Updated: December 1, 2021 by Owen Richardson
Summertime or not, iced coffee is a refreshing drink you can never go wrong with. Smooth, rich, refreshing… I could go on and on. And no, you don’t have to be a barista to make one; your current skills are enough. To make it even better, today I’ll show you how to make iced coffee with a French press.
You may not know this, but the recipes I’m about to show will help you experience this sweet cold brew at a fraction of the price you would pay at a coffee shop. I know you probably don’t want to wait in line for your turn either. That seals the deal for you, right?
Well, I’ll show you two methods you can count on for great results. Both are simple, but one takes half a day to get your delicious drink ready and the other only takes a few minutes.
Even though they are both easy and straightforward, you don’t want to be wrong about either because you will end up with a drink you hate.
So let’s get started. First, I’ll show you why you should use the French press, and then I will take you through the processes.
Why Make Iced Coffee with French Press?
Any coffee connoisseur will tell you that few methods come close to the French press in preparing a bold, full-bodied cup of coffee.
That aside, the French press is super easy to use; you don’t need barista-level skills. If you can operate a simple coffee maker, the French press will be a piece of pie.
How to Make Iced Coffee with Your French Press: The Methods
First off, let’s make one thing clear: Iced coffee isn’t prepared by taking some ice cubes and dropping them into your freshly brewed coffee. All that ice will dilute the coffee, leaving you with dull, flat, and uninteresting coffee. However, there’s a way you can make this work in your favor, and I’ll be showing you shortly.
Method 1: Cold Brew
Meanwhile, here’s a perfect way to do it. Cold brew coffee in your French press! Steep it and let it chill overnight so that it can come out of the refrigerator super cold with a strong and full-bodied flavor. You can then mix it with ice.
Even though it takes time, the cold-brew process is a favorite for many because it yields a drink that is rich in flavor and not very bitter.
That extra time you let the ground coffee beans steep brings out the best in them, and that’s precisely what makes this method special because it leaves you with a cold brew that is just as delicious, smooth, and strong as hot coffee.
Even better, you can amplify the sweetness by adding in one or two more ingredients. And there’s no limit to what you can add; it’s really up to you. Some people go for milk, chocolate sauce, or vanilla syrup. Others go for caramel and sea salt.
What You Will Need:
- French Press
- 6 ounces of coarsely ground coffee beans
- 32 ounces of fresh cold water
- 1 cup of ice cubes
- Coffee spoon
- 1 cup of milk
- Tall glasses
- Add your coarsely ground beans into the beaker (make sure it’s twice as strong as your typical hot coffee — more on this later)
- Pour the fresh cold water into the beaker
- Stir the grounds with a coffee spoon until it’s fully mixed
- Cover the mixture with cheesecloth and let it rest overnight or for 12 hours
- After the 12 hours have elapsed, put the lid back on and press down the plunger
- Pour the finished product into another container and then let it rest in a refrigerator
- Fill your glass half full with ice, add 4 ounces of the cold brew concentrate, then fill it up with cold milk
- Stir to blend the ingredients and make the drink sweeter
Your French press iced coffee is ready to be served!
Method 2: Brew Hot Over Ice
As hinted earlier, there’s another recipe for making French press iced coffee. Unlike the cold-brew process, this one is quicker. In only ten to fifteen minutes, your drink is ready.
First off, brew coffee in your French press as you normally would. Once ready, pour it over your ice cubes, then, if desired, add a bit of milk and sugar. Make your brew good and strong because it will get diluted by the ice and any milk you add.
That’s it! Your drink is ready to be served. Here is the recipe:
- 4 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee
- 8 ounces (1/4 liter) of freshwater
- 1 cup of ice cubes
- 8 ounces (1/4 liter) of fresh cold milk, optional
- Coffee spoon
- Pour hot water into your French press to rinse and warm it up
- Drain the rinse water and then add 4 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee
- Boil the water to around 195 degrees Fahrenheit
- Let the water cool down for a few seconds, then pour it into your French press
- Stir the mixture with a coffee spoon until all the coffee is saturated and leave it to brew for about four minutes
- Press down the plunger to separate the coffee grounds from your fresh brew
- Pour the ice cubes into a glass (make it half full)
- Gently pour freshly brewed coffee over the ice cubes, then add 4 ounces of cold milk if needed.
How Long Should You Chill French Press Coffee for Iced Coffee?
It is important to note that this only applies to the cold-brew process. After you have stirred the coffee in your French press until saturation, let it steep for 12 hours.
This is because cold water doesn’t extract the good things from coffee as fast as hot water. In fact, the flavor tends to be a little less strong since the caffeine and acids can be as little as 40% of what you would normally get with hot water. That is why it is recommended that you use twice the amount of coffee you would normally use to prepare a hot brew.
That said, you can store the cold brew concentrate for up to two weeks. Since it will continue to steep over this period, this can only make your iced coffee better.
Is It Okay to Drink Iced Coffee Every Day?
Iced coffee has its health benefits, and yes, one to two cups of iced coffee every day is fine, but only if you are not adding ingredients such as sugar or syrup to it. Such items intensify its effect, exposing you to the dangers of blood sugar and teeth problems. Where such ingredients are present, one cup is enough.
The age-old solution is to always drink it in moderation. Too much of anything is bad, and the iced coffee you have prepared with your French press is not an exception.
It may not seem like a big deal at first, but as you carry on, you will start to feel jittery. Eventually, you may develop intense feelings of anxiety and nervousness coupled with fatigue, headache, dizziness, and shakiness. Cut down on your consumption as soon as you notice such signs.
Is a Cold Brew the Same as Iced Coffee?
No heat is used in preparing cold brew. That’s part of the reason why it takes more than 12 hours to be ready. Iced coffee, on the other hand, uses different methods, some of which use heat. This means that you can prepare it in minutes.
The two also don’t share the same taste. Cold brew has a smoother, naturally sweet but bitter taste while iced coffee is a little bit lighter but still refreshing and sweet. Since the ice can dilute the coffee and water down its taste, it is best to use double the amount of coffee beans you would normally use in brewing hot coffee.
Now, Press and Chill
If you don’t know how to use a French press for iced coffee, now is the best time to do so. It’s a simple process, regardless of the method you use. You only have to be careful so that you don’t end up using incorrect proportions of coffee, water, milk, and ice.
Of the two methods, the cold-brew process is what I would recommend you opt for, especially if you would love to experience a delicious and well-balanced French press iced coffee. It may take a while, but it’s worth the wait.
Wishing lots of luck as you take on another coffee brewing adventure!