food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

cold coffee concentrate

“This easy recipe is for anyone trying to ditch an expensive coffee chain iced coffee habit. I can’t promise you free wi-fi and a comfy seat, but I can promise a beautiful taste and pennies in your pocket.”

My mother is no longer here but I always think of her when I drink iced coffee. A bit of a long-standing family joke, really. And as I am fairly getting through the iced coffee these days she is on my mind a lot. It makes me have a wee giggle inside. A nice memory.

Pretty much every morning growing up she would put on her General Electric drip coffee machine, drink a mug or two, then leave the pot sitting on its little hot plate throughout the morning – coffee strengthening to a bitter crescendo as the hours passed.

cold coffee concentrateAt some point in the morning, and no matter where she was in the house, my mother would invariably hear one of us rattling around in the kitchen. This would swiftly be responded to with a rather bossy shout of, “Don’t throw that out. I’m going to make iced coffee.” A reflexive response. Like I might fuss, “you’ll have someone’s eye out with that” even if what is being thrown was a towel, into a laundry basket.

I was probably the worst for wanting to chuck the dreggy liquid down the sink, but obediently I would transfer the bitter brew to a mug – a nasty layer of coffee oil already slicking the surface – and pop it into the fridge.

We always did as we were asked but never saw an iced coffee emerge from the kitchen. Iced tea, yes. Quarts per day. But never iced coffee. I don’t know if she made any when we weren’t around, but I am pretty sure I never saw her kick back on a hot afternoon (which they always are in Florida) with a frosty glass of iced coffee. And having actually tried to make iced coffee from cooled down, hot-brewed coffee I can understand why. It’s pretty crap. Too acidic and just plain wrong. Maybe my mother knew this all along. Her little joke on me.cold coffee concentrate

Q: So, how do you make decent iced coffee?

A: Get some good quality coffee beans and follow this easy method. It is fool-proof.

You will see that we are making this a lot stronger than normal coffee. That’s because it isn’t normal coffee, it is a concentrate. When you cold-brew you lose a little of the flavour in the top and bottom notes so therefore you want to make it quite strong. But what you may lose in flavour (which you make up for by making as a concentrate) you gain in a sweeter, more mellow taste, and much better storing. This is because you haven’t aggravated the natural oils as with a hot brew, so you are keeping the acidity lower (by as much as 67%). And, in the absence of heat, the tongue gets to appreciate the caramel, chocolate and even slightly smoky notes that might be disguised while trying to avoid being scalded. That’s also why good beans are a must: you don’t want to be tasting any stale, musty notes after having waited patiently for 12 hours, now do you?

Result: Sweet, all-day sipping.

There is another method that I wish to give a go: Japanese cold brewed, aka “flash brewed.” It is supposed to keep the acidity (where proper aficionados say all the flavour resides). But today I am thinking of the havoc it might wreak on the weak of stomach (lining). Those who like their coffee black may prefer the flash method, but anyone who likes a wee tot of something in their morning or afternoon cup of joe should love this make-ahead-and-use-all-week method. A batch keeps for a week to 10 days.

What iced drinks are you enjoying this summer? If you are from the Southern Hemisphere, what iced drinks are you looking forward to drinking? And, do you have any cooking/drinking rituals or quirks in your house?

cold coffee concentrate

Making Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate in a French Press (Cafetiere)

  • Servings: 3-6 (depends on dilution)
  • Time: 10 minutes preparation/finishing and 12 hours brewing
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This easy recipe is for anyone trying to ditch an expensive coffee chain iced coffee habit. I can’t promise you free wi-fi and a comfy seat, but I can promise a beautiful taste and pennies in your pocket.

You will need:

75g (1 cup) whole roasted coffee beans (or 75g/ 2.65 ounces coarse grind beans)

750ml (3 cups) water

Standard-sized (32 ounce) French press coffee maker/cafetiere OR large glass/ceramic jug;

Another jug, or even a saucepan

Coffee grinder/clean spice grinder;

Fine mesh strainer/sieve*;

Coffee filter, muslin/cheese cloth, jelly/nut milk bag*;

Bottle or jar in which to store the coffee concentrate.

* you can just use the French press but you will have some sediment*

Optional: dairy or non-dairy milk; evaporated milk; coconut milk; flavoured simple syrup (to sweeten like coffee shops – not a healthy option though); extracts/powders such as vanilla, cardamom, hazelnut, chocolate, cinnamon, Christmas spice; liquers such as Kahlua. You can also infuse roughly ground cocoa nibs with the coffee to impart a chocolatey taste.

1. Grinding the Beans For the best, smoothest flavour, use a coarse setting. Or as I do with my old Bosch machine, just letting it whirr for a short while, shaking the whole thing! The normal grind used for cafetieres or coffee pots is too fine and will result in a bitter brew. You can use pre-ground from the shop but it’s difficult to get them so coarsely ground. Most coffee shops will grind beans to your preference.DSC_0296


Look how chunky this is. This is what you want.

DSC_0299 2

Looks a bit evil, but it is all good🙂

2. The Water Pop the grounds into the French press (or large jug) and cover with the water. Give it a gentle stir then cover with some cling film and set aside in a cool room – out of direct sunlight (which would ‘cook’ the brew) – and let it infuse for about 12 hours. You can get away with as little as six hours and as long as 24, but 12 seems best.

3. Straining the Brew If using the French press (highly recommended – less fuss), secure the plunger on top and gently, gently depress until the grounds are wedged underneath. Put a fine sieve over a jug or pan, line with muslin cloth – or use a coffee filter/jelly bag – and pour the coffee slowly into the sieve. You can skip this if you don’t mind a little sediment. If you are using a jug, two sievings is recommended. Pour into a sealable glass or ceramic container and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

4. Drinking! This is where you can customize to your heart’s content. Whether you keep it straight or add flavours, I would recommend diluting the concentrate at least 1:1 with water or something milky. I do the coffee concentrate as decaf so this isn’t so necessary, but is definitely needed for a caffeinated drink.

Some of you will prefer 2:1 – water to coffee. Also, some people find that, due to lower acidity compared to hot-brewed coffee, cold-brewed coffee is sweet enough as is.

5. Fripperies On-the-rocks is fab, but here are a few ideas to try:

Coffee Addict. Pour some coffee over coffee ice cubes (made from either an earlier batch of concentrate or any leftover coffee you have) and top up with a little water or milk.

cold-brewed coffee concentrate

Vanilla Frappe in the Froothie. Try saying that three times fast!

Vanilla Frappe. Add a few drops of vanilla extract (or vanilla powder), ice cubes and 1-2 stoned dates and whiz coffee in a high-speed blender (I used my Froothie). If you don’t have a powerful blender do use a liquid sweetener as the dates will be ‘bitty’.cold-brewed coffee concentrate

Chocolate-Mint. Add one drop each of peppermint extract and chocolate extract (or a chocolate syrup) and any liquid sweetener. Blend with ice, or pour over ice.

Silk Road. Add a pinch of ground cardamom or cinnamon and any liquid sweetener to the cold brew concentrate, along with some ice. Blend until completely smooth. As silk.

Some Like It Hot. Cold-brewed coffee concentrate actually makes a fabulous hot drink too! Dilute with hot water – a super mellow but rich drink. The best instant coffee I can think of.

Simple Stuff. I like mine diluted 1:1 with skimmed evaporated milk and a drop of pure liquid stevia. On the rocks.

Nutrition: You might expect me to say that this is just a treat, despite the lack of sugar. But not so. Coffee has long got a bad press, probably because we enjoy it so much ( a lot of killjoys out there). But plain coffee (no sugar or milk) is known to have a positive impact on health, and may help prevent numerous diseases: type 2 diabetes; neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s); cancer (prostate, bladder, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, colon and colorectal); cardiovascular health; and liver health. Coffee’s positive effects on mood, suicide rate and cognitive performance are also well-documented. So too are the negative health ones:  on pregnancy, insulin sensitivity (although this is contentious), dehydration, gastric irritation, anxiety, and withdrawal syndrome issues. If blood pressure and/or heart palpitations are not an issue, most can safely drink up to 5 cups of normal strength coffee (i.e., diluted concentrate) per day. Pregnant women, children, teens and the elderly should typically consume less as the effects of caffeine are more profound in these population groups. Here’s a very good academic paper (Nutritional Recommendations for Cardiovascular Disease) that you may wish to read. Wade down about halfway. It is an interesting paper concerning studied risks and benefits of most factors involved in CVD.

Other cold summer drinks to try (some indulgent, others not so much):

Avocado and Hazelnut Milk Coffee Smoothie from Veggie Desserts

Cold Brew Green Tea by Fuss Free Flavours

London Fog – Just Like Starbucks from Cakeyboi

Coffee Milkshake by Fishfingers For Tea

Watermelon and Green Tea Soothie by Food To Glow

Banana-Lychee Lassi by Food To Glow

Frozen Banana, Coffee and Almond ‘Wakeup Shake’ by Food To Glow

cold-brewed coffee concentrate

Mine! Make your own!😉

PS I have quite a few cold drinks in the Index.cold-brewed coffee concentrate

Disclosure: I am A Froothie Ambassador and was given my fab blender to use for recipe development.  I am under no obligation to post a positive review, and opinions are completely my own. But I LOVE my Froothie!

40 thoughts on “Making Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate in a French Press (Cafetiere)

  1. Yum! This looks delicious, and all of the pictures are beautiful!! I love your tip for coffee ice cubes – one of my favorite places to get iced coffee in Montreal puts a giant coffee popsicle in their iced coffee, and it really makes a difference when things start to melt.

    1. That sounds so fun! I love that idea. I am going to steal it (and give credit to you when I do it)!

      1. Feel free! I’ve never tried making them myself, but I love the result!

  2. julietfitz says:

    Steve and I saw your Facebook post of this (sans recipe) and he said it sounded great and to ask you for the recipe. I knew it was forthcoming so he has waited patiently for this all weekend!
    I too, think of Mom whenever drinking an iced coffee and always tell the story to anyone who is with me. It goes right along with, “I’m on vacation!”
    Thank you for the wonderful memory and delicious recipe! <3, Julie

    1. Aw thanks lovely Julie. That’s so funny that Steve was looking out for this. Did you ever see her drinking an iced coffee? Obviously this is in the days well before Starbucks so she could’ve been a trend-setter had she actually done it in public! And yes, “I’m on vacation!” gets trotted out too. I hope you make this. So easy. Don’t let the kids drink it all though😉 (remember my nannying health warning)

  3. I love ice coffee drinks in the summer, they are so refreshing.

  4. Victoria says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this article. It’s hot here, and I am headed out the door to get some fresh beans, and that French Press I have wanted to purchase for quite some time….I can smell the aroma already

    1. This type of coffee deserves new beans so I’m glad you are getting some😉 Enjoy, Victoria.

  5. Camilla says:

    My husband would love this, looks so good:-)

  6. platedujour says:

    Beautiful pictures, I’m jealous now🙂 it’s a lovely story and I have to admit I do the same to my boyfriend, I never let him throw out my coffee, I always make it fresh and then just finish it slowly throughout the day- I don’t say I’ll make the ice coffee, just add some hot water when it gets cold
    😀 beautiful post, have a nice week!

    1. I am having this concentrate hot AND cold. The great thing about doing it this way is that it doesn’t taste like leftover coffee. Not that yours does, I’m sure😉 I just put shot of concentrate in my mug and top with hot water and a little evap milk. And thanks for the compliment!

  7. narf77 says:

    As someone who used to drink 10 cups of very strong brewed coffee a day (I was a cook in a busy cafe until long into the night) and who can’t drink coffee now thanks to one of those weak stomach linings that you mentioned I am indebted to you for finding a way to limit that stomach clench inducing acid so that once again, I can have that heady elixir of poets and writers the world over. The dates are a great addition. I like to puree them till smooth in some of my homemade sesame milk prior to adding to the end result as that way you are sweetening and lightening in the same step. This is a true triumph of a tutorial Ms Kellie. From those of us with weak stomach linings, in the true ACDC Aussie tradition… “We Salute You!” Love the variations as well🙂 As soon as the sun comes up I am going to take some of my precious beans from the fridge and am going to set the wheels in motion for this delectable treat. Can’t be waiting till summer when you have had an addiction under your skin that couldn’t be anointed and now it can…love the science at the end of this post. Where WOULD we addicts be without the legitimacy of science?😉

    1. Gosh, well this *might* just change your life then! :-)) It should definitely be much kinder to your stomach, depending on how damaged the lining is. Let me know if it makes its way into your fridge. And I am going to try and make some sesame milk very soon! Something for my Froothie! Oh, re the juicer, it is an auger/Archimedes screw type thing. Very gentle, low energy and just presses the juice out of the veg/fruit. I don’t know if they have any package deals. The Aussie site is different to the UK so I’m not au fait with the Antipodean offers. It will be a lot cheaper (and just as good) as the market leaders, I’m sure.

      1. narf77 says:

        I found the juicer with the tofu kit included on the Aussie site. I have a juicer like one of the old Champion juicers made by Omni. I don’t use it much. I call it “little pig” because when I crank it up it grunts😉. I use it to make fruit mince once a year😉

  8. mprocter222 says:

    I love that you did this in a French Press! I’ll be making some of this tomorrow🙂 Great Post!

  9. Fishfingers for tea says:

    Stunning photos Kellie. I love to make my iced coffee with the cold brew method, it is a lot smoother. I love the idea for the frappe, I have date syrup but no dates so I’ll be trying it with the syrup. Thank you for linking to me.

    1. I have date syrup too but I mention the dates as most people don’t have the syrup (it is quite pricey, isn’t it) but will have dates. I hope you get a chance to make it. Although my cold matcha tea will always be my favourite drink, this coffee concentrate is my favourite way to drink coffee as it does for hot and cold use.

  10. I have been wondering how to make cold brew coffee since FBC Kellie. Thanks for the tutorial – I shall definitely be trying this out (and thanks for the link!)

    1. You are welcome, Stuart. And thank you. Glad to be useful!

  11. eefz85 says:

    Oh my, fantastic! Thank you for this recipe!

  12. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    Interesting post, Kellie and loved the story about your mother…. I’ve forwarded this post to my Peter, as he loves cold coffee… we are travelling north in Queensland right now and one of the things Peter loves here is the cold drip coffee… which is brewed in special ($$$) presses. It is mellow tasting and can be enjoyed like a good whisky. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe of yours.

    1. I believe that this method is probably nearly as good as the expensive presses but will bean-dependent. I’ve read a couple of articles on this method versus expensive way and they come up very similar so it is worth a shot, so to speak! Enjoy your travels, Liz.

  13. i am doing this right away!!! awesome thankyou!! 🙏:)


    1. Fab!! What did you do with it?

      1. hassle free iced coffee for me everymorning!! a lot easier than waking the baby up with an espresso and much quicker! I add a little bit of maple syrup for sweetener and am on to my second batch which I made a little bit stronger. I have also passed this recipe on to my good friends who are very keen to try it! you are a lifesaver!! ahaha thanks for the post🙂 x

      2. Brilliant feedback! Yes, it would be a lot quieter to fix this up than have a baby-waking whistling, rattling espresso machine on the go! I actually toned down the ratio so I wouldn’t scare anyone (or cause heart palpitations in those accidentally having it straight) but I make it stronger too.😉

  15. recipesfromapantry says:

    I know that whenever I visit your blog I simply drool of your photos. Will be passing this one over to OH who loves his coffee.

    1. Aw that’s so kind of you to say! i hope your OH likes the idea. Thanks for commenting🙂

  16. Sophie33 says:

    MMMM,…My hubby also made a coffee concentrate but it was a lot of work though,…Your recipe sounds better! Yum, We will try it! x

  17. I didn’t used to like iced coffee but am really getting into it now! Bought some iced coffee today and thought I’d like to try making it – then saw the recipe on your website. Thanks!

  18. MeowLifestyle says:

    Great, article, just what I was looking for. With Spring here I’m moving from hot to cold coffee. I just got some fresh coffee from Ethiopia. I’m brewing it now🙂

  19. What a lovely post Kellie with brilliant photographs (as always). I am not a coffee drinker but do in fact liked iced coffee (go figure!). I am especially partial to a Vietnamese iced coffee – largely owing to the fact that it has copious amounts of condensed milk in it. YUM. love Torie xx

    1. Thanks so much Torie. It’s not really been warm enough to justify drinking iced coffee (we seemed to have skipped straight to autumn in Scotland) but I have been making it anyway and pretend a lot! My daughter loves Vietnamese coffee too. It’s always with caffeine though and so I can only look on with envy.

  20. Traci Wood says:

    Hi! Just made a batch for my coffee press & am so excited to try it! I was wondering how you dilute it when making hot coffee? Say, 3 0z water to 5 oz coffee? Any examples? I am trying to do a cost comparison per cup vs. drip!😀

    1. Hi Traci, I tend to make it up in milk rather than water so it’s hard to say (I like it strong cos I make it decaf). I hope you like it.🙂

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: