The Ultimate Guide to Homemade Cold Brew

Cold Brew Coffee and French Press

When the summer heat is on the rise, reaching for a chilled coffee can be the perfect way to cool down and stay energized. But what’s the difference between cold brew and iced coffee? Let’s dive into these two popular cold coffee options and learn an easy method for making cold brew right at home using a French press.

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Cold Brew:

  • Brewing Method: Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for 12-24 hours.
  • Flavor Profile: The slow extraction process results in a smooth, less acidic coffee with a naturally sweeter taste.
  • Strength: Cold brew is generally stronger and more concentrated than iced coffee, often requiring dilution with water or milk before serving.

Iced Coffee:

  • Brewing Method: Iced coffee is brewed hot, just like regular coffee, and then cooled down and poured over ice.
    (If you prefer iced coffee, check out this iced coffee brew method from the Portland roastery who makes our coffee, Nossa Familia)
  • Flavor Profile: Since it’s brewed hot, iced coffee maintains the familiar flavor profile of hot coffee but can taste more acidic and bitter when chilled.
  • Strength: Iced coffee can be less strong than cold brew because it’s often diluted by the melting ice.

Easy Method for Cold Brew at Home Using a French Press

Making cold brew at home is easier than you might think, especially if you have a French press. It's very hands off--you don't even need to know how to boil water!
Follow these simple steps to enjoy a refreshing cup of cold brew.


  • 1 cup coarsely ground coffee (The grind should be similar to breadcrumbs, not too fine.)
  • 4 cups cold water


  • French press
  • Spoon or stir stick
  • Refrigerator


  1. In your French press, add the coarsely ground coffee and cold water. Stir gently so all the coffee grounds are wet.
  2. Place the lid on the French press, but do not press the plunger down yet! Let the coffee steep in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor will be. (Tip: You can prep your cold brew in the evening and let it steep overnight so your cold brew is ready in the morning when you wake up.)

  3. After steeping, press the plunger down slowly and evenly to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. Pour the cold brew concentrate into a clean container.

  4. Cold brew concentrate is pretty strong, so dilute it with water, milk, or your favorite non-dairy alternative. Or try one of our Cold Brew, Three Ways recipes. Serve over ice and enjoy!

Pro Tips:

  • Experiment with different coffee beans to find your preferred flavor profile.
  • If you like a sweeter cold brew, add a touch of simple syrup or flavored syrup.
  • Unsweetened cold brew can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

With this easy French press method, you can enjoy delicious cold brew coffee from the comfort of your own home. Cheers to staying cool and caffeinated all summer long!