How to: French Press Iced Coffee.

In celebration of yesterday’s summer solstice, we walked to Caribou Coffee and treated ourselves to some delicious cold coffee beverages.

Which reminded me that I’ve been meaning to show you how to French press iced coffee. It’s an alternative to the tutorials all over the internet involving strainers and cheesecloth and various sieves – I am lazy and I want to do little work for my delicious coffee.

Why Cold Brew?

Cold brewed coffee is approximately 12,000 times better than hot coffee that is made cold. It takes a lot longer (9-12 hours), but the results are so worth it. If you’ve only ever had Starbucks or McDonald’s iced coffee – get thee to a cold brewed iced coffee recipe and make it now. I insist.

Why French Press?

We have a French press for our hot coffee because it’s a smaller appliance than a coffee maker and the best way to enjoy coffee. Something about oils being released and I don’t know, it’s just so delicious compared to a drip brew coffee maker. And it’s easy to clean, so it never makes the coffee taste funky. Plus, I can use it to (**hippie alert**) make almond or cashew milk. Versatile! Again, if you are a coffee lover and have never had French pressed coffee –  try it.  (I’ve used this one and loved it. We currently have one we got at TJ Maxx on clearance.)

This will be super easy. Are you ready?

I use one cup of coffee and two cups of water – but play around if you like. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you should get one. You can grind spices, make oat flour, and even turn granulated sugar into powdered sugar with it!

PS: I made decaf iced coffee so I can enjoy it in the afternoon. We found this fair-trade, Swiss Water Process (there are nasty chemical solvents in normal decaf) decaf coffee at Earth Fare.

I stick the plunger in lightly and don’t press down to fit it in the fridge. (I could put it in without a lid, but I have a fear of fridge smells permeating my coffee.)

I would have taken a picture of it pressed, but Mike pressed it and poured it into a jar so he could make some hot coffee (he doesn’t like iced coffee).

And now you can doctor it up!

I used to use a lot of water to dilute the coffee – it’s sort a coffee syrup; it’s thick. But now, I just add a touch of water and lots of ice. Play around and see what you like.

Granulated sugar won’t dissolve in iced coffee, so I like to use store-bought or homemade syrups in it. I’ll include a super-easy-barely-a-recipe recipe below for making vanilla syrup – but you could add any flavoring to it.

French Press Iced Coffee

1 cup of coffee

2 cups of water

1.  Grind coffee on the coarse setting. (Or for just a few seconds).

2. Mix coffee grounds and cold water in French press. Refrigerate for 9-12 hours.

3. Press and serve! It’s sort of thick, so dilute it to your tastes. Add cream, sweetener, and lots of ice. Drink from a mason jar.

Vanilla Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Boil water and sugar.
2. Stir in some vanilla extract.
3. Serve in coffee. YUM.

About Ashley

Ashley is a web designer, mother, and social media addict. She blogs about her attempts to live more simply and pursuing happiness while juggling a job she loves and life with two adorable sons and an academic husband.


  1. Thank you for posting the ratios. I have been playing with a few recipes I found on the internet and their ratios were things like “whatever you like”. To which I yelled at my computer, “But where do I start!!!” So, Thanks :)
    Elizabeth’s most recent post :: On Becoming a Mrs…what they don’t tell you!My Profile

  2. You know, I think I tried this before and didn’t like it, but now that I read your post I’m pretty sure I tried to mix in granulated sugar. So thanks! I love iced coffee and since it’s SO HOT in the summer I’d much rather drink this in the morning.
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  3. I make iced coffee the same way! It is SO much better than chilled, hot-brewed coffee. That’s actually why I love Caribou Coffee so much… they actually cold press their iced coffee.

    We have a big, fancy coffee maker that we got for our wedding, but we only take it out when we have guests over and need more than just a couple of cups. The french press is just SO much easier and it can be tucked away in a cupboard for easy access. (Our big coffee maker is also tucked away in a cupboard, but is in a box over the fridge, so not so easy!)

    I never knew you could use a french press to make nut milks… any chance you’ll share that recipe next? :)
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  4. I’ve found that many coffee shops are now moving toward the “Japanese” method of iced coffee. It’s better than the Starbucks method (whatever that is technically called) but still much different than cold-brew.
    Rob’s most recent post :: House HuntingMy Profile

    • I just looked it up and the Japanese method is actually exactly how Starbucks does it! Weird.

      • It is? I thought I remember you telling me that Starbucks chills hot-brewed coffee. I guess the distinction to me is that with the Japanese method, you’re brewing directly onto ice and served immediately. In the even worse method, a pot of hot coffee is brewed, stuck in in the fridge for a while, then pulled out and poured over ice later.
        Rob’s most recent post :: House HuntingMy Profile

  5. Why do you not use the same ratio of coffee to water that you use when making hot coffee in the french press? Do you just need that much more coffee because it is cold? Cheers!

  6. So, Pioneer Woman uses a tad sweetened condensed milk in her iced coffee recipe….I’m just sayin’.

  7. I would just like to say that I don’t even like coffee and I liked reading this post! You are awesome :)

  8. I love French Press Iced Coffee. Need to send this to my wife so she knows how to make it for me
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  9. Elizabeth@Family Menu Planning says:

    I made this recipe yesterday and I’m sipping it right now! OH MY! So delicious! Thanks for the inspiration and the tips!
    Elizabeth@Family Menu Planning’s most recent post :: Garden Journal, vol. 2My Profile

  10. Hey! What coffee grinder do you have? I have one but it doesn’t do a very good job. Yours looks like it does quite well.


    • Susie,

      I’m a bit late to the party, so I hope you see this! spending the $50 for a Burr grinder is more than worth it – amazon usually has good deals on them. I bought a Melitta grinder about a year ago and it’s still going strong (big coffee house here, it goes through enough beans for 3 6-cup pots per day)! I just bought myself a Hario Skerton grinder last month, though – $57 on Amazon, and it’s a hand grinder so it takes a bit longer, but it’s sooooo worth it. it will grind much coarser than my electric one, so my French Press hardly gets any mud at all! It also goes fine enough for perfect espresso or Turkish brews. Try one out!

  11. What a great blog. I’m so glad I found you ;-)

    Just bought a french press, and I love it. I have been reading about the cold brew thing. Thanks for this simple recipe.

    Also – I don’t have a big sweet tooth, but I love that you make your own vanilla syrup. The stuff at the coffee shops is such crap.

    Amy I. Bloom’s most recent post :: Narratives from the ClassroomMy Profile

  12. Thanks for verifying this for me – i’ve been craving it lately, and my french press has been quite useless lately as i don’t have a kettle. Also, way to represent Ne Ohio! i love finding people from my hometown :)

    Thanks again (^u^)

  13. Lindsey says:

    Hi there! Quick suggestion. You can unscrew the filter piece from the rod on the french press and just put the cap on for covering in the fridge. Then when you’re ready to press it, you can put it back together. Just so it fits in the fridge for people! :)

  14. Thanks for the recipe! I usually just stick leftover coffee in the fridge to drink later, so I am excited to try this! I have it in the fridge right now, waiting for morning. My favorite way to sweeten iced coffee is real maple syrup. So yummy! I can’t wait to try this tomorrow…

  15. Buy Slim Green Coffee says:

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous
    blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!
    Buy Slim Green Coffee’s most recent post :: Buy Slim Green CoffeeMy Profile

  16. I truly love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you create this web site yourself?

    Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my very own website and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Kudos!
    simply click the next internet site’s most recent post :: simply click the next internet siteMy Profile

  17. Use french press for almond milk?!? Brilliant. Grind up almonds and add with water into the french press. That’s it right?

    This just blew my mind… I’ve been avoiding making my own almond milk because I didn’t want to deal with the whole cheesecloth/sieve thing.

  18. I every time spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s articles or reviews all the time along with a cup of coffee.
    kumlama’s most recent post :: kumlamaMy Profile

  19. I make a quart of the boiled coffee and chill it. Having read your blog using a French coffee press, how much liquid coffee will I get following your recipe?

  20. How long will this last in the fridge? Can i just cover it with saran wrap in the fridge until I’m ready to press it? Thanks!

  21. Totally making this for tomorrow!

  22. mary fennerty says:

    I’ve made iced coffee for 25 years. I use a ‘coffee toddy’ . On internet $25. You use 1 lb. coffee and fill to top with water,let stand 24 hrs. Then drain into carafe ( included ) . It wii last for week or more in fridge . Put one-third cup or more in glass and add water. Needless to say this makes 30 plus cups of coffee. Good for a crowd. Also i use FrenchMarket coffee that has some chicory added. It’s delightfully delicious. . Enjoy…

  23. I love this posting! I love coffee, and Bodum too, so I guess I really have to try this. Ice coffee during the summer is great, we just have to get some summer in Germany.
    I also adore strong coffee, actually start my morning only with one espresso and one more in the afternoon.
    Matthew Epstein’s most recent post :: Coffee Price Hikes finally Trickle to Consumers. Will it Matter?My Profile


  1. Summer Snacking | Family Menu Planning says:

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