How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In Your French Press-Alternative Brewing

When warm weather hits and temperatures rise, hot french press coffee begins to sound less and less appealing. Luckily, there’s a way you can still put your press to great use: by making cold brew coffee in it.

Cold brew coffee is refreshing, smooth, and produces a realm of flavor that hot brewed coffee does not. This unique flavor is largely due to the lack of acidity and bitterness, which are barely extracted from the grounds in cold water.

Cold brew is also brewed as a concentrate, providing a lot of flexibility with its use. You can cut it with cold water and ice, hot water, milk, sparkling water, or any other liquid you choose. This makes cold brew concentrate quite versatile and fun to experiment with.

Pros and Cons of Cold Brewing In A French Press

Though originally designed to brew hot coffee, french presses do a great job of cold brewing as well. They are multi-functional, which means less gear on your counter and less money spent.

Using the immersion brewing process, you can immerse coffee grounds and cold water for 12-24 hours to make a rich concentrate. French press carafes enable you to produce a variety of batch sizes and the built-in filter makes filtering out large coffee particles easy.

The process is simple and forgiving because there’s no drip rate to manipulate, like with drip cold brew coffee makers. The press can even store the cold brew concentrate once the liquid is filtered.

However, french presses aren’t fool-proof for cold brewing. Unfortunately, most filters allow some micro-grounds through into the filtered concentrate. The micro-grounds continue to extract as you enjoy your coffee over the following two weeks.

To avoid this, you have to filter the concentrate a second time through a finer filter, such as cloth or paper. It’s an extra step, but it’s not a deal breaker. Just make sure you have some other coffee filters on hand for getting the micro-grounds out.

A Recipe For Cold Brewing In Your French Press

Here’s a simple, reliable recipe you can use to make cold brew coffee in your french press.

How to make Cold Brew Coffee with French Press

Before you get started, collect the following:

  • French Press
  • 60g of Coffee
  • 500g of Cold Water
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Pour Over Cone + Filter
  • Second Carafe

Any pour over cone should work as the second brewer. Even a basic kitchen funnel with any coffee filter will do. As long as it filters micro-grounds, it’ll work. For the second carafe, a mason jar, glass bottle, large mug, or any other vessel will do. Nothing special needed there - just something that’s food safe.

With the ingredients and tools within reach, you’re ready to begin the process.

Keep in mind that this recipe requires 12 hours to brew. One of the easiest ways to use this brew length to your advantage is to set it up at night and filter in the morning, though you’re free to begin whenever you would like.

  1. Grind 60g of coffee beans at a coarse setting and pour them into the french press.
  2. Pour 500g of cold water (fresh out of the tap) over the coffee grounds, carefully saturating them all evenly.
  3. Start a timer for 12 hours.
  4. After 5 minutes, take a wooden spoon or paddle and gently push the coffee grounds that have formed a crust back into the water. It’s important that all the grounds are fully immersed. Avoid using a metal spoon for your carafe’s sake.
  5. Attach the lid, leave the filter unplugged, and set the press on the counter.
  6. When 12 hours have elapsed, plunge the filter down slowly.
  7. Set up your pour over cone and filter over a second carafe. Slowly pour the cold brew concentrate through.
  8. Once the filtering is complete, you can cover the concentrate and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

This recipe used 60g of coffee and 500g of water, a 1:8 ratio. Generally, coffee tastes best when brewed and drank at a 1:16 ratio. To achieve that level of strength and flavor, simply cut your cold brew concentrate with an equal amount of water to achieve a 1:16 ratio and top it off with ice.

You now have a refreshing, smooth, and satisfying iced coffee drink that’s low in acidity and bitterness. It only took a few minutes to set up and tear down, with 12 hours of patience in between. Wasn’t that easy?

Troubleshooting Your Cold Brew

If you’re not completely satisfied with your cold brew after using this method there are a few things you can do to reign it in to match your preferences.

If your cold brew isn’t the right strength, simply add or subtract water when you cut the concentrate. You may like your cold brew a little stronger than others. You may like it on the light side. Toy with the water amount to find the right balance for you.

If your cold brew taste a little sour, it probably needed to brew a little longer. Acidity that’s a little too strong is often an indicator of under extraction. To fix this, simply add more time to the brewing. Start with adding 1-2 hours and go from there.

If your cold brew is on the bitter side, it probably extracted too much. Assuming the beans you used aren’t typically bitter, bitterness typically indicates that too much was pulled out from the coffee beans. Take away an hour or two next time around.

Making cold brew coffee at home is easy, forgiving, and rewarding. If you haven’t tried it already, you should. The simplicity is quite compelling and the flavor will draw you in.

If you’re in the market for a french press to make hot or cold coffee with, we’ve got over a dozen to choose from. See our carefully curated French Press selection. You cannot go wrong with any french press design. They all make incredible coffee - hot or cold - and will serve you for decades to come. Check out more French Press brewing tips here.

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