Cold brew vs French press: get to know all the differences

cold brew vs french press

If you are a coffee enthusiast, you should know the difference between the French press vs cold brew coffee. These two are completely different drinks but can produce amazingly delicious coffee.

Some prefer cold coffee over hot coffee, and others prefer a strong taste over a milder taste, so every coffee taste is different based on the brewing method ingredients and using different coffee beans.

I will explain first what cold brew is and what the French press is, which will give an idea of how different these two brewing methods are. And then a closer look what are the specific differences between the two.

Cold brew: an iced packed coffee

Cold brew is a cold coffee, and it is perhaps the most time-consuming process of making coffee. You will steep the ground coffee in cold water for 12 to 18 hours to get the desired taste. Even people prefer to steep it for 24 hours. The important point is to steep in cold water because it will extract a smoother and more flavorful taste.

cold brew coffee
difference between french press vs cold brew

Also, due to the immersing process, it becomes a highly caffeinated drink. But if you are new to this drink, I recommend you always add some milk or cream to reduce the intensity of coffee. And Cold brew always serves with iced cubes.

Whenever you want to make cold brew, remember you can use two steeping methods: immersion, as discussed above, and the other is an iced dripping method. Which will I will discuss in detail in some other article.

French Press: a plunger pot

When compared to cold brew, French press is an easier, more traditional, and much faster method of brewing coffee. The French press is also known as a press pot or plunger pot.

cold brew vs french press: french press coffee

I like the French press method of coffee making because it is easier but can give you the desired taste. Also, it takes only a few minutes to make a cup of Joe. A French press works perfectly well if you make a single cup or use it for a large bunch.

Now let’s dive into the difference between French press and cold brew.

So what is the difference between French press and cold brew?

The first stark difference is cold brew is a cold coffee, while French press is a hot coffee.

cold brew vs french press: Differences in the brewing process

The first significant difference is the brewing time and process. While cold brew is a cold drink, you need cold water in the steeping process, and French press requires hot water.

Similarly, the immersion process of cold brew takes at least 12 hours of steeping, whereas the French press makes coffee within 5 minutes.

How to brew cold brew?
  • Cold brew needs cold water and fresh beans and put into a container.
  • And put it to steep for 12 hours. But make sure to stir it every not then while steeping so that to get a concentrated coffee.
  • Now filter the ground and will get a fine mesh.
  • At this point, dissolve the fine mesh with cold water.
  • Pick up a glass and add it with iced cubes.
  • Pour the coffee into the glass.
cold brew vs french press: cold brew coffee

A fresh, highly concentrated cold brew is ready to serve.

How to brew in a French press?
  • In contrast, in French press first pours hot water into a kettle.
  • Pick coarse grind for French press because it will extract a milder taste.
  • Add coarse grind into the kettle and stir it gently.
  • Now put it into a container and press with a plunger. It will extract a delicious, tasteful cup of coffee into the cup.

I also like to add some flavors, like milk creamer or chocolate, to make it flavorful. But that will increase the calories in coffee. If you don’t add flavors, French press coffee has no calories.

Also, a French press coffee can be served cold by adding iced cubes or putting it into the fridge for some time.

Cold brew vs French press: Difference in taste

If you like highly caffeinated, less acidic, and strong coffee, a cold brew should be your choice. Also, taste-wise, I think cold brew is a milder drink. Because the steeping process makes cold brew a highly caffeinated but less bitter coffee.

On the other hand, the French press is strong, bitter coffee. In the brewing process, when a plunger is pressed, it leaves a few deposits and oils in the coffee, making it highly bitter. It will certainly be unbearable and bitter if you are new to the coffee world. And use coarse grind to make it less bitter.

Cold brew vs French press: Do they use different coffee beans?

French press and cold brew have different characteristics, but when it comes to coffee beans, it is up to you to pick the beans you prefer in your coffee cup. We know that every coffee beans have certain properties.

I certainly prefer any fresh coffee beans for cold brew because during the long steeping process, it will maintain its taste and freshness. Also, coffee beans that are less acidic and milder in taste should be a better option.

Similarly, For French press, you can pick the coffee beans of your choice. A lot of coffee beans are available in the market, so you can experiment by using different coffee beans. I personally experiment with different coffee beans for French press and cold brew, and with time you will get the best-desired taste.

cold brew vs french press: Which coffee roast is good?

When it comes to choosing the best roast for cold brew, it’s generally recommended to go for a medium to dark roast. This is because darker roasts tend to have a richer, bolder flavor that stands up well to the cold brewing process. Lighter roasts, on the other hand, can be more delicate and may not hold up as well in cold brew.

That said, the ideal roast for cold brew can vary depending on your taste preferences. If you prefer a more mellow, smooth flavor, a medium roast may be a good choice. If you like a stronger, bolder flavor, a dark roast may be more up your alley.

French press coffee maker

While for French press, a medium roast is an ideal option because it will give a balanced taste. If you use a dark roast, it might become intensely bitter and strong. Because the brewing process leaves sediments and oils, which makes it very strong.

The difference in grind size

I early mentioned that coarse grind is perfect for French press. Since the coarse grind lets fewer remains to go through to the coffee during the brewing process. And it gives a smoother flavorful taste.

Also, you can use coarse or fine grind to get a flavorful coffee after a long brewing process. However, there is no hard and fast rule for using specific grind sizes for any of the two flavors.

Cold brew vs French press: which coffee has a high caffeine level?

Caffeine is an important factor when you want to take any coffee flavor. Always a balanced caffeine content should be the preferred option. Cold brew and French press contain a good amount of Caffeine.

However, the French press has more caffeine content compared to cold brew. When we compared French press to regular coffee, there is not much difference in Caffeine. But cold brew has a lot more Caffeine due to its unique brewing process.

The cold brew contains 300 to 400 mg of Caffeine, depending on the type of beans and the cup size. Also, the caffeine content will increase if you steep beans for a longer time. A French press consists of around 100 to 150 mg of Caffeine, depending on the grind size.

So cold brew should not be a good option if you want to avoid Caffeine, and the high Caffeine may lead to health complications. You can brew as many cups as you want in French press due to the low Caffeine.

Final thoughts: which coffee taste to pick?

I don’t think you can pick any coffee taste over since every flavor has certain characteristics that you will not find in other coffee tastes. I like both French press for its consistent, flavorful taste, but I like the cold brew for its unique taste.

However, many people don’t like the long steeping process in cold brew. They prefer a quick cup of coffee, so the better option is the French press. Also, making cold brew every day is not easy since the steeping process needs a day. So I prefer to make it at weekends.

I would suggest brewing cold brew when you have more time and want a cold drink. When you want to make many cups in a day, nothing is better than the French press.

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