoroughly between uses, especially when switching between coffee and other beverages, to avoid cross-contamination of flavors.

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