Once you’ve dipped your proverbial toe in the whole cold brew coffee thing, there’s no going back. You suddenly find yourself with a whole world of fantastic caffeinated concoctions to experiment with in the kitchen.
Contrary to popular belief, cold brew coffee isn’t just cold coffee. If you brew coffee the normal way, allow it to cool and pour it over ice, you’re not making cold brew. You’re simply making iced coffee, which is of course pretty marvelous in its own right.
The difference with cold brew coffee lies in the extraction process, which (unsurprisingly) takes place without heat. Cold water is used to extract the flavors from the coffee grounds much more slowly, resulting in something that is completely different.
Brewing cold brew coffee can be an absolute breeze – even easier than making ‘conventional’ coffee. There’s no shortage of brewing options to experiment with, or different types of coffee (and blends) to try out.
But if you’ve already got a French press (aka cafetière or coffee press) lying around at home, you’ve got perhaps the easiest brewing system of all for cold brew. There’s literally nothing else you need to get the job done, other than a decent coffee grinder and a bit of patience.
The French Press Cold Brew Method
Armed with a French press, you’ll simply need the required measures of coffee and water to make your own café-quality cold brew at home.
There’s limitless scope for experimentation, but this tends to be a good starting ratio to aim for:
- 110g (i.e. 3.88oz) whole coffee beans
- 900 milliliters (i.e. 31.68 fl oz) of water
Of course, different coffee produces very different results – some are smoother or heavier than others. If you’re not particularly pleased with the resulting brew, feel free to play around with the weights and measures.
Otherwise, this is really all you need to do to whip up a batch of seriously decadent cold brew coffee at home:
- Grind the exact quantity of coffee beans you need right before brewing, in order to preserve their freshness. Aim for a fairly course consistency, similar to that you would usually use for your French press.
- Place the coffee grounds in the bottom of the French press, before carefully adding ambient-temperature water until it reaches an inch or two (i.e. 2.5 – 5 cm) from the top.
- Give the mixture a gentle stir to ensure the grounds are fully dispersed, before covering the top of the French press with cling film.
- Next, place the container in the fridge or leave it out in the side in a cool room for at least 12 hours. Making a batch in advance to enjoy the next day is the best way to go.
- Take the mixture out of the fridge, remove the clingfilm and place the lid back on. Gently plunge in the normal way, taking your time to minimize debris in the resulting brew.
- Taste a small amount of your cold brew coffee and determine whether or not you will need to dilute it when you drink it.
- Empty the coffee into a jar or sealed container of some kind, to be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
And there you have it – a delicious batch of cold brew coffee, with next to no effort involved!
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