I know, Autumn is coming and everyone is enthusiastic about pumpkin spice slats. But it’s still hot outside and I’ve been working on my cold coffee game all summer. I’ve become a self-proclaimed cold brew lover so listen to me!
Homemade cold coffee is:
- Smooth, slightly sweet and super refreshing
- Easy to do
- Cheaper than buying in a café
- Ready for busy mornings
- Slightly heated when you feel like hot coffee
You can brew cold on the weekend and then pour your coffee out of the fridge every morning. No boiling water. No fuss with a coffee maker.
As someone 100% not a morning person, cold brewed coffee is a total game changer.
Let’s make a cold brew!
Find out more about Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew can be strong.
This will depend on many factors including the beans used, the soaking time, and the dilution. Dilution is the easiest factor to control. Don’t drink cold brew concentrate straight away – it’s high in caffeine!
Cold brew is less acidic.
If regular filter coffee or espresso is bothering your stomach, cold brew may not. The only way to know this is to try. If you do it yourself, you have more control over the end result.
You can heat cold brew and drink it hot.
In fact it is true and it is very good. The taste stays about the same.
Cold brew takes longer to prepare than drip coffee.
Because the water is cold, it takes about 12 to 18 hours for it to soak in the coffee’s color, taste, and caffeine. Cold extraction releases fewer bitter compounds in the coffee, which leads to a sweeter and smoother result.
Coarsely ground coffee makes the best cold brew.
No coffee grinder at home? No problem. Simply grind your coffee at the grocery store with the large coffee grinder with the dial set to the coarse / French press option. I’ve provided approximate amounts of ground coffee that you can use if you don’t have a scale for a more accurate weight measurement (don’t worry).
Use any type of coffee to make cold brew.
Either variety will work, and you will find that it tastes less bitter when soaked in cold water instead of hot. It would be fun to compare a glass of cold brewed coffee to hot coffee of the same variety.
Basic ratio of cold coffee
Here’s the deal: this ratio is flexible. Kitchen scales come in handy when you have one, but they are not required. You make cold brew concentrate and you can dilute the concentrate as you like to taste.
- Per 1 cup of water, You need 1 ounce (by weight) coarsely ground coffee. That’s about 1/4 cup of whole coffee beans, which makes about 1/2 cup of ground coffee. If you are used to the metric system, 1 ounce is equal to 28 grams.
- You will end up with a little less concentrate than the amount of water you used as some of it will be absorbed into the coffee grounds. However, you will be diluting it with an equal amount of water so you will double your final yield. Clear as mud? I mean coffee? Well.
- Let’s make cold coffee in an ordinary 1 liter wide neck mason jar (affiliate link). In the glass, combine 3 ounces of coarsely ground coffee (that’s roughly 3/4 cup of whole coffee beans made into 1 1/2 cups of coarse ground coffee) with 3 cups of water.
- After soaking and sifting the mixture, you will get about 2 1/2 cups of cold brew concentrate, which is enough for 5 cups of cold brew. You made just enough coffee to survive Monday through Friday!
- If you have a 2 liter jar, just double the quantities offered above.
- If, like me, you have an extra large French press, you can use 5 ounces of coffee (about 1 1/4 cups of whole coffee beans made into about 2 1/2 cups of coarsely ground coffee) and 5 cups of water. You’ll end up with about 4 1/4 cups of concentrate, or enough for 8 1/2 cups of cold brew.
Recommended soaking time
The soaking time is also flexible. I’ve read suggestions for “overnight or 12 hours” and “at least 18 or up to 24 hours”. So do what works with your schedule. Starbucks soaks their cold brew for 20 hours.
If you accidentally pull longer (even more than 24 hours) this is fine. Your concentrate might taste a little bitterer than it would be, but it’s probably fine. It can also be extra strong, so you’ll want to dilute it with some extra water.
How to strain your cold brew
Once you have soaked the coffee, you need to strain the coffee grounds out of the water. A fine-mesh sieve or a French press filter are not sufficient (you will get a cloudy, muddy concentrate). Most methods suggest using cheesecloth, but I hate cheesecloth! It’s difficult to work with and it seems so wasteful.
I’ve played around with other options and found two that work great. See my photos for examples of each. Choose a:
- Thin paper coffee filters: Use the “basket” paper filters that spread out in a round shell shape, as you can see here. Make sure your filter is made of very thin paper, not a thicker material that will take forever to filter. These are the filters that I used.
- A vintage handkerchief: Yes, really – any small, thin, clean, lint-free cotton cloth like a cocktail napkin will do. It should be big enough to cover your strainer when draped over it. I found my handkerchief on the bottom of my photo props and I love that it is easy to wash and reusable (although you may get a slight coffee stain so don’t use your favorite white towel).
To sieve, simply place the coffee filter in a small, fine-meshed sieve or place the cloth over the sieve. Place it over a jug or liquid measuring cup and pour the concentrate into it. That’s it!
Did I convince you to make cold brew coffee at home? It’s so much cheaper than buying in the cafe! Please let me know how it turns out for you in the comments.
Do you want to change it? Try making cold brewed iced tea. Like cold brew coffee, it is smoother and less bitter.
Are you looking for more recipes to make your morning routine easier? Here are 23 make-ahead breakfasts.
Watch how to make cold brew coffee
Making cold coffee
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Total time: 20 minutes (plus 12 hours of rest)
- Yield: 5 cups coffee 1x
- Category: Drink
- Method: Cold brew
- Kitchen: American
Let’s make cold coffee! It’s easy to make and so nice to have coffee ready. This recipe was written for a 1 liter wide mouth mason jar. You can enlarge or shrink it with 28 grams of coffee per 1 cup of water. The quantities provided make about 2 ½ cups of concentrate, which is enough for 5 cups of cold brew.
- 3 ounces ((85 grams) coarse ground coffee (that’s approx ¾ cup whole coffee beans roughly transformed 1 ½ cups* coarsely ground coffee)
- 3 cups Water (filtered water if you have it)
- Combine coffee and water in a 1 liter wide-mouth mason jar. Stir to combine. I like to let my mixture sit for about 5 minutes and stir again. The coffee grounds appear to be exposed to more water this way.
- Put a lid on your container and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
- When you’re ready to strain your cold brew, place a thin paper coffee filter or small, thin cotton napkin, cloth, or handkerchief over a small fine-mesh strainer. Pour the concentrate through the prepared sieve into a liquid measuring cup or jug. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the last cold brew to drip down.
- To serve, fill a glass with ice and half fill with water. Then fill the rest of the jar with cold brew concentrate and stir to combine. Cold brew concentrate stays in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, although I find it tastes best within the first week.
* Measurement note: These are ounces by weight, not volume. This is always the case with non-liquid measurements. “1½ cups of coarsely ground coffee” is the least accurate measurement I can offer (the volume of ground coffee depends on the exact coarseness of your grind) – but it will work. Just adjust the concentrate to water ratio to your liking while you pour your glass of cold brew and everything is fine.