When you think of a French press, you think of coffee. In fact, you think of a hot, epically smooth cup of coffee, because that is the French press’s claim to fame.
Whether you use your French press religiously or only during the rare non-rushed mornings, that press could be getting more use than it does. Despite its best-known talent for traditional coffee, your press has the power to make a wide range of other delicious drinks too, from cold brew to cocktails.
To unleash the kitchen multi- purpose tool you didn’t know you had, check out these unique ways to use your French press.
1.Make Cold Brew Coffee
As cozy and warming as a hot cup of coffee is during the winter, a smooth glass of cold brew is its refreshing summertime counterpart. Making your own cold brew can be tricky, but when you figure out the tips and ingredient proportions, your French press can knock it out of the park.
There are a few differences to consider with cold brew French press coffee. First, you’re not only using cold water instead of hot water, but you also need to let it steep for far longer, as cold extraction is a more timely process than hot extraction.
Second, be sure to use a coarse ground coffee, not finely ground. If your grounds are too fine, it will make the coffee too bitter and it may also leave you with sediment in the cup.
With those tips in mind, making cold brew coffee is surprisingly simple. First, add your coffee grounds and water. We recommend around 6 ounces of coffee grounds with 28 ounces of water, though you can tweak the proportions based on your preferences.
Stir the grounds and water slightly to make sure all the grounds are wet. Then, simply let the mixture steep in the fridge for 12-15 hours. The longer you steep it within that window, the smoother your brew will be.
When the time is up, simply push down the plunger and pour your brew over ice. Store the remaining cold brew in a pitcher in the fridge for up to a week.
There’s no need to make the trek to a coffee shop when you want a great latte. Making your own at home is simple enough: all you need is espresso, frothed milk, and flavored syrups if desired.
Instead of shelling out money and cabinet space for a dedicated milk frother, hand the frothing job to your French press. Ultimately frothing milk is simply injecting air into the fats and proteins of the milk, and you don’t need a specialized tool to do this well.
Heat up your milk to start. You can put it in the microwave for up to 45 seconds or heat it on the stove at low-medium heat. Either way, it’s ideal to use 2% or whole milk because there are more proteins and fats, making these types of milk easier to froth.
When your milk is hot, pour it into the French press. Then, move the plunger up and down through the milk rapidly to infuse the air particles. It helps to only froth a small amount of milk at a time, generally just enough for one latte. If the press is too full, you’ll have a hard time moving the plunger quickly enough to froth it.
Do this until you’ve added about 50% to the milk’s volume. It generally takes no more than 15 seconds. From there, simply scoop the frothed milk into your homemade vanilla latte or other café delicacy and enjoy.
Making coffee and making tea involve the same essential process: steeping a liquid with something to extract the flavors and nutrients from the solid into the liquid. It’s no surprise, then, that a french press can make a fantastic cup of tea.
Start by heating your water to 180-200 degrees on the stove or in an electric kettle. While you do, scoop your loose tea leaves of choice into the French press.
An important part of making your tea is using the right amount of tea leaves for your water. The typical recommendation is about 2.5 grams of leaves for every 8 ounces of water. You can also use 1-2 teaspoons but measuring the tea by weight is more accurate because different leaves have different densities.
With your tea leaves in the French press, pour your heated water over them. Steep it for 2-4 minutes based on the tea type or your preferences. When the timer dings, simply press down the plunger and pour your tea.
4.Mix a Drink
Coffee and tea are great for the daytime, but there’s no need to put away your French press when the sun goes down. Instead, use it to make an incredibly flavorful cocktail!
French presses have been used by bartenders for ages. They’re perfect for making a small batch of three or four cocktails: too much to make in a single cocktail shaker. They also do a great job of keeping fruit pulp and seeds out of your drink, and they allow you to mix drinks with carbonated beverages without the fear of your shaker’s top bursting off.
The process itself will depend on your ingredients. Generally, though, start by muddling whatever fruits or other ingredients you’re using first. Put them in the bottom of the press and add your liquors and other liquid ingredients on top.
Finally, let it all steep based on your recipe’s specifications, usually 10-15 minutes, and you’re ready to go. To try it for yourself, check out this french press sangria recipe.
5.Make Infused Beverages
Infused water has become a lifeline for those who want to drink more water but prefer a drink with more flavor. Instead of buying infused waters individually, why not make your own with a French press?
The process is simple. Start by putting the fruits, herbs, or anything else you’d like to extract from in the bottom of the French press. Then, pour cold water on top and put the press into the fridge overnight. In the morning, push down the plunger and enjoy your healthy drink.
Putting Your French Press to Use
Your French press is one of the most versatile tools in your kitchen, even if you didn’t realize it. To put yours to good use, try any of the recipes and options above or shop our selection of coffee, tea, and more.