Iced coffee is a special treat. On a hot day, or for a delicious boost of energy, iced coffee is tough to beat. There are a million ways to make iced coffee. But how about we keep it simple and learn how to make iced coffee in a French press!
A French press is an excellent way to brew coffee. It’s simple, yet you get all the tastes and flavors of the coffee. Conventionally, a French press is used for hot coffee. But then there’s nothing stopping us from making cold coffee in this versatile and deceptively simple coffee maker.
Making your own iced coffee in a French press is simple and cost-efficient. So, in order to get the best iced coffee we will explore some recipes. And yes, there are more ways than one to get your iced coffee treat from a French press.
Things To Know Before We Get Started
French Press Cold Brew Or Classic Iced Coffee – Choose Your Recipe
Because a French press steeps the coffee grounds, it takes quite a bit of time. The coffee will have to sit for a while before you can enjoy your iced coffee. This can be the conventional steeping time of around five minutes. Or several hours if you prefer to go the route of the cold brew.
Both of these are good picks, but let your personal preference take the lead. My suggestion is to give both a shot, to see what works best for you. Whether you choose French press cold brew or conventional iced coffee, you can’t go wrong!
Your Preferred Coffee, Roasts, And The Right Grind Size
Before we begin our guide, make sure you have bought the perfect type of coffee you like. Feel free to experiment with darker roasts for a fuller flavor, or lighter fruitier roasts for a sunny day treat.
Remember to use coarsely ground coffee. This will guarantee a much better quality without any bitter surprises. Finer grinds will get through the French press filter and make the coffee muddy. Besides, neither cold brew nor conventional French press brewing gets along well with fine coffee grounds.
Other Optional Ingredients For Your Brew
Also, see if you have any flavoring you might enjoy in your iced coffee. You don’t necessarily need all of these or even any of these. These are optional flavorings that you can use at your own choice and discretion. Popular additives and flavors are:
- Dark sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Chocolate syrup
- Fruit flavorings
These ingredients are usually found in the baking section of your local market. They’re easily available online as well. Once you have the ingredients ready, it’s time to get started. Get your coffee, French press, and let’s get into how to make a cold brew in a French Press.
Basic French Press Iced Coffee
Here’s how to make iced coffee in a French press. It’s the conventional method and a basic recipe. You start with brewing hot coffee and then pour it over ice for the traditional brew. Have lots of ice ready!
Step 1: Get Coffee Grounds Ready
Your first step is getting coffee grounds ready. If you’re using beans, get them into a coarse grind. With pre-ground coffee, just go straight to putting the coffee in the French press.
Ideally, coffee to water ratio for French press is 1:12. That means for every part by weight of coffee, we add 12 parts of water. But since we’re going for iced coffee, we’ll prefer our coffee concentrate to be stronger. The preferred ratio can be 1:8 or 1:10.
If you’d rather not be involved with all those weights and measures, my suggestion is to put a little more than three tablespoons for every cup you want.
Step 2: Preparing Water
Heat water until it’s in the temperature range of 195-205 °F. If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, let the water boil and then set it aside for 30 seconds. It’s best not to pour boiling water over coffee grounds.
Step 3: Let It Steep
Place coffee grounds in the French press beaker/carafe. Gently pour water over these. If you prefer, you can stir the mix with a spoon. Now press the plunger and filter over the beaker, but don’t press the plunger down.
Wait for 5-6 minutes.
Step 4: Plunger Action
Once the steeping is done, press the plunger down in a steady, deliberate motion.
Conventionally, at this point, your French press coffee is ready. But we’re not done yet, and the coffee’s still hot!
Step 5: Iced Coffee!
Fill a tumbler with ice cubes. If you’re using a glass tumbler, make sure it’s made of pyrex or similar material that can handle rapid changes in temperature.
Pour coffee from the French press into this tumbler. Your iced coffee is ready!
You can add sweetened milk, whipped cream, or other flavorings at this point, for an extra zing to your coffee.
Some Recipe Secrets To Know
A big reason why we brew strong coffee is to account for the watering-down effect of ice. If you still find your brew watered down, or would like your iced coffee to be stronger, here are some things to try.
- Use Coffee Iced Cubes: Rather than regular ice cubes, use ice cubes made from coffee! The method is simple. Brew coffee as you normally would, pour it into an ice tray, and place it in the freezer. Wait till you have coffee ice cubes. These won’t water down your iced coffee, and will add more coffee to your beverage as they melt!
- Chill Coffee Before Pouring: Often, pouring hot coffee over ice is the way to go. It’s quick, efficient, and that’s the reason we call this “iced coffee”. But if the brew getting watered down bugs you, chill the coffee before you pour it on ice.
French Press Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew is a popular way to cold and iced coffee. It will take a lot of time, but the process is remarkably simple. This is a very easy and basic recipe. Simple, effective, but takes 12+ hours to prepare. So have a bit of patience, and plan ahead of time.
For this French press cold coffee recipe you will need:
- 6 ounces (approximately ¾ cup) of coarsely ground coffee
- 28 ounces of cold water (less than one quart)
Step 1: Coffee Grounds
Place the 6 ounces of coffee grounds of your choice in the base of your French press.
Step 2: Add Water
Pour in the 28 ounces of cold water into the French press. Yup, no need to heat it. The essence of cold brew is that heat plays no role in the extraction process.
Step 3: Give The Brew Time
DO NOT push your French press plunger in.
Step 4: Store In A Cold, Dark Place
Take the French press, and place it in a dark and cold place (a refrigerator works fine). Leave it in there for 12 to 15 hours.
Step 5: Use Your Plunger
After storing for the right amount of time, it’s time to get your cold brew concentrate. Use your plunger and push it down in your French press.
Step 6: Pour Your Iced Coffee
Fill a tumbler with ice and pour your cold brew concentrate into this mix. Your French press cold brew is ready!
If you prefer, now’s the time to add sweetened milk and/or syrups and flavorings for your brew.
Recipe Notes On How To Make Cold Brew With French Press
Now that you have the recipe for making iced coffee in a French press, it’s worthwhile to note a few things.
Prevent Your Brew From Watering Down
It is a fact that we’ll add ice to iced coffee. However, as it melts, the ice will water down the brew and you might feel the coffee strength drowning in the ice waters. As already discussed, a way out of this problem is using ice cubes made from coffee. Even when they melt, they’ll add to the deliciousness of the beverage rather than making it watery.
French Press Or Cold Brew Coffee Maker?
Cold brew technique is fast becoming the favored choice of cold coffee-based drinks. Heck, it’s getting popular even with hot coffee beverages. So rather than learning how to make cold brew with French press, why not use a cold brew coffee maker?
Well, either option makes good sense. The larger difference is that French press isn’t as optimized for the process as a conventional cold brew coffee maker. However, the versatility of this machine makes it as good as its competition at making cold brew.
A French press may prove to be small and inefficient when you desire to make large batches of cold brew.
Also, the French press mechanism doesn’t form a tight seal over the carafe, so there is a chance of the taste getting slightly affected. Finally, since you can’t push the plunger down, your French press will need a lot of vertical space. Placed in the refrigerator for several hours while steeping, this can be a problem.
Overall, yes, a French press can make cold brew coffee just fine. However, if you’re a fan that wants their cold brew often, consider getting a cold brew coffee maker.
It Really Is Easy
With some patience, and the correct tools and ingredients, you can be your own barista. Those highly-priced iced coffee drinks sold are no match to a truly homemade drink.
Taking a bit of time, you can also learn how to make iced coffee in a French Press. It is not only easy but cost-effective. It has the potential to taste better than any iced coffee drink you order at a coffee shop! Add your favorite flavorings, and voila, you will fall in love with coffee again, and again!