So you have had a cold brew coffee at your local Starbucks and you are thinking “Wow, I love that clean, sweet taste – but can you make cold brew in a french press?”
The answer is yes, you can. And in this article, we are going to look at the right techniques to get that trending cold brew in your own kitchen.
How to make cold brew in a French Press
First of all, let’s be clear about one thing – cold brew is not the same as iced coffee. Iced coffee is simply hot coffee that is brewed normally and cooled down with ice cubes and often milk and flavorings.
Cold brew is coffee that is brewed in cold water, usually over a much longer period of time, like anything up to 12 hours or more.
There are several ways to make cold brew at home, and it can be a little messy when it comes to removing the coffee grounds from the coffee, but using a French Press makes this process much simpler.
The beans should be medium to coarse ground. Remove the filter/plunger, and put the ground beans into the French Press as you would usually do when preparing coffee, and then add the water in the ratio of 1:3. You can put the plunger back on as a covering for now, but do not press it down.
Store the Press in a cool place where it won’t be disturbed. Many people keep it in the refrigerator but bearing in mind that the lid does not seal it, the coffee might absorb other strong odors from things in your fridge like onions, etc.
You should leave it undisturbed for around 12 to 15 hours (probably overnight), and the longer you leave it the stronger the coffee will be. Unlike hot brewing, where all the oils and flavors are extracted quickly and there is no advantage in it taking longer, with cold brew the longer the better.
When it has brewed, simply press the plunger down, and pour out the coffee. You can drink it straight away, over ice, or you can store it in a refrigerator in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
Also, note that the coffee is quite concentrated and you can dilute it with fresh cold water or with milk or cream, but once it has been diluted the shelf life reduces to one or two days.
As always with a French Press, there will be some fine grounds in the coffee, and if you really want just pure coffee, you can pour the coffee from the French Press through a filter paper such as a Chemex to completely remove all the sediment-like grounds.
Final thoughts on making cold brew in a french press
Cold brew coffee has become popular in recent years, and the slow extraction process results in a smooth, less bitter drink.
The baristas in coffee shops are the experts, and their cold brew will usually be better than you can make yourself, but you can have fun trying it at home and it will still produce an enjoyable cold drink, served over ice, perhaps with cream and flavorings.
What is the ideal French Press Cold Brew coffee ratio?
It is important to realize that the extraction process in cold brew requires more coffee grounds than if you are making hot French Press coffee.
A suggested ratio is one cup of coffee beans to three cups of cold water.
How long do you steep cold brew coffee in a French Press?
The recommended time is 12 to 15 hours, although it can be longer which will produce a stronger blend.
The time should not be less than 12 hours or all the flavor compounds will not be fully extracted.
Can you speed up cold brew coffee with a French Press?
If you are short on time or you just don’t want to wait a whole day to enjoy your cold brew, one trick is to first put coarse ground beans into a blender with water and blend for a few minutes.
You then pour this blend into a French Press and leave it for around 10 minutes to let the grounds settle down, then press the plunger.
It will not be quite the same drink as if you use the usual extraction time, but it will still be a good cup of cold brew.
What is the difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee?
Iced coffee is brewed using hot water and then cooled down with ice cubes. Cold brew is brewed in cold water from the start and takes a much longer time to brew.
This results in a more concentrated coffee that can be diluted with water or milk. Iced coffee will have a more “watery” taste while cold brew will be more flavorful.