How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
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Cold brew coffee has gained significant popularity for its smooth, rich flavor and low acidity. It’s my favorite way to drink my coffee iced. I used to drink iced coffee by just chilling a hot coffee – it’s so not the same! Making my own home brewed cold brew coffee has been a game changer! It’s super simple and a fraction of the cost at a local coffee shop. It does take a bit of planning, 12-24 hours, but it’s well worth it, especially if you are a coffee lover! 

Equipment:

Large glass canning jar, long metal mesh strainer insert, small glass bowl of coffee beans, and small glass bowl of coffee grounds.

When making your first batch, you do not need any special equipment. Just a clean canning jar, strainer and cheesecloth. For more dedicated cold brew lovers, purchasing a cold brew filter may be helpful. 

Mason Jar: A mason jar is an ideal vessel for cold brew due to its durability and sealable lid. Choose a size that suits your cold brewing needs, whether it’s a single serving or a big batch for later use. Typically mason jars can be found at most grocery store or on Amazon. Here is the size I use as I like to make big batches to last the week – canning jar.

How to make cold brew

Small clear glass bowl of whole coffee beans and small clear glass bowl of coffee grounds.

Start with Quality Ingredients

  • Filtered Water: Begin with clean, filtered water to ensure the purest taste in your cold brew as regular tap water may contain impurities that can affect the flavor.
  • Coffee Beans: Opt for high-quality, freshly ground coffee beans if you are able. Choose a medium to coarse grind to facilitate the cold brew extraction process. Because not everyone is able to find or grind their own coarse coffee grounds, you can use regular ground coffee beans. You will just need to strain twice to remove any residual grounds. 

Process

Gather vessel (canning jar), coffee grounds and insert if using. Place insert in jar, add coffee and water. OR if not using insert, add water and coffee grounds to jar and seal. Follow method below 👇

The Cold Brew Method

  1. Brewing Ratio: Use a coffee water ratio of approximately 1:8 for cold brewing. If you want to make a concentrate then it would be a 1:4 coffee grounds to water for a concentrated brew. Adjust according to your taste preferences.
  2. Steeping Time: Allow the coffee grounds to steep in the filtered water for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Because I live in New England, I will leave mine steeping on the counter fall-spring, but in the summer months I will steep it in the refrigerator. The cold brewing process takes time. Longer steeping times will result in a stronger, more robust flavor. However, for best results, I would not go any longer than 24 hours as the taste will start to become bitter. I’ve made this mistake! The first time I made my own brew, I let it steep for about 4 days. The result was a bitter flavor and I had to throw my entire brew..
  3. Patience is Key: Cold brew is a slow extraction process, so resist the urge to rush it. Allow ample time for the flavors to develop fully. Personally, I find my cold brew is best for me at the 24 hour mark.

Straining the Brew

  • If you are using a fine mesh insert for your jar, then simply remove the insert and enjoy your freshly brewed homemade cold brew coffee! I’ve tried many over the years and have found this insert to work the best for me. If you are unable to obtain coarse ground coffee and are using regular or fine coffee grounds, then after removing the insert you will want to strain it again. Follow the cheese cloth or filter method next. 

Cheese cloth, cotton kitchen towel or large coffee filter method

  • Once the steeping period is complete, strain the cold brew using either a cheese cloth, cotton kitchen towel, or large paper filter to remove the coffee grounds. This step ensures a smooth, grit-free brew. Simply place your cheese cloth or filter over another jar of same or larger size and secure with a rubber band (or use a strainer that fits over the jar and lay the cloth on the strainer – see photo). Pour your brew slowly over the cloth or filter, allowing the liquid to run through without putting too much tension or force on it. There are many fine mess inserts for canning (mason) jars. I’ve tried several over the years and have found this one to work the best for me – cold brew insert. Because I’m not too fond of  any residual grounds that might make their way through, I will run the brew through a cheesecloth to ensure I have no residual. 
  • Strain twice for clarity: for an extra smooth finish, consider straining the cold brew a second time to remove any remaining sediment.

Cold Brew Concentrate

 Cold brew concentrate is highly concentrated and is typically diluted before serving. Mix it with equal parts filtered cold water or milk for a refreshing iced coffee or customize the ratio to suit your taste preferences. Serve it over ice and additions or drizzles of flavor you enjoy. 

Flavorings

There are so many different ways to serve cold-brew coffee. Here are a few:

Milk options – plant-based such as oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, or any dairy option.

Simple syrup – can purchase or make your own – in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk equal parts water and sugar, and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. 

Cold foam – you can find in most grocery stores or make your own by using an electric whisk to thicken your favorite creamer. 

Vanilla syrup – found in most grocery stores, amazon, etc. Or you can make your own by making a simple syrup (above) and adding vanilla extract to your desired taste.

The following can be found in most grocery stores, specialty stores, Amazon, etc.: 

Caramel syrup 

Mocha syrup

Brown Sugar Syrup

Storage

 Store any leftover cold brew concentrate in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. I use a large canning jar to store mine. Making a large batch allows you to enjoy your favorite cold brew whenever the craving strikes.

Clear glass filled with cold brew coffee over ice. Small bowls of coffee grounds and beans to each side and coffee beans scattered on surface.

Mastering the art of cold brew coffee doesn’t require any special skill as some might indicate. But it does require a willingness to experiment with different brewing methods and ratios. By following the steps above and using quality ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to crafting the perfect cold brew at home. So grab your mason jar, coffee beans, and filtered water, and embark on a journey to coffee bliss and enjoy a glass of cold brew right in the comfort of your home. 

Other recipes you might enjoy

Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte

Mulled Hot Cider Mix

As an Amazon Affiliate, I may receive compensation for recommended purchases. I only recommend products I personally use as seen in photos above.

Clear glass filled with cold brew coffee over ice. Small bowls of coffee grounds and beans to each side and coffee beans scattered on surface.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cold brew
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 day
Servings: 8 cups
Author: hungrydanekitchen

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup coffee, coarsely ground

Instructions

  • Gather ingredients – coffee grounds, vessel (canning jar), and mesh insert if using.
  • If using insert, add grounds to insert, place in canning jar. Add filtered water, cover and allow to brew for 12-24 hrs, either in the refrigerator or on the counter top.
  • If not using insert, add grounds to jar, add filtered water, cover and allow to brew in refrigerator or countertop for 12-24 hours.
  • Use a coffee water ratio of approximately 1:8 for cold brewing. If you want to make a concentrate then it would be a 1:4 coffee grounds to water for a concentrated brew. Adjust according to your taste preferences.
  • Once the steeping period is complete, remove insert or strain the cold brew using either a cheese cloth, cotton kitchen towel, or large paper filter to remove the coffee grounds.
  • Optional – strain twice to remove residual.

Notes

Coffee beans to water ratio – 1:8 ratio for cold brew and 1:4 for concentrate. Example: Cold brew – 8 cups water use 1 cup coarsely ground coffee; 4 cups water = 1/2 cup ground coffee. 
For concentrate – 4 cups water use 1 cup coarsely ground coffee. Or 2 cups water to 1/2 cup coarsely ground coffee.

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Sodium: 12mg | Calcium: 7mg

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