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

Cold-Brew Coffee in a French Press is easy to make, and even easier to drink. Customize to your heart’s content. Or just drink “neat”; the low acid prep makes the coffee naturally sweet. Bonus six mini recipes to further savor the flavor


“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.”

Iced Coffee Memories

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 Brew Coffee in a French Press makes incredible iced coffee. No milk needed!

At 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.

The Joke Was On Me

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.

So, how do you make decent iced coffee?

A: Get some good quality coffee beans and follow the easy method below. 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?

cold water + good freshly ground coffee x 12 hours = cold brew coffee concentrate!

Result: Sweet, all-day sipping.

***UPDATE June 2020: I have a near-miraculous, 5-minute Japanese cold brewed coffee that you will love! See further down the post for an image. 🙂 Both ways are equally gorgeous!***

Do you fancy making this easy Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press? Remember, it’s a concentrate, so a little goes a long way. 🙂




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.

5 from 1 vote

Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate In A French Press (Cafetiere)

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.

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword cafetiere, cold brew, french press, iced coffee
Prep Time 10 minutes
Steeping 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author kellie anderson


  • 75 g whole roasted coffee beans or 75g/2.65 oz coarse grind good coffee
  • 750 ml water


  1. For the best, smoothest flavour, use a coarse setting. Or as I do with my old coffee grinder, just letting it whirr for a short while, shaking the whole thing! The normal grind used for cafetières 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.

  2. 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. 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. This is where you can customize to your heart’s content. Whether you have 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. See below for easy ways to jazz it up.

Recipe Notes

Optional: dairy or non-dairy milk; evaporated milk; coconut milk; flavoured simple syrup (to sweeten like coffee shops); extracts/powders/drops such as vanilla, cardamom, hazelnut, chocolate, cinnamon, Christmas spice; liqueurs such as Kahlua. You can also infuse roughly ground cocoa nibs with the coffee to impart a chocolatey taste.

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.

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.

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’.

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 Facts
Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate In A French Press (Cafetiere)
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Sodium 38mg2%
Calcium 23mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

**UPDATE: I have a very quick way of enjoying proper iced coffee. (below image) Go see my June 2020 How To Make Japanese-style Iced Coffee. No special equipment needed!**

Japanese-style Iced Coffee – you don’t need a fancy Chemex (shown). Just a jug and sieve!

**Other cold summer drinks to try**

Activated Turmeric & Mint Citrus-Ade + How To *Really* Use Turmeric {recipes and nutrition}

How to Make Water Kefir {drinking to your gut health}

12 Essential Water Kefir Sodas – Easy, Delicious and Probiotic

How To Make Pineapple Tepache {Probiotic Mexican Soft Drink!}

Watermelon and Green Tea Soothie by Food To Glow

PS I have quite a few cold drinks in the Index.


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