Can You Use a French Press To Make Cold Brew?
The short answer is yes, you can use a french press to make cold brew coffee. Cold brew is extremely easy to make and can be done in a few minutes. You need to have a mason jar or a french press and a mesh strainer.
There are a few syrups you could use to make your first batch a little sweeter, but it is not required.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Among one of the latest trends, cold brew coffee is made using a different method of brewing to create a strong concentrate, that is also extremely refreshing and can be stored. Something most don’t understand is the difference in cold brew coffee and iced coffee. Most believe they are the same thing! This is a common misconception, however, they are extremely similar. The difference is that iced coffee is made with hot coffee, whereas cold brew will never come in contact with hot water.
What Grounds You Should Use When Making Cold Brew Coffee
Everyone has their own opinions about coffee. Some like to buy the most expensive beans, others are happy with Folgers grounds. You can use any type of grounds when using a french press. In our opinion, you will get more enjoyment from your coffee by buying whole beans and grinding them with a home bean grinder. We believe there are pros and cons for using pre-ground coffee as well as whole beans.
Using pre-ground coffee has one major upside, convenience. If you do have the time to grind your beans with a grinder and clean up the mess, you can easily throw a few scoops into your french press and be done with it.
As convenient as they are, pre-ground coffee’s primary downside is the freshness of the grounds. The oils in coffee beans are light and can even take on flavors from food near them. To preserve the freshness and taste of all grounds, be sure to use a proper storage container.
One key difference between grinding fresh beans and pre-grounds, is that the pre-ground coffee oils are water soluble. This is fantastic for making coffee, however, the grounds will dilute quickly if there is any moisture in the air, creating poor tasting cups of coffee. This is a difficult way of saying, you if you grind your beans fresh, you will have a consistantly good cup of coffee. Pre-grounds will not taste as fresh because they have lost some of their moisture and taste.
Grinding Your Own Coffee Beans
Most coffee-aficionados will say that you need to grind beans immediately before brewing. Coffee beans lose 60% of their aroma within 15-20 minutes of being ground. Grinding your own beans will result in extremely flavorful cups of coffee. Purchasing a quality bean grinder is extremely important. Your bean grinder should produce an even consistency each time you use it.
When shopping for bean grinder, we recommend burr-mill grinders, or a regular mill grinder. Blade grinders consistency is often unpredictable and not the best for coffee brewing. Some more expensive options offer the option to choose your grind fineness. Cold brew coffee is best when the coffee grounds are a medium consistency. Grinding too fine will result in a weak cup, while not grinding enough will result in a bitter cup.
There are a few downsides to whole bean coffee. Whole beans are a bit more expensive when compared to pre-grounds. This is because whole beans are typically of higher quality. Freshly roasted beans also only stay fresh for about two weeks, which may be too-quick if you only drink one or two cups every day.
What To Consider When Choosing Coffee Beans For a French Press
Despite the complexities with different coffees, everyone seems to enjoy some type of coffee. There are a few common variables you can observe to help narrow your selection of the type of coffee beans you like. The most common are:
- Where the beans are grown
- How the beans ware roasted
- How the beans were stored
Fortunately for us when making cold brew, the method is very flexible so those variables are not as important as they are when using other brewing methods.
How To Make Cold Brew Coffee With a French Press
So you have your french press (or mason jar), you have your coffee grounds and you are ready to make some cold brew for the week.
- Add the coffee grounds to your french press or mason jar.
- Add water
- (Optional): Add any flavored syrups
- Place the plunger/top on the French press
- Put into the refrigerator for 8 – 24 hours
- Push down on the plunger to push the grounds toward the bottom, filtering the coffee.
- Pour into your favorite mug (for single cups) or pour into a pitcher that you can store in your refrigerator.
The longer it sits, the stronger the brew will be. When you are ready for your coffee simply push down on the plunger. This will push all of the grounds down and will allow you to pour out your cold brew without any grounds!
If you are using a mason jar. Take the lid off and filter with a fine mesh strainer. Be careful when straining to make sure that you do not pour out any coffee grounds!
Typically, this method will create a much stronger brew than traditional methods. If it is too strong you can add some water to weaken the overall brew or some milk for a personal cup.
Before You Make Your Cold Brew
Every coffee lover enjoys a good cold brew. If you are tired of spending money on expensive coffees, you might want to give brewing your own a shot. When you are brewing at home, remember to use a coarse grind with a good medium to dark roast. For the most flavor, grind the beans immediately before brewing. Use filtered water for the best results.
Do you enjoy cold brews? Let us know your favorite flavor of cold brew, in the comments below!