Nothing beats a cold glass of rich, smooth, cold-brew coffee on a hot summer morning! Luckily, with just a French press, some coffee grounds, water, and patience, making a cold brew French press style is easier than you may think.
This simple yet effective brewing method offers homemade cold brew that’s convenient, customizable, and costs just a fraction of your favorite coffee shop’s. Using a French press makes for an uncomplicated brewing process in your kitchen and allows for adjustments to coffee strength and flavor during steeping.
Read on to learn how to quickly transform essential ingredients into a cup of delightful cold brew worthy of a true coffee connoisseur – without ever leaving the comfort of home.
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
How to make cold brew coffee French press style is creating quite a buzz. This simple yet flavorful coffee is made by steeping coarse coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for 12-24 hours. The longer steeping time extracts the oils and flavor from the beans without adding the bitterness of heat or acidity of hot brew methods.
Cold brew coffee utilizes a higher ratio of grounds to water versus typical hot coffee preparation. For French, press cold brew using a 1:4 ratio of coffee beans to water. So, for example, put 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee into a 32oz French press, then fill it with 4 cups of cold filtered water. Stir to combine and let steep at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. The longer it steeps, the stronger the concentration.
The French press brewing method is perfect for cold brew coffee. Depress the plunger slowly to filter out the grounds once the steeping is over. The smooth, concentrated liquid is ready to enjoy straight over ice or diluted with water or milk. You get all the natural flavors of the beans without bitterness or acidity.
This makes it customizable to your tastes – adjust the strength through steeping time, cut with milk or water to your preferred concentration, and add sweeteners or flavors as desired. French press cold brew is that delightful, refreshing, homemade cup of summer without heating the kitchen!
Preparing for Cold Brew Coffee with a French Press
Making cold brew coffee French press style starts with gathering essential equipment and ingredients. Brewing cold brew requires just a few supplies: a French press, preferably 1 liter or larger depending on desired yield; a coarse coffee grinder; a food scale for precise ratios (optional); and an airtight container for storing the concentrate after steeping.
Choosing high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans is vital for flavorful cold brew concentrate. Opt for beans intended for slow cold water extraction rather than those meant for hot brew methods. Light to medium roasts allow the natural sweetness and complexity of the beans to shine.
Proper grinding is one of the most critical steps for French press cold brew. An extremely coarse, sea salt-like grind allows the water to extract coffee oils without over-extraction, leading to bitterness. A fine drip coffee grind would result in sludge at the end – a gritty French press cold brew concentrate. After uniformly grinding the beans, combine them with cool water in the French press based on preferred strength.
By beginning with the proper French press equipment, fresh coarse ground beans, and filtered water, you’ll be ready to steep and strain delicious smooth French press cold brew concentrate. Tweak the ratios and steeping time to customize the intensity exactly how you like it.
Brewing the Cold Brew Concentrate
- Coffee to Water Ratio:
Making cold brew coffee French press style requires finding the proper coffee-to-water ratio for flavor and strength. Most recipes call for a concentrate using a 1:4 to 1:8 ratio, but a 1:6 is recommended to start for balanced intensity.
- Adding Coffee and Water:
Begin by measuring the coarse-ground coffee beans with a scale aiming for precision. Gently pour the grinds into the empty French press to avoid spillover. Next, slowly add filtered or bottled water, stirring just enough to saturate all the grounds.
For faster extraction, room-temperature water can steep for 12-15 hours. If using cold water straight from the fridge, plan to steep for 18-24 for optimized brewing. Covering the press and storing it in the refrigerator, regardless of the water temperature, keeps the brew cool and concentrated.
Resist pressing the plunger during the long steeping, which would agitate the brew and add fine particulates. Allow the coffee concentrate in the immersion style French press ample undisturbed time for the grounds to fully release the oils and flavor compounds.
The longer steep makes for a smooth flavor lacking acidity or bitterness.
Once steeping, monitor until the preferred intensity is reached by checking periodically with a spoon to taste. The longer time also darkens the concentration. Decant and enjoy straight over ice or customize by cutting to preferred strength with added water or milk.
Filtering and Storage
How to make cold brew coffee French press style ends with filtering and storage. After the long, undisturbed steeping, slowly depress the French press plunger to push the grounds to the bottom while straining the smooth concentrate through the filter into glasses or another container.
For extra clarity, pouring the concentrate through a fine mesh strainer catches any loose grounds, resulting in a cleaner textured beverage.
Proper storage keeps the French press cold brew tasting optimally fresh. Transfer the cold brew concentrate from the French press into a clean, airtight container, preferably glass or non-reactive metal. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The concentrate holds well for on-demand dilution.
For more extended storage, up to 2 months, concentrate can be frozen in portions, leaving room at the top for expansion. Thaw in the refrigerator before cutting with water or milk over ice for a refreshing lift-me-up.
Serving Cold Brew Coffee
How to make cold brew coffee French press style results in a versatile concentrate perfect for serving iced or hot. The standard dilution ratio is 1:1 but adjusted to taste preference. For iced coffee, combine equal parts cold brew concentrate and water, served over a glass filled with ice for an excellent, refreshing lift on a hot day.
Mix concentrate with hot water in winter for a warming, non-acidic cup to start your morning.
Customize your cold brew by adding milk, sweetened creamers, or flavored syrups. The smooth flavor profile plays nicely with add-ins without overpowering them. For a special treat, consider serving as a nitro cold brew on tap for a cascading creamy texture. Or spice up date night with spirited cold brew cocktails, swapping out standard mixers.
Part of the beauty of cold brewing coffee in a French press is experimenting with different beans, steeping times, serving methods, and mix-in flavors. Play with the variables to invent your signature cold brew. You’ll want to enjoy morning, noon, and night. With this easy immersion technique, quickly make the concentrated liquid gold in your fridge so ice-cold artisan-style coffee is never more than a few minutes away!
Now that you have seen how to make cold brew coffee, the French press style is as easy as measuring, grating, steeping, and straining. The smooth concentrate options for customization are endless. Play with grinding beans to the consistency of sea salt, adjusting water ratios, and experimenting with chilled steeping times between 12-24 hours to invent your ideal cold brew.
Mix and match different kinds of milk, sweeteners, and extracts until you settle on your tried and true cold brew styles for daily drinking enjoyment and entertaining guests with your artisan chilled or hot creations. Please share your signature methods and flavor inventions below! Ask any questions for friendly advice, taking your cold brew coffee obsessions to higher grounds, French press style.