I was interested today in making some cold brew. I have a french press so I'd like to use that.

What is your recommended brewing time? Does this make a concentrate? What ratio do you use later to dilute that concentrate?

  • Hi Nate! The ratios, brewing times, and other techniques for French press cold brew can vary greatly depending on personal preference. Can you give us some more detail on what your ideal result would be?
    – hairboat
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 16:44

4 Answers 4


First, make sure to study What do I need to start cold-brewing. But since concentrate is not discussed there, I don't think your question is a duplicate. Your French press concentrate could last a couple days, depending on the consumption.

Assuming you divide the volume of the French press by 5, you would need 1 part of ground coffee (the usual coarse grind you use in the press; extraction is weaker at low temperatures but the time makes up for it even with coarse grind) and 4 parts of fresh room-temperature water, which you gently mix and stir. The coffee should sit for about 12-16 hours at room temperature. Then plunge, and here is the concentrate. To dilute, use another 8 parts of cold water or milk (or better, start with 5-6 parts and taste to determine whether you want it still thinner).

Here's my favourite article that discusses dripping methods as well.

  • Wow, that's a lot of coffee! Seems like a good system / rule-of-thumb. Would you clarify a few things? Do you leave this to brew at room temperature (vice fridge)? Do you recommend the same coarseness of grind as you would use for regular French press? With that many grounds, it seems like you won't be able to press the plunger down very far. Do you think you're getting full extraction/yield?
    – hoc_age
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 15:09
  • @hoc_age: added details but for the last one. I didn't think about it before, thanks! Right, maybe this way some grounds get wasted. A report on reducing coffee proportion is welcome. Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 15:13
  • 1
    I use the 1/5 proportions too, but I drink the resulting liquid as-is. If you're from Europe you may want to taste the 1/5 "concentrate" before you dilute it - you might find it's already just right for you and doesn't need any more water.
    – Don Joe
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 13:39
  • Is the 4:1 ratio by weight or volume? Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 13:53
  • @RayButterworth Weight. It's always weight, with coffee beans you can't rely on volume. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 12:58

The standard recommended ratios for cold brew are:

| Roaster | oz Coffee | oz water | time | ratio | |----------------------------------------------------------| |Stumptown | 12oz | 56oz | 16 hours | .214 | |Blue Bottle | 16oz | 67.6oz | 12 hour | .236 | |Ritual | 4oz | 35.2oz | 18 hours | .113 | |Intelligentsia | 8oz | 56oz | 12 hours | .142 |

These recipes vary in concentration - the lower ~0.1 recipes are designed to be consumed without dilution, while the ~0.2 recipes are designed to be consumed in a 1:2 cold brew concentrate to water dilution.


17:1 water to coffee ratio (by weight) for regular coffee

4:1 ratio for cold brew

The extraction will also be impacted by things like grind size, water temp & dwell time so in order to get a "golden cup."

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Image from SCAA


Simple French Press cold brew:

Same amount of coffee you like for hot French Press.

Fill with water.

Park in the fridge overnight (or 24 hours, doesn't seem to make a huge difference, and it may be easier to just clean it when you drink it and immediately refill and put back in fridge.

Press the piston and drink. Adjust coffee amount if desired for next batch.

Not concentrate. Concentrate is a pain in the rear and wastes coffee (IMHO.)

Same method works with a bottle/jug/jar for the grounds and water and any drip filter (Chemex, pour-over or any funnel with a filter in it, hot drip machine with the lid up) for the filtering; includes the ability to have a paper filter if you think that might be better for you. Also doesn't require a French Press if you don't have one and want to experiment with cold brew starting from some other hot brew method.

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