The Ultimate Guide to French Press Cold Brew Coffee: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

Do you love cold brew coffee but need a cheap and easy way to make it? The French press is the perfect solution: it’s an affordable kitchen appliance, you don’t need any fancy filters, and best of all, making delicious cold brew is super simple.

French press is my favorite hot coffee brewer. I have developed a fondness for cold brew coffee after trying it once using my French press coffee maker. I have brewed cold brews more than one hundred times and do not feel any less enthusiasm ever.

So, never made French press cold brew before? That’s okay! In this article, I’ll be walking you through a step-by-step guide to making your first batch in just a few easy steps.

You’ll be sipping on your very own homemade cold brew in no time, so let’s get started!

What is Cold Brew Coffee & Is It Worth Trying Using A French Press?

Cold-brewed coffee is all the rage these days. It’s milder, smoother, and less acidic than regular coffee and can be enjoyed hot or cold. It’s a process of making coffee by steeping ground coffee in cold or room-temperature water for several hours. After the coffee has steeped, it’s strained and ready to enjoy.

Cold Brew Coffee Using French Press
Cold Brew Coffee Using French Press

The French press is incredibly simple to use, portable, and eco-friendly as it doesn’t require paper filters. 

Making cold brew in a French press is an easy way. The advantage of using the French press for cold brew coffee is the plunge & filter mechanism that makes straining easier & cleaner than your traditional method.

But, the water-to-coffee ratio will be slightly different than the conventional cold brewing. So, make sure to use the ratio given in the recipe for cold brewing using a French press.

Overall, making cold brew in a French press can be both fun and rewarding with smooth, less acidic results. So why not give it a try?

Ideal Coffee-to-Water Ratio for French Press Cold Brew

Cold Brew Coffee Using Milk
Cold Brew Coffee Using Milk

Cold brew coffee made with a French press is a great way to enjoy a delicious cup without investing in expensive equipment. The French press ratio is different from the standard cold brew ratio, and it requires more coffee than the traditional approach.

coffee grounds-to-water ratio: To be honest there is nothing an ideal ratio. But, I can suggest you a ratio that works well for me, and hopefully will work for you as well. I use a 1:4 coffee-to-water ratio. So, for 100 ml of water, I’ll use 25 grams of coffee grounds. In other words, you’ll need 1 cup of coffee grounds for 4 cups of water.

If you find the resulting coffee concentrate is way too intense, you can try a 1:6 coffee-to-water ratio instead.

Note: Some also follow the 1:8 ratio, even though I saw people make cold brew in the French press using the 1:12 ratio. So, if you use a low coffee-to-water ratio then you may don’t need to dilute it. 

Coffee Concentrate to Water/Milk Ratio: This recipe produces a coffee concentrate that needs to be diluted with hot or cold water, ice, or milk to make a cup of coffee. Typically, I stick with a 1:1 ratio, but sometimes I switch to a 1:2 ratio.

Create the Perfect Cold Brew using a French Press [Steps to Follow]

Making cold brew is surprisingly simple and only takes 5 minutes of your time. But you can’t drink then, you need to wait for 12-24 hours for steeping. After 12-24 hours (or less if desired) you will have a smooth cup of cold brew ready to enjoy!

The longer you leave the grounds steeping, the stronger the flavor will be. So, experiment with different times until you find the perfect cup for you.

Step-1: Gather Essentials

Only a few items you need to have for French press cold brew. 

French Press: You’ll need a French press, I am using a 600 ml volume capacity French press. 

Filtered Water: Use filtered water, either cold or room temperature. 

Coffee grinder:  I like grinding coffee beans just before brewing. That way I get the richest flavor, and aroma possible from coffee beans. For a French press cold brew, I use the Baratza Encore Burr Coffee Grinder at 30 settings (medium-coarse grind) for grinding. Occasionally, I use a Javapresse hand coffee grinder when I require a quieter preparation.

Coffee Beans: Although you can try any coffee beans when it comes to French press cold brew, dark roast coffee beans are best. Dark roasted beans come with an oily shine & have the perfect bitter and rich finish that really brings out the flavor of cold brew.

Dark roast coffee for French Press Cold Brew
Dark roast coffee

Step-2: Measure The Ground Coffee

Grind the coffee beans to the appropriate amount or use pre-ground coffee beans; whatever is easy for you. The important part is to measure the coffee grounds precisely. 

As I adhere to a 1:4 coffee-to-water ratio, I’ll use here 25 grams of coffee grounds for brewing 100 ml of coffee concentrate. 

Coffee grounds for French press cold brew
Coffee grounds for French press cold brew

For measuring, a digital scale is the best option. I am using this digital scale for a long time. 

Alternatively, you can use coffee scoops or teaspoons. One standard coffee scoop equals two tablespoons; holds around 10 grams of coffee. So, one tablespoon contains 5 grams of coffee. 

Step-3: Mix into the French Press Chamber

Now add coffee grounds, and water to the French press jar. Then stir using a spoon to ensure that all of the grounds are evenly saturated with water. 

Just after mixing coffee grounds water

Step-4: Refrigerate for hours (Ideally 24 hours)

The hardest part is to wait. The French press pitcher should be refrigerated for a period of 12-24 hours. Secure the jar with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.

It would have been best to put the lid on, however, it may be challenging to fit within the refrigerator. I like to push the plunger slightly down for easy storage in a refrigerator with the lid on. 

After 08 hours in the refrigerator
After 08 hours in the refrigerator
After 24 hrs. in the refrigerator
After 24 hrs. in the refrigerator

Step-5: Retrieve the Pitcher & Plunge Down

After 24 hours get the pitcher out of the refrigerator, and slowly press the plunger down to the bottom. The resulting liquid will be a flavorful concentrate that can be served as it is (too strong) or diluted with water/milk.

Step-6: Serve the Cold brew Coffee

Serving Cold:  Pour one part of the concentrate into a glass with ice and add 1 part water or milk. You can also add cream or sweetener if desired and stir it up for a delightful treat!

Serving Hot: Cold brew can also be heated and served hot. Combine water or milk in a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 and heat it up in the microwave. You can add sugar or other ingredients to make the cup more flavorful.

Cold Brew Coffee Using French Press
Cold Brew Coffee with water & ice
After adding milk to the coffee concentrate
After adding milk to the coffee concentrate

With your freshly made cold brew coffee, you can relax and savor the smooth, slightly sweet flavor of a perfectly brewed cup. Now that you know how to make it yourself, why not experiment with different roasts or ratios and find out which one works best for you?

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Cold Brew Coffe Is Bitter: First, if your French press cold brew coffee is bitter, then you probably have too much fine grinds, too long of a steep time, or a very high coffee-to-water ratio. To solve this issue & to get the right flavor profile do the following: 

  • Reduce the amount of fine grinds or
  • Shorten the steep time
  • Lower coffee-to-water ratio

Try experimenting until you find the perfect sweet spot for optimal flavor extraction.

Sediments In The Cup: Another common problem faced when making French Press cold brew coffee is sediment getting into your coffee. This can often be prevented by using an extra filter while pouring. Use a paper filter or a fine mesh cloth piece to filter the sediments. 

Tips: Keep in mind that water quality can also affect the taste of your coffee so make sure that you use well-filtered water for optimal taste!

Flavor Variations and Recipes

When it comes to making French press cold brew coffee, there are lots of ways to switch up the flavor. Popular variations include adding simple syrup, sugar, cinnamon, chocolate syrup, almond extract, or other flavored syrups. You can also use different types of cream or milk.

For example, you can make a delicious coffee cocktail by combining French press cold brew with equal parts amaretto, Bailey’s Irish Cream, etc.!

As for non-dairy milk options – many vegans enjoy using vegan creamers or almond/oat/coconut milk in their drinks. All of these will make your French press cold brew even more delicious!


How to store cold brew coffee? 

When it comes to storing cold brew coffee, there are a few key tips to keep in mind. First, always use an airtight container with a lid after brewing the coffee. This will help reduce exposure to air and keep your coffee fresh for longer. Cold brew coffee can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks but will start to lose its flavor after about one week. To maintain the best possible taste, it’s recommended that you don’t store cold brew for more than 10 days.

Does the grind size matter for French press cold brew?

When it comes to making the perfect French press cold brew, the grind size matters greatly! A coarse grind allows just enough oils & flavor components to be extracted from the grounds without being too intense. If you use finer grounds, your coffee will end up tasting bitter and unpleasant. Also, finer grounds can end up with sediments in your cup. So always use a coarse or medium-coarse grind for your French press cold brew! 

What else can you do other than cold brew using a French press?

The French press is an incredibly versatile kitchen tool that can be used for more than just making coffee. You can make delicious regular hot coffee, espresso, and tea. Even you can froth milk using the French press. 


Making cold brew coffee with a French press is surprisingly simple and yields excellent results.

The rich flavor, smooth texture, and natural sweetness make cold brew coffee a great after-dinner treat or afternoon pick-me-up.

Plus, you can customize your brew to your exact taste preferences! With just a few basic steps and some time, you can be enjoying the perfect cup of cold brew in the comfort of your own home.

Coffee Gears that I Use Daily

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

This is my favorite grinder when I’m at home to start my day with the perfect cup. It delivers excellent grind consistency & offers versatile settings. The price is also reasonable. I recommend this grinder to all my fellow coffee enthusiasts. Check it out on Amazon now.

VSSL JAVA Manual Hand Coffee Grinder

I travel a lot, but can’t take Baratza with me. So, I carry this fantastic manual hand coffee grinder made by VSSL. It’s compact and lightweight, and its crank handle comes with a convenient carabiner feature, making it the perfect on-the-go companion for me. Get yours on Amazon today.

Coffee Scale

I rely on my trusty digital scale to measure the exact amount of coffee grounds and water for the perfect flavor and strength. Whether I’m at home or on the go, this scale is a must-have. Available on Amazon, get your hands on one and elevate your coffee game to the next level.

Sujit Modak

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