French Press Cold Brew

Posted in  Coffee Brewing  on  March 24, 2021 by  Urban Bean Coffee Team

This is our guide to making French press Cold Brew coffee.

Making cold brew coffee in a French press is one of the easiest ways to get refreshing coffee. This method is a mixture of the traditional method and that introduced by James Hoffman, winner of the 2007 World Barista Championship and author of the World Coffee Atlas. The coffee will be soft and balanced with a naturally sweet aftertaste.

You will probably like this method because it is fast, easy, and cheap. There is no need for expensive equipment—all you need to do is pour water over high-quality coffee beans.

For other methods, special filters are needed to properly filter out small particles. In a French press, the piston performs this function in seconds. Therefore, when choosing a French press, pay attention to the quality of the filter: it must be made of stainless steel and leave no gap between the edge of the filter and the edge of the carafe. This way you will get a clean taste without small particles.

Check out this video for a quick overview of how to make cold brew coffee in a French press:

Brewing Recommendations

To prepare French press cold brew coffee, you will need:

  • French press
  • Freshly roasted coffee beans
  • Grinder
  • Filtered cold water
  • Sugar or syrup (optional)
  • Milk (optional)
  • Scales (optional; you can use a tablespoon)

The French press cold brew brewing process produces a highly concentrated beverage. It is best served over ice or diluted with cold water or milk. Leftover coffee can be stored in a glass carafe in the refrigerator.

If you want to make your coffee even sweeter, try pre-soaking the grounds with hot water. Heat the water to 203°F (95°C), add ground coffee in a 1:3 coffee-to-water ratio, stir, and wait for about a minute, then add cold water to the required volume.

Since cold brew coffee concentrate takes time, it can take days to find the perfect recipe. To find the perfect brew faster, it is best to brew several drinks at once in different devices, with different dosages, with or without hot pre-wetting, for different times. Then the very next day you can compare all the different options and choose the one that suits your taste.

If you don't have a French press, you can use any jug or jar with a lid. In this case, carefully and slowly pour the finished coffee concentrate through a paper or cloth filter.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make Cold Brew Coffee In a French Press (Short Version)

If you are looking for a quick answer to the question of how to make cold brew coffee in a French press, then we have prepared step-by-step instructions for you:

How to Make Cold Brew in a French Press

1. Grind your favorite coffee to your desired grind size.

2. Pour the ground coffee into the French press.

3. Add ice water or cold water.

4. Stir gently to wet all the grounds.

5. Insert plunger and push to the middle of the French press.

6. Put the French press in the refrigerator.

7. Let it brew for 14-16 hours.

8. Remove the French press from the refrigerator.

9. Lower the plunger to the bottom of the French press and pour the drink into another container.

10. Enjoy your drink!

11.  Throw away any leftovers from the French press.


If the coffee is too strong, add some ice, water, or milk.

The infusion time can be reduced to 8 hours if the drink is left at room temperature, though this will reduce the shelf life.

Grind size: Coarse, Medium

Brew ratio: 1:15, 1:17

Extraction time: 14-16 hours

Detailed Instructions

If our step-by-step instructions were not enough for you or you want to dive into the nuances, then we have prepared a detailed instruction of making French press cold brew coffee, explaining each point.

1. Choice of Coffee beans for French press cold brew

We recommend using a light roast coffee. Then the coffee will be soft, very sweet, and not too acidic, while retaining its flavor and aroma characteristics.

But in general, a wide variety of coffee beans for Cold Brew are suitable. Your choice is a matter of personal taste.

Depending on the roast, you can adjust the immersion time. For example, dark-roasted coffee beans require less immersion time than medium- or light-roasted coffee beans.

Of course, the French press cold brew method does not require using freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee beans (even though this is best). If you happen to have a bit of ground coffee lying around in your kitchen, then feel free to use it. You can get quite decent cold brew coffee. The aroma and taste of your drink will just be less deep than if you used freshly ground beans. If you like to add milk, sugar, or syrups, you won't even notice the difference.

2. Grind coffee beans

Grind the coffee and pour it into the French press, then gently shake to smooth the layer. For French press cold brew, a medium-coarse grind is best.

Since cold brew coffee takes a long time to brew, even in cold water all the necessary substances will have time to be extracted. If you use a finer grind, the finished coffee can taste bitter and leave a dry aftertaste. In addition, finer particles are more likely to escape the filter and end up in your drink.

3. Add water

The coffee-to-water ratio is good to experiment with. It all depends on whether you are going to drink cold brew plain, with ice, or diluted with water or milk.

You can start with a ratio of 1:17—about 2 oz (60 g) of coffee per liter of water. This is the standard ratio for making filter coffee; the drink will be light and refreshing, and good to drink plain. If you want to add water or milk, brew a stronger drink.

These coffee-to-water ratios are used for French press cold brew coffee:

French Press Cold Brew coffee to water ratio

Use bottled or filtered water to make French press cold brew coffee.

Insert and slightly lower the piston, but do not immerse it. The filter should be placed directly on top of the coffee layer to keep the coffee grounds underwater.

4. Make the coffee cold

Put in the refrigerator and leave to steep for 10 to 12 hours. After 10 to 12 hours, take the French press out of the refrigerator and remove the plunger. Stir with a spoon several times—until the layer of ground coffee from the surface is completely mixed in the drink.

Then leave for 5-10 minutes, so that almost all small coffee particles settle to the bottom.

5. Final steps

Insert the piston, but don't lower it completely. Lower it until it's just above the ground coffee layer. Pushing the piston all the way down can ruin your ideal cold brew coffee and lift any slurry that has settled for a long time from the bottom.

Carefully pour the finished coffee concentrate into a container with a lid. Before drinking, dilute with fresh cold water in a 1:1 ratio or to your liking. In a well-sealed container, the concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

About the Author

Urban Bean Coffee Team

Coffee is part of the lives of everyone on the Urban Bean Coffee team. We are a group of professional baristas, coffee bean roasters, and coffee machine repairers. Coffee has connected us, and together we strive to provide the best information to our readers. Our responsibility is to provide advice on any and all coffee-related issues. And we know that to do this we must be experts in this field. The coffee consumption culture has changed dramatically over several centuries. New brewing methods, bean quality control methods, roasting methods, and much more have appeared. We are sure that coffee will change further, and we want to be involved in changing it for the better.

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