How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home in a French Press

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home in a French Press

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Coffee brewed between 195 and 205 degrees will contain more aroma compounds, dissolved solids, and flavor than coffee brewed at 72 degrees, but heat also extracts the bitterness and astringency found in coffee beans. The appeal of cold brew lies in its milder acidity and bitterness, which lets more of the dark chocolate, caramel, ripe black fruit, and vanilla flavors come to the fore.

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To make the best cold brew, we tried a number of out-there techniques, including near-continuous agitation and five-day-long extractions in the refrigerator. But in the end, we found that a simple steep in a French press was the best method. Using a high ratio of ground beans to water produced a concentrate that was easy to store and could be diluted as desired. After trying various brew times from 12 to 72 hours, we found that a 24-hour steep delivered the best flavor. Pouring the concentrate through a coffee filter–lined fine-mesh strainer ensured that it was free of sediment. Our finishing touch? A pinch of kosher salt, which rounded out the cold brew’s flavors and further masked it’s already minimal bitterness.

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