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How To Make French Press Cold Brew Coffee [Recipe]

Move over hot coffee, iced coffee is here and ready for action! Cold brew is one of easiest ways to enjoy cold coffee at home and French Press Cold Brew is one of my favorites!

French Press Cold Brew is a simple, smooth drink for cold-coffee lovers that’s easy to make at home. Already have a French press on hand? You’re in business.

From Toddy Brewers to mason jars, I’ve made my own cold brew in all the different ways – and it always turns out just as good as the kind you would get at your local coffee shop!

The French press method is the most straightforward, and it’s excellent for beginners that are cold brew lovers. 

In this article, I’ll explain how to make cold brew French press, the finer points about what it is, and what you’ll need to get started. 

What is a French Press Cold Brew?

French press cold brew is coffee that is brewed using a cold immersion method in a French press. Unlike regular French press or pour over, hot water never touches the coffee grounds during the extraction process. 

Instead, you let the cold brew coffee steep in cold water and release flavor slowly over an extended period. This results in a flavorful, low-acidity drink. 

Cold brew is often prepared as a concentrate, which you will need to “cut” with water or milk when done. 

Why You’ll Love It

Cold brew can cost as much as a large latte when bought from the store or cafe. But making this drink at home is super simple and much cheaper. Here are a few reasons why you should try it.

  • Cold extraction doesn’t release the coffee’s oils, which results in lower acidity. This is why so many people flock to cold brew. It has a super smooth and rich flavor.
  • Sure, you can drink cold brew independently, but you can also add cream. Cold brew with cream or your favorite alternative milk is super rich and delicious. 
  • Cold brew is brewed at a higher strength than typical drip coffee, so get ready for an extra dose of caffeine in your cup. 
cold brew french press

Ingredient Notes 

All you’ll need is coffee beans and filtered water to achieve the perfect cold brew coffee with a french press coffee maker. 

Many people prefer dark roast coffee to make cold brew. But many coffee enthusiasts have experimented with medium and light roast coffee to significant effect. It depends on the flavor profile you’re looking for and whether you’d like strong coffee or 

Grind size is super important to the cold brew process. You’ll want to buy whole-bean coffee and grind the beans on a coarser grind setting for best results. 

You can grind the beans at the store with an adjustable grinder or use your burr grinder at home. If the grounds are too fine, you’ll create a lot of silt in the cold brew, affecting flavor and texture. 


Coffee grinder, scale and french press

A burr grinder is necessary to create a uniform grind. Blade grinders are so inconsistent you wind up with a mix of fine and coarse grounds, which leads to over-extracted coffee and silty cold brew. 

Since the French press coffee filter is metal, not paper, you may want to consider buying a cheesecloth.

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A cheesecloth is reusable and replaces a paper filter in this process. You do not need one, but it does improve the quality of the cold brew.  

It’s essential to weigh coffee by weight and not volume (think grams versus cups or tablespoons.) Different coffees at different ages have varying densities. So using a coffee scale to weigh your grounds ensures you create an accurate coffee-to-water ratio every time.

Pouring coffee grounds into a french press on a scale

Filtered water always tastes better with any coffee brewing method, so if you have a water filter on hand, use it! 

Easy Instructions 

  1. Using a 1:3 coffee-to-water ratio, measured by weight, grind your coffee on a coarse grind setting. 
  2. Add your coffee grounds to the French press.
  3. Add the proper amount of filtered water to the grounds. Stir your grounds until they are fully saturated with water. 
  4. Cover the French press’s top with plastic wrap or plunger. But do not plunge yet. You can put the French press in the refrigerator or in your kitchen’s dark, room-temperature corner.
  5. Set a reminder to notify you when the brewing process is complete. Aim to soak the grounds for 14-16 hours. 
  6. When your soak time is over, plunge the grounds with the French press plunger. 
  7. Place your cheesecloth around the top of a mason jar or other storage glass. Pour the cold brew through the cheesecloth to filter all the sediment. 
  8. Take a glass with ice and fill it halfway with your cold brew coffee concentrate. Then fill the rest of the glass with filtered water or your preferred combination of water and cream or milk to “cut” the concentrate. 
  9. Store your remaining concentrate in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Pouring water into a french press

Tips and Tricks 

  • The most important thing to remember is that you’re brewing a concentrate. You always want to cut the cold brew with cream, milk, or water. At first, it will seem counterintuitive to water down your coffee. But if you take a sip of the concentrate on its own, you’ll understand.
  • Make sure you start the brewing process by 4 pm the day before to enjoy your cold brew between 6 and 8 am the next day. 
  • You can replicate this brew method in a large pitcher or mason jar. Instead of plunging the coffee when ready, pour it through a cheesecloth or paper filter into your preferred vessel.
  • You can use any size French press. Adjust your ratio for what you can fit into the French press and how much you want to brew.
pouring water into a glass with ice and cold brew concentrate

Serving Suggestions 

Cold brew tastes excellent on its own or with the addition of any cold cream or milk. My go-to milk preferences are half-and-half or plain oat milk.

However, there are many popular and flavorful spins on classic cold brew. For example, the Salted Caramel Cold Brew from Starbucks.

If you don’t want to make cold foam from scratch, you can sweeten cold brew with almost any syrup you would use to flavor a latte. Vanilla, caramel, and chocolate all taste great in cold brew, especially with a bit of cream. 

Cold foam on an iced coffee

Cold brew concentrate should remain refrigerated after the brewing process is complete. Store for up to one week. 

French Press Cold Brew Recipe

How To Make Cold Brew in the French Press

French press cold brew is a simple, smooth drink for cold-coffee lovers that’s easy to make at home!
Prep Time14 hours
Yield: 4 servings


  • Coffee
  • Water


  • Weigh out your beans, about 140 grams of coffee. (Or 1.25 cups if you can’t use a scale)
  • Grind your coffee beans on a coarse, cold brew setting. 
  • Add the grounds to your French press. 
  • Pour 420 grams of cold, filtered water on top. (Approximately 1.75 cups of water)
  • Stir the grounds with the water so the grounds are evenly saturated, and no dry spots or clumps remain.
  • Cover the French press and place it in a dark, room-temperature space in your kitchen for 14-16 hours.
  • Plunge the grounds with the top of the french press.
  • Pour the finished coffee through a cheesecloth over a mason jar or similar storage container.
  • Add ½ cup of cold brew concentrate and ½ cup of filtered water to a glass ½ full of ice. 
  • Drink as is, or top with your favorite cream and sweetener.
  • Enjoy! 
french press cold brew


What is the ratio of coffee to water for cold brew French press?

A 1:3 ratio is optimal for French press cold brew. If you don’t want to brew a concentrate or cold brew, you don’t have to “cut” later. Instead, increase the ratio from 1:6. This way, you can pour your freshly filtered cold brew straight into your glass of ice and serve. 

Is cold brew better in the French press?

It’s not “better” in the French press per se. The French press is a more convenient method. Other brew methods are available, like Toddy Brewers. But these use paper coffee filters you have to buy separately. Toddy’s are best for brewing large batches of cold brew rather than 2-4 cups at a time.

How many tablespoons of coffee for French press cold brew?

This will vary depending on the coffee and the ratio you are using. But I recommend using a scale to measure your coffee by weight rather than volume. This will drastically improve the consistency of your brewing. Many recipes online use 1-1.5 cups of ground coffee to brew a full French press of cold brew. 

Rather use a cold brew coffee maker? Head here for my tips for cold brew using a cold brew maker!

About Lily

Lily Blackburn is a professional barista of 15 years. She's worked extensively behind the bar in America's premier coffee city - Portland, OR - including stops at Upper Left Roasters and Ranger Chocolate. She's the resident coffee expert at Kitchen Ambition, and a regular contributor for Bit of Cream.

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