The sun is blazing, and your craving for a cool, revitalizing coffee drink is reaching new heights. But let's face it, coffee shop runs can really put a dent in your wallet. Don't fret, my fellow penny-pinchers, because today we're diving headfirst into the world of DIY Cold Brew Coffee! Get ready, because I’m about to spill the beans (HA!) on How To Make Cold Brew Coffee at home. (Spoiler Alert: It’s SO EASY!)
Making cold brew at home is like having your own personal coffee shop, where affordability, versatility, creativity, and flavor come together in perfect harmony. So get ready to channel your inner barista and ride the homemade cold brew revolution wave, where inexpensive, smooth, low-acidity caffeination awaits your eager tastebuds.
Forget about the daily coffee shop splurges and those pricey bottles of store-bought cold brew (not to mention the wasteful plastic packaging!). It's time to embrace the DIY spirit and make your own cold brew that won't break the bank. Just imagine the satisfaction of each slurpable sip, knowing that you're saving money for your future adventures. Priceless!
- Why You’ll Love This Cold Brew Coffee Recipe
- What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
- What Does It Taste Like?
- Why Should You Cold Brew Your Coffee? Fun Facts About Cold Brew
- Basic Cold Brew Coffee Ratio
- Steps for Making Cold Brew Coffee
- How To Strain Your Cold Brew
- Optional Variations
- How Long Is Cold Brew Coffee Good For? Storage Instructions
- Expert Tips
- Serving Suggestions
- Cold Brew Coffee Nutrition
- Other Iced Coffee Recipes
- How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Why You’ll Love This Cold Brew Coffee Recipe
If frosty, caffeinated coffee drinks are integral to your daily routine, I see you! As the summer brings record-breakingly scorching temps, iced coffee is really the only way to go. But, rather than diluting hot brewed coffee with ice, why not learn how to make cold brew at home?
Aside from helping to keep you cool when the weather is decidedly hot, this recipe for cold brew coffee is also:
- Quick & Easy - Believe it or not, brewing cold brew coffee is a breeze, no matter the size of your kitchen. Plus, you don't need any fancy contraptions to make it happen!
- Versatile - I'll let you in on multiple methods of how to make your own cold brew, but the simplest one only requires a mason jar (or any pitcher you have lying around), your favorite coffee, and a little cheesecloth.
- Customizable - Homemade cold brew lets your preferred roast's true colors shine bright. Whether you're into bold dark roasts, adventurous single-origin beans, the richness of espresso, or the smoothness of a blonde roast, this method respects and celebrates your coffee choices. Plus, you can play with the coffee-to-water ratio, so every batch caters precisely to your tastebuds' whims.
So, say goodbye to those coffee shop queues and hello to homemade deliciousness. With just a handful of steps, you'll be savoring a cup of pure chilly joy!
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Ah, cold brew coffee, the enigmatic elixir that has taken the coffee world by storm! But what exactly is it? Cold press coffee is a marvelous creation born from the unhurried marriage of coffee grounds and cool water.
Unlike traditional brewing methods that rely on hot water to extract flavors, cold brew works its magic through a patient, slow steeping process that makes it taste as smooth as silk. The extended steeping time (usually between 12 to 24 hours) extracts the flavors in a way that reduces the bitterness and acidity found in hot-brewed coffee. It's like sipping on liquid velvet!
What Does It Taste Like?
A sip of cold brew is like diving into a refreshing pool on a scorching summer day. It's the liquid equivalent of a wizard casting a caffeinated spell that banishes bitterness and waves goodbye to acidity. Forget about the harsh, jolting wake-up call of hot coffee. Cold brew whispers sweet nothings to your palate, enveloping it in a cool, refreshing embrace.
And, as if that weren't enough to love, cold brew also unlocks a whole new world of coffee flavors. You see, traditional hot brewing methods can sometimes be a bit intense, like a noisy rock concert where all the flavors are shouting at you, making it hard to appreciate the delicate notes. But cold brew? It's a master of subtlety, like Chanel No. 5, but in slurpable, caffeinated form.
Imagine tasting your coffee and actually being able to pick out the subtle hints of chocolate, the delicate floral undertones, or the fruity bursts of joy. It's like your tastebuds are on a tasty treasure hunt, discovering flavors you never knew existed!
Why Should You Cold Brew Your Coffee? Fun Facts About Cold Brew
We’ve covered the fact that cold brew is easy-to-make and delicious. But, you might still be wondering, “Why cold brew coffee?” While I could wax poetic for pages, here are my top reasons:
- It’s Smooth As Silk. Cold brew coffee tends to be less acidic than its hot-brewed counterpart. This means that even those with sensitive stomachs can savor the rich flavors without any unpleasant digestive side effects. It's a win-win for both taste and tummy.
- You Can Make It Pack A Heck Of A Punch. Want a little extra oomph in your cup, or a smaller jug in your fridge? Cold brew coffee can also be made in concentrated form, allowing you to stretch your brew further or indulge in a bolder flavor profile. Just dilute it with water or milk to your desired strength, and you're good to go.
- It’s Make-Ahead Friendly. A batch of cold brew can last in the fridge for upwards of week, so caffeinated goodness is never far from reach!
- And Super Versatile! Cold brew coffee is traditionally served over ice, but don't let that limit you! You can make cold brew all year round, heating it up whenever you're in the mood for a cozy cup of steaming-hot goodness. And, since it was brewed cold, the low acidity remains a fact even if it's warmed!
- It’s Less Bitter. Finally, if you've ever been disappointed by the unpleasant bitterness that lingers in your mouth after a sip of hot coffee, cold brew will be a game-changer. Its gentle extraction process minimizes the bitterness, resulting in a remarkably clean and refreshing finish.
Seriously, friends. Once you learn how to cold brew coffee, it’s going to change your life!
Much like making espresso or drip coffee, you only need two simple ingredients to make cold brew black coffee. Here’s what to grab:
- Coffee Beans - Generally speaking, you can use any variety of coffee beans you like so long as they are coarsely ground. (Note: Finely ground coffee can be used with some methods, but coarsely ground works across the board.)
- Water - For the best, cleanest flavor, use filtered or distilled water.
Best Coffee Beans For Cold Brew Coffee
It’s kind of wild, but you’ll start to be able to discern way more flavors in your cold brew coffee than in any other method of brewing. While there are approximately a gazillion different coffee roasters and blends to choose from, these are consistently my favorites:
- Stumptown Organic Medium Roast
- Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee
- Wink Coffee Single Origin Cold Brew Reserve
- Bizzy Decaf Cold Brew Coffee
What about you? What are your favorite coffee beans? Let me know in the comments below so I can give them a whirl!
Basic Cold Brew Coffee Ratio
You might be wondering, how much coffee for cold brew? There are two cold-brew coffee-to-water ratios you should keep in mind:
- For regular cold brew black coffee that you can drink straight from the jug, use 1:4
- For high-octane cold brew concentrate, which you can either use like espresso in your favorite latte drinks or dilute with water before drinking, use 1:3.
Note that taste is subjective, so you may want to fiddle with the ratios to get your own version of a perfect brew!
Steps for Making Cold Brew Coffee
The basic idea behind making cold brew coffee remains the same, no matter your method — mix the grounds with cold water and let time do the rest. However, depending on which cold-brewing method you choose, straining may look a little different.
Below I’ve listed 4 easy methods for how to make cold brew with ground coffee. Let’s dig in!
1.) How To Make Cold Brew In A Mason Jar
This is easily the most low-tech method for making cold brew that I know of. Honestly, anyone can do it! And don’t think it has to be a “mason” jar specifically — feel free to repurpose an old pickle jar, a pitcher, or any other container with a wide-mouth opening.
Step 1: Coarsely Grind your coffee beans with a coffee grinder.
Step 2: Mix. Pour about half the water into a 32 oz mason jar. Top with the coffee grounds, then fill with the remaining water (not all the water will fit, that's okay). Stir!
Step 3: Steep. Cover the jar, and allow it to steep for 8-12 hours. After steeping, line a second 32 oz jar with a mesh bag or cheesecloth and pour the coffee into the bag. This will separate the cold brew from the coffee grounds.
Step 4: Strain. Slowly pull the bag up out of the jar and squeeze out any liquid. Discard the coffee grounds. Step 5: Dilute. Add about ½-1 cup more water to the mason jar to dilute it slightly. Store in the fridge or pour over ice and drink up!
2.) How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In A French Press
Your French press isn’t just for hot coffee! You can totally use it to make cold brew, too. Here’s how:
Step 1: Coarsely Grind your coffee beans with a coffee grinder.
Step 2: Mix. Pour about half the water into a 32 oz French press. Top with the coffee grounds, then fill with as much of the remaining water as possible. Stir to incorporate.
Step 3: Steep. Place the lid on top to keep fruit flies out, but don’t press the plunger. Allow it to steep for 8-12 hours.
Step 4: Strain. Slowly press the plunger down to separate the cold brew from the grounds. Pour the cold brew into the storage vessel of your choice. Discard the coffee grounds.
Step 5: Dilute. Add about ½-1 cup more water to the storage container to dilute the cold brew slightly. Store in the fridge or pour over ice and drink up!
3.) How To Use A Cold Brew Coffee Sock
A coffee sock (or coffee sleeve) is essentially just a large, skinny bag made from tightly woven cotton or fabric. They generally have a small “tail” at the top which you can use to tie the bag shut before brewing. The idea here is that the sock acts as a giant teabag so you can steep the coffee grounds, then pull the bag out when you’re done.
Step 1: Coarsely Grind your coffee beans with a coffee grinder.
Step 2: Add the Coffee Grounds to a Coffee Sleeve. Tie off the top.
Step 3: Steep. Place the sock in a large pitcher or covered container, then pour the water over the top. Cover the container and allow to steep for 8-12 hours.
Step 4: Strain. Slowly pull the bag up out of the container and squeeze out any liquid. Discard the coffee grounds, then rinse and wash your coffee sleeve for future use.
Step 5: Dilute. Add about ½-1 cup more water to the container to dilute the coffee slightly. Store in the fridge or pour over ice and drink up!
4.) How To Make Cold Brew In A Cold Brew Maker
Cold brew coffee makers come in many different makes and models these days, but the idea behind them is the same — mix the coarsely ground coffee and water together in the steeping chamber, allow to steep, then drain the cold brew into the proscribed vessel. You’ll need to refer to the user manual of your particular maker for specifics.
Best Cold Brew Makers
I’ve surveyed family, friends, and readers on the best cold brew makers around. Here’s what ranked tops:
Short On Space? How To Make A Cold Brew Concentrate
Feel free to up the amount of coffee grounds you use when you’re cold-brewing, then skip the last step of adding extra water to dilute it. You can store the concentrate in a small container in the fridge, then add water or milk to your liking when it’s coffee time.
How To Strain Your Cold Brew
Once you’ve brewed it using any of the methods above, you’ll need to figure out how to filter your cold brew coffee. Again, you have options:
- Slowly pour it through a coffee filter-lined mesh strainer or pour-over coffee maker.
- Use cheesecloth or a floursack towel to line your mesh strainer.
- Pour the brew through a coffee sock. Or, simply remove the coffee sock from your brew.
- Use the plunger of a French press to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee.
- Invest in a cold brew coffee maker with a built-in straining system.
The great thing about playing your own barista is you get to experiment with adding your own touch of magic. Here are a few ideas to customize your cold brew:
- Spiced is Nice - Time to get your spice game on! Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or even a dash of cardamom into your coffee grounds before the steeping extravaganza. Those magical spices will give your cold brew a warm and cozy twist that's sure to make your tastebuds feel like they've been wrapped in a cozy blanket.
- Vanilla Ice, Ice Baby - Split a vanilla bean and let it work its mojo by hanging out with your coffee grounds during the steeping process. The result? A cold brew wonderland of subtle, sweet vanilla goodness that will make you feel like you're sipping on liquid dreams.
- Citrus Bliss - Let's add a zesty kick to your cold brew party! Grab a veggie peeler and go to town on some lemon, orange, or grapefruit zest. Toss those wide strips of citrusy goodness into your coffee grounds before steeping, and get ready for a zingy flavor explosion that'll wake up your tastebuds with a bright burst of sunshine!
- Salty Surprise - Time to shake things up and give your cold brew a salty twist. Sprinkle just a pinch of salt onto your coffee grounds before they dive into the cold brew pool. It sounds weird, but that little bit of salt will enhance the coffee's natural flavors.
- Nutty Delights - Let's go nuts, my friend! Crush some toasted almonds, hazelnuts, or sprinkle some shredded or flaked coconut into your coffee grounds. Let those nutty sensations infuse your cold brew, turning it into a flavor party.
- Mocha Magic - Attention, chocoholics! It's time to indulge. Mix in some cocoa powder or cacao into your coffee grounds and let the chocolate takeover begin! Get ready for a chocolate-infused extravaganza that will make you feel like you're sipping on a little piece of chocolate heaven.
How Long Is Cold Brew Coffee Good For? Storage Instructions
Once your cold brew is ready, it's time to find it a cozy spot in the fridge. Transfer your cold brew to a sealed container, like a jar or an airtight bottle, and pop it in the refrigerator. The cool temperatures will help keep your cold brew fresh and flavorful.
Remember: oxygen is the enemy of freshness. When storing your cold brew, make sure to minimize the contact it has with air. Seal your container tightly to create a protective barrier and keep those flavors locked in.
To avoid any confusion, mark your container with the date you made your cold brew to keep track of how long it's been chilling in the fridge. Generally speaking, you should consume your cold brew within 7-10 days for the best flavor experience.
If you’re not ready to finish the batch in that time frame, try freezing any extras in ice cube trays so you can keep your next batch of cold brew chilly without diluting it!
If you've made a batch of cold brew concentrate, you can store that in an airtight container in the fridge as well. When you're ready to enjoy a refreshing cup, simply mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part water or milk (or adjust to your preferred strength) and savor the goodness.
- Use high-quality beans that have been coarsely ground for best results.
- Opt for filtered water to make your cold brew for the cleanest taste.
- Enjoy your cold brew within 7-10 days of brewing for the best taste.
Once your at-home cold brew coffee is ready, there are TONS of ways you can put it to good use. I mean, you’re basically your own Starbucks now! Here are some of my favorite recipes to try:
- Chocolate Cream Cold Brew: Indulge in the rich, velvety embrace of cold brew infused with decadent chocolate cream, a dreamy sip of pure bliss.
- Honey Almondmilk Cold Brew: Experience a harmonious blend of smooth cold brew and creamy almond milk, sweetened with a drizzle of golden honey for a delightfully refreshing treat.
- Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew: Fall in love with the flavors of the season as smooth cold brew intertwines with luscious pumpkin cream, creating a spiced and creamy delight that will leave you craving more.
- Mint Mojito Coffee: Transport yourself to a tropical paradise with the invigorating combination of refreshing mint, a touch of sugarcane, and cold brew, creating a minty mojito-inspired coffee extravaganza.
- Iced White Mocha: Indulge in a heavenly fusion of rich espresso, creamy milk, and velvety white chocolate, perfectly chilled for a decadent and luxurious iced coffee experience.
- Caramel Iced Coffee: Sip on sweet delight as smooth cold brew mingles with a luscious caramel swirl, creating a delightful caramel-infused coffee concoction that's both refreshing and satisfying.
- Iced Lattes: Enjoy the velvety smoothness of perfectly steamed milk blending harmoniously with bold espresso over ice, a classic choice for a creamy and balanced iced coffee treat.
- Lightly Sweetened Iced Coffee: Delight in the simplicity of refreshing cold brew lightly sweetened with your favorite coffee additions.
How To Use Cold Brew Concentrate
Here's how you can make the most of your concentrated brew:
- Dilute and Delight: Cold brew concentrate is meant to be diluted with water or milk, depending on your preference. Start by mixing the concentrate with water (or milk) to create a balanced cup of cold brew. Adjust the ratio to your desired strength, adding more or less water/milk accordingly.
- Ice, Ice, Baby: Once you've diluted your concentrate, pour it over a tall glass filled with ice. The ice will not only chill your brew but also provide a refreshing and invigorating experience. Feel free to get creative and add flavored ice cubes or even frozen coffee cubes for an extra kick!
- Get Fancy with Flavors: Cold brew concentrate is a perfect canvas for adding flavor syrups, extracts, or spices. Consider stirring in a splash of vanilla syrup, a drizzle of caramel, or a sprinkle of cinnamon to customize your cold brew to your liking. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!
- Milk it for All It's Worth: While water is a popular choice for dilution, don't underestimate the power of milk! For a creamy and indulgent treat, use cold brew concentrate as the base for a luscious iced latte or even as a delightful addition to your morning cereal or smoothie.
- Mix and Match: Cold brew concentrate isn't limited to just being a standalone drink. Feel free to experiment and incorporate it into other recipes. Use it as a flavor booster in baking, create coffee-infused cocktails, or even drizzle it over your favorite dessert for an extra coffee kick.
Absolutely! You’re welcome to use any type of coarsely ground coffee you like.
I usually let mine steep at room temperature, but you are welcome to brew it in the fridge if you have a fruit fly problem or just want it to be icy cold as soon as it’s done brewing!
While it won’t technically be cold brew (unless you’re using instant cold brew coffee), you can make regular iced coffee with instant coffee or espresso powder and cold water.
Making cold brew with fine ground coffee is possible, but it may require some adjustments. Fine ground coffee has a larger surface area, which can result in over-extraction and a bitter taste if steeped for too long.
I recommend you reduce the steeping time to around 6 to 8 hours or even less, depending on the strength and flavor you desire. Start with a ratio of 1 part fine ground coffee to 4 parts water, and experiment to find the ideal steeping time and dilution ratio that suits your taste.
I know you hate this answer, but it depends. Cold brew coffee usually packs a stronger caffeine punch compared to your regular hot-brewed cup of joe. The actual caffeine content will vary depending on a few factors like the type of coffee beans you use, how you brew it, the coffee-to-water ratio, and how long you let it steep.
But generally speaking, cold brew tends to have around 1.5 to 2 times more caffeine than its hot-brewed counterpart. That means you're in for a flavorful and energizing ride!
I typically like to brew my cold brew for about 8-12 hours for my personal preferred level of flavor. That said, you’re welcome to let it steep for up to 24 hours for a more concentrated flavor. And, if you’re using fine-ground coffee, I suggest reducing the steep time to just 6-8 hours to prevent it from tasting too bitter.
Cold Brew Coffee Nutrition
When it comes to cold brew coffee, it's a pretty simple story on the nutrition front. Generally speaking, cold brew (like regular black coffee) is a low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-fat beverage. It's a refreshingly guilt-free option for those looking to keep their calorie intake in check.
A small 8-ounce serving of cold brew usually contains less than 10 calories. Plus, it's naturally free of cholesterol, sugar, and fat.
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 8 calories
- Total Fat: 0 grams
- Protein: 0 grams
- Sodium: 2 mg
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
Other Iced Coffee Recipes
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
- 1 cup coffee beans coarsely ground
- 4 cups water filtered or distilled
- Coarsely grind your coffee beans with a coffee grinder.
- Pour about half the water into a 32 oz mason jar. Top with the coffee grounds, then fill with the remaining water (not all the water will fit, that's okay). Stir!
- Cover the jar, and allow to steep for 8-12 hours. After done steeping, line a second 32 oz jar with a mesh bag or cheesecloth and pour the coffee into the bag. This will separate the cold brew from the coffee grounds.
- Slowly pull the bag up out of the jar and squeeze out any liquid. Discard the coffee grounds. Add about ½-1 cup more water to the mason jar to dilute it a little bit. Store in the fridge or pour over ice and drink up!