French Press Cold Brewed Coffee

I've recently become fascinated by this cold brewed coffee trend.  I love a good foodie trend.  ;-)  I love coffee, and I am too often guilty of reheating a cup from a pot of coffee that is hours and hours old.  And it's never very satisfying.  So this idea of having a coffee concentrate in the fridge that I could just add some hot water to for a really fresh cup was really intriguing to me. A lot of the things I read have you doing it in large batches, with large containers, and straining, and bottling.  Things I don't have either the space or time for.  So I hadn't bothered to try it out. But then I came across the idea of doing it in small batches in a French press pot.  I have that! I have a couple of them in fact.  So I gave it a try.  And I can say, definitely, wow!  If you love coffee, you will love this.  If you kind of like coffee, but don't like the bitterness and end up adding sweetener to get past it - you will love this.  You get all of the coffee flavor, and none of the bitterness.  It's easy, it's not messy, and it's very satisfying.

I'm still experimenting, but I thought I'd share with you what I have learned so far:

  • I have a couple of large-ish French press pots.  I think they both old about 4 cups of liquid.
  • A ratio of about 1/3 coffee to 2/3 water seems to work pretty well.
  • A finer ground of coffee definitely gets you a richer and much more concentrated brew.  I was happier with the results when I ground the beans very finely myself.  When I used the coffee we already had ground for brewing in our regular pot, the results were still good but not as concentrated.  I think you can get more of the flavor if you grind the beans very finely, get a more concentrated brew, which will last you longer.
  • If you do grind very fine, you will get some fine coffee silt in your final brew.  This doesn't bother me enough to go to the trouble of extra filtering.  But I think you certainly could run your brew through another strainer if you don't want this.
  • I've let mine sit for 24 hours.  I haven't tried other periods of time, the couple of posts I read recommended 24 so that's what I've gone with and it seems good to me.  I think if I was doing bigger batches I might not like have these large containers taking up space for 24 hours (I have a very small kitchen), but with the French press pot it's not a problem.  I just put it in a corner and forget about it until the next day.

So - simply - what I have done:

  • Finely grind enough coffee beans to give you about a cup of ground of coffee.
  • put in French press pot.
  • top with about two cups of cold, filtered water
  • stir
  • let sit for about 5 minutes and then stir again
  • cover and leave it alone for 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, just push the French press filter down slowly
  • pour into a jar
  • refrigerate.

When you want a cup, fill a coffee cup about 1/4 - 1/3 full, depending on how strong you like it, fill the rest of the way with boiling water (we have a hot water dispenser, so this is easy).  I like to add a little splash of cream.  And enjoy.

This also makes really excellent iced coffee.  For this I have been filling a glass with ice, then add about half cold brew coffee and half water (because the ice will dilute it more as it melts), and a little cream.


Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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