What’s Hot? Cold-Press Coffee!

What’s Hot? Cold-Press Coffee!

With warmer days ahead, iced coffee time will soon be upon us. This makes it a great time to learn how to make cold-press coffee, the concentrate used to make the best iced coffee drinks.

That’s right, iced coffee is not simply made by pouring hot java over ice. Instead, cold-press (also known as cold brew) coffee comes from slowly steeping beans for hours. Once perfectly potent, the beans are strained off and you are left with a richly flavored brew that can often be shockingly bitter on its own. (More on how to turn it into iced coffee in a bit!)

Ingredients: You’ll need good coffee beans (but they don’t have to be the best) for your cold-press brew. This is not the time to use the fancy, expensive beans, since the resulting cold liquid will not hold onto the nuanced flavors that a hot coffee yields. Some coffee roasters make special beans just for cold-press. Look for Moon Chaser by Big Water Coffee Roasters or Ice Breaker by Kickapoo Coffee Roasters the next time you stop in. You can even user older beans (up to several weeks) without much loss in quality. Use filtered water, if you have it available. Otherwise, plain tap water works.

Equipment: Grab your coffee grinder and French press to make cold-press. Don’t have a press? A mason jar or pitcher works just as well. If you choose to use a jar or pitcher, you’ll also need a fine mesh sieve and coffee filters or other straining material like panty hose to remove the beans at the end. You can also grind your beans at the Co-op, if you don’t own a grinder.


  1. Grind the beans. Choose a coarse grind size since finely ground coffee will be overly bitter. How much coffee should you grind up? Use a four-to-one water to coffee ratio. A standard measurement is four cups of cold water to one cup of coarsely ground coffee.
  2. Add the grinds to your container.
  3. Pour in your water, making sure all the coffee is covered. Stir, if you want to, but it’s not necessary.
  4. Cover your container. If using a French press, you can simply place the top on without depressing the plunger. Use plastic wrap over mason jars and pitchers.
  5. Let steep. Go outside and enjoy some fresh air. Get some projects done around the house. Basically, plan to “set it and forget it” for twelve to fourteen hours. Want it even stronger? Give it a full 24 hours.
  6. Plunge or filter. After the coffee has steeped, it’s time to filter out the grounds. You can either push down the plunger on your French press or strain out the grounds from your mason jar or pitcher using a mesh sieve and coffee filter or other straining material. There may be quite a bit of solid grounds at the bottom of the container. You can skip filtering that last bit, and just pour out the mostly liquid top part.
  7. Pour the strained coffee into a serving pitcher. If brewing a jar or pitcher, you can filter the coffee right into the serving pitcher.
  8. Refrigerate your brew. Wait at least two hours until serving and store up to five days.

Serve: The resulting brew will be highly concentrated and bitter. You do not want to drink this stuff straight up! Instead, dilute the mixture with an equal amount of water, milk, or half-and-half. Place several ice cubes in a tall glass, pour in your diluted cold-press, add the sweetener of your choice, and enjoy!

Looking for inspiration beyond straight up iced coffee? Check out these healthy iced coffee recipes from Redbook.