french press cold brew coffee

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The best method for making cold brew is to immerse coffee grounds directly in water using a glass container. It seems logical then that a French Press coffee maker would fit the bill quite nicely. I did some testing and here is what I discovered:

1. French Press coffee makers work well for cold brew coffee
2. Expect more sediment with this method or be prepared to filter a second time to remove sediment

How to make cold brew coffee in a french press?

French press coffee makers are made of glass and have a built in filter system that does not contact the coffee during brewing, minimizing off flavors from the brewing method.
To make cold brew in a French press, measure out your coffee. In this example I am using a small pot from Ikea.

Place the grounds in the coffee pot and cover with filtered water. Put the lid on with the filter in the uppermost position. Make sure the lid is positioned so that the pour spout is closed off, minimizing the amount of oxygen that enters the vessel during brewing.

Allow the mixture to sit for 12-24 hours at room temperature, or in the fridge if you prefer.

When brewing is complete, slowly press down on the plunger until you meet light resistance.
Open the lid to allow pouring.

If you used coarsely ground coffee from a burr grinder (i.e. coffee with even particle size) then you should be able to pour and enjoy. I tend to pour slowly so that any residual coffee sediment not filtered out stays at the bottom of the pot. If you used ground coffee from an electric grinder, or a finer grind, you will probably want to double filter your coffee to remove sediment.

In the photos below, the left photo used store ground coffee with no regard to pouring. The right hand photo shows the result when I let the coffee settle a minute after plunging, and then poured slowly, leaving the last tablespoon or so of coffee in the french press.
left over coffee from french press

What are the advantages of using a French press?

  • The filter is larger, allowing the flavorful coffee oils to remain in the brew
  • Easy, all in one solution that is readily available
  • Inexpensive equipment

What are the disadvantages of using a French press?

  • May be coffee sediment in your brew
  • Double filtration to remove sediment may remove coffee oils (especially with paper filters)

Overall, this is a method that I use myself interchangeably with the mason jar technique.

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