How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press: 4 Easy Steps!

Spread The Love!

Cold brew coffee has become a favorite for many, thanks to its smooth, less acidic taste.

Making it at home is easy and cost-effective, especially with a French press.

This simple method requires minimal equipment and produces a delicious concentrate you can enjoy in various ways.

Unlike iced coffee, which is brewed hot and then cooled, cold brew is steeped in cold water, resulting in a naturally sweeter and more robust flavor.

Let’s dive into how you can make perfect cold brew coffee using a French press.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In A French Press: At A Glance

  • Step 1: Measure and Grind Your Coffee
  • Step 2: Combine Coffee and Water
  • Step 3: Steep the Coffee
  • Step 4: Plunge and Filter
  • Step 5: Enjoy!

What You’ll Need

Before you start making cold brew coffee, gather the necessary equipment and ingredients.

Here’s a detailed list of what you’ll need to ensure a smooth brewing process.


French Press

A French press is essential for this method.

It’s a simple device that allows you to steep coffee grounds and then filter them easily.

Any size will work, but a larger press allows you to make more cold brew at once.

Coffee Grinder (preferably burr grinder)

Freshly ground coffee makes a big difference in flavor.

A burr grinder is preferred because it grinds the beans more evenly compared to a blade grinder.

Measuring Scale

Accuracy matters.

A measuring scale helps you get the right coffee-to-water ratio.

This ensures your cold brew has the perfect strength and flavor.

Container for Storing Coffee

After brewing, you’ll need a container to store your cold brew concentrate.

Choose an airtight container to keep your coffee fresh in the refrigerator.

Optional: Paper Filter or Cheesecloth

For a clearer cold brew, you might want to strain the coffee through a paper filter or cheesecloth after pressing.

This removes any fine particles that the French press filter might miss.


Coarsely Ground Coffee Beans (freshly ground preferred)

Quality coffee beans are the foundation of good cold brew.

Use freshly ground, coarse coffee beans to achieve the best flavor.

Dark roast beans are often recommended for their rich, robust taste in cold brew.

Filtered Water

Water quality can significantly impact the taste of your cold brew.

Use filtered water to avoid any off-flavors that can come from tap water.

This will help highlight the natural flavors of the coffee beans.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Measure and Grind Your Coffee

Using fresh coffee beans is crucial for making high-quality cold brew.

Freshly ground beans provide a richer, more flavorful brew compared to pre-ground coffee.

Grind Size: Coarse grind is recommended for cold brew. It helps in achieving a smooth extraction without over-extraction, which can make the coffee bitter.


  • Standard Ratio: Use 1:6 by weight, for example, 140 grams of coffee to 840 grams of water. This is a good starting point for a balanced brew.
  • Strong Concentrate: For a more robust brew, use a 1:4 or 1:2 ratio. This will create a stronger concentrate that you can dilute to your preferred strength.

Step 2: Combine Coffee and Water

Add your coarsely ground coffee to the French press.

Pour cold, filtered water over the grounds in a circular motion to ensure even saturation.

This helps in evenly extracting the flavors from the coffee.

Stir gently to make sure all the grounds are wet.

This step can be optional depending on your method, but it usually helps in achieving a more uniform brew.

Step 3: Steep the Coffee

Place the lid on the French press without pressing the plunger down.

This allows the coffee to steep properly.

Steeping Time:

  • For a milder brew, steep for 12 hours.
  • For a stronger brew, steep for 16-24 hours.

Steeping Environment: You can steep the coffee at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Steeping at room temperature may extract flavors more quickly, while refrigerating can result in a slightly different flavor profile.

Step 4: Plunge and Filter

After the steeping period, press the plunger down slowly to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.

Optional Step: For a clearer brew, you can strain the coffee through a paper filter or cheesecloth after plunging. This additional step removes any fine particles and can result in a cleaner, smoother coffee.

How to Serve Cold Brew Coffee


For a refreshing cold drink, mix 1 part coffee concentrate with 1 part water, milk, or any other preferred liquid.

This ratio provides a balanced flavor that isn’t too strong or too weak.

Once mixed, serve it over ice to keep it chilled and refreshing.

You can adjust the ratio to your taste, adding more water or milk if you prefer a lighter drink or less if you enjoy a stronger coffee flavor.


If you prefer a warm beverage, you can easily serve your cold brew hot.

Mix 1 part coffee concentrate with 1 part hot water or milk.

This maintains the smooth, less acidic flavor of cold brew while providing the warmth of a traditional coffee.

Heat the mixture gently to avoid altering the acidity or over-extracting the flavors.

The most convenient way to heat it is by microwaving for 1-2 minutes.

This method allows you to enjoy the rich taste of cold brew even on cooler days.

Storage Tips

Proper storage is essential to maintain the freshness and flavor of your cold brew coffee concentrate.

First, store your cold brew concentrate in an airtight container.

This helps prevent any unwanted flavors or odors from affecting your coffee.

An airtight seal also keeps the coffee fresher for a longer period.

The shelf life of cold brew concentrate is typically 7-10 days when stored in the refrigerator.

This allows you to make a large batch and enjoy it throughout the week without losing its quality or taste.

It’s important to avoid storing the concentrate with the coffee grounds.

Keeping the grounds in the liquid can lead to over-extraction, resulting in a bitter taste.

After steeping, always filter out the grounds before transferring the concentrate to your storage container.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Experiment with Ratios

Finding the perfect cold brew strength can be a personal journey.

Experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios to find what suits your taste best.

A standard ratio is 1:6 by weight, but you might prefer a stronger concentrate with a 1:4 or even 1:2 ratio.

Adjusting these ratios helps you tailor the brew to your preferred strength and flavor profile.

Use Dark Roast Beans

For a richer, more robust flavor, use dark roast coffee beans.

Dark roasts tend to bring out deeper, chocolatey notes that can enhance the overall taste of your cold brew.

If you enjoy a strong and bold coffee, dark roast is the way to go.

Optional Add-Ins

Personalize your cold brew with a variety of add-ins.

Brown sugar can add a subtle sweetness, while a sprinkle of cinnamon can introduce a warm, spicy note.

Flavored syrups, such as vanilla or caramel, can create a deliciously sweet treat.

Creamers, whether dairy or non-dairy, can add a creamy texture and rich flavor.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Sometimes, your cold brew might not turn out as expected.

If your brew is too bitter, it could be due to over-extraction.

Make sure not to steep for too long and use a coarse grind.

If your coffee is too weak, try increasing the coffee-to-water ratio or extending the steeping time slightly.

Balancing these factors can help you achieve the ideal brew every time.


Making cold brew coffee in a French press is simple and rewarding.

The process is straightforward and yields a smooth, flavorful brew that’s less acidic than traditional coffee.

Plus, the versatility in serving options means you can enjoy it hot or cold, tailored to your taste.

Experiment with different coffee beans, ratios, and add-ins to find your perfect cold brew.

Dive in, get brewing, and discover your ideal cup of cold brew coffee.


Can you heat cold brew coffee?

Yes, you can heat cold brew coffee.

Simply mix the cold brew concentrate with hot water or milk.

This method allows you to enjoy a hot coffee with the same smooth, less acidic taste that cold brew offers.

Is cold brew less acidic than hot coffee?

Yes, cold brew coffee is typically less acidic than hot coffee.

The cold brewing process extracts fewer acidic compounds, resulting in a smoother taste that’s gentler on the stomach.

Can you use pre-ground coffee?

Yes, you can use pre-ground coffee for making cold brew.

However, it’s best to use coarsely ground coffee to prevent over-extraction and bitterness.

Freshly ground coffee beans are preferred for the best flavor.

What are the best coffee beans for cold brew coffee?

Dark roast coffee beans are often recommended for cold brew due to their rich, bold flavor.

However, you can experiment with different types to find your preferred taste.

Can you use finely ground coffee for cold brew in a French press?

You can, but it’s not recommended to use finely ground coffee for cold brew in a French press.

Fine grounds can lead to over-extraction and a bitter taste.

Coarse grounds are ideal for a smooth and balanced cold brew.

How long do you leave cold brew in a French press?

For the best results, steep your cold brew in a French press for 12-24 hours.

Steeping for 12 hours will yield a milder brew, while 16-24 hours will produce a stronger flavor.

You can steep it at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Spread The Love!
Photo of author

Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

Leave a Comment