How To Make Cold Brew Coffee At Home

A Simple Guide to Making Delicious Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Cold brew coffee has become quite a sensation in recent years. What started as a niche drink served in local coffee shops and beloved by millennials has become a global phenomenon. The cold brew coffee market in the United States continues to grow and is expected to register a compound annual growth rate, CAGR, of 25.1% through 2025.

Today, you can find cold brew pretty much everywhere—or you can make it yourself. This guide explains how to make cold brew coffee at home.

What Is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold-brew is often confused with iced coffee. However, the two are quite different. Iced coffee is brewed hot and then cooled with the help of ice. Cold-brew is, as the name suggests, brewed cold.

Why Cold Brew Coffee Is Better Than Hot Coffee

Cold brew coffee is chemically different from hot brewed coffee, giving it a few unique advantages. Here are a few key differentiators:

  • Caffeine: Cold brew coffee is lower in caffeine than a hot brew. If you want a small pick-me-up, you might prefer cold brew.
  • Acidity: Cold brew coffee is less acidic than hot coffee. This makes it ideal if you’re someone who tends to get an upset stomach from coffee drinking.
  • Antioxidants: Hot brew coffee has more antioxidants. For a cold brew, the antioxidant level correlates with the roast. A dark roast will have fewer antioxidants than a light roast.

What Do You Need To Make Cold Brew Coffee At Home?

Making cold brew coffee is simple and doesn’t require any fancy or expensive supplies. Here’s how to make cold brew coffee at home.

Tip: at the bottom of this article you’ll find a downloadable/printable recipe card!

Equipment

  • Kitchen scale
  • Filter to strain your coffee
  • Container (gallon bucket, large pitcher, mason jar)
  • Long-handled spoon
  • Coffee grinder

Ingredients

  • Cold Water
  • Coffee grounds

Equipment

Before you can make your cold brew, you’ll need to get a few supplies. Here is a list of the equipment you will need:

  • Kitchen scale.
  • Filter.
  • A container, such as a gallon bucket, large pitcher, or mason jar.
  • Long-handled spoon to stir with.
  • A coffee grinder, if you’re going to grind your own beans.

How Do You Make Cold Coffee Without a Grinder?

The easiest way: buy pre-ground coffee!

Now, if you prefer to grind your own beans, we always recommend using a burr grinder. But a coffee grinder isn’t the only way you can grind coffee beans. You can also use a mortar and pestle, which gives you great control over the size of the grounds. Fill the mortar with coffee beans about one-quarter full before grinding with the pestle.

You can also use a blender. Check if your blender has a “grinder” setting on it. When grinding, do so in short bursts. You don’t want the oily beans to overheat, as this can add an unwelcome bitter flavor to your cup.

How Do You Make Cold Brew Without a Machine?

While there are dedicated cold brew makers on the market, they aren’t a must-have. Cold brew coffee is easy to make. You don’t even need electricity! If your power is out and you can’t rely on your usual espresso maker or drip coffee machine, cold brew is still a viable option.

The equipment you need to make a cold brew (container, long-handled spoon, filter, kitchen scale) is pretty basic. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can even eyeball the coffee measurements.

What Should I Strain Cold Brew With?

As mentioned, you will need a filter to strain out the coffee grounds from the cold brew once it’s ready to serve. You can use a traditional coffee filter, fine mesh, or cheesecloth as a filter. You can even use a clean pillowcase or towel if that’s all you’ve got.

Ingredients

Got your equipment ready to go? Great. Of course, you’ll also need a few ingredients—namely, your coffee grounds! For a cold brew, coarse coffee grounds are the best. You can get any roast you prefer, from light to medium or dark.

You’ll also need water to make your big batch. You can use tap water if that’s all you have on hand (and assuming the tap water where you live is safe to drink). For best results, opt for cold filtered water.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a Mason Jar

A mason jar is a convenient container for making and storing cold brew coffee. Here’s how to make cold brew coffee at home using a mason jar:

  1. Gather your equipment and ingredients.
  2. Measure out your coffee grounds. You should use about four ounces of ground beans.
  3. Pour the grounds into the mason jar.
  4. Fill the jar halfway with cold water.
  5. Stir the mixture with a long-handled spoon.
  6. Fill the mason jar the rest of the way of water.
  7. Put the lid on the jar and place it in the fridge.
  8. Let the coffee steep for at least 12 hours.
  9. Place your fine mesh strainer over a large container.
  10. Pour the steeped coffee in, filtering as you pour.
  11. Rinse your mason jar.
  12.  Pour the cold coffee mixture, now free of grounds, back into the mason jar for storage.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press

You can also make cold brew coffee with a French press. Here’s how to make cold brew coffee at home using this device:

  1. Gather your equipment and ingredients.
  2. Add 4 ounces of coffee (ground beans) into the bottom of the French press.
  3. Add 3 cups of room temperature water, stirring gently until all the grounds are wet.
  4. Let the coffee steep for at least 14 hours.
  5. Use the French press plunger’s fine-mesh sieve to press and strain the grounds.
  6. Pour the strained coffee into a new container for storage.

How to Use a Dedicated Cold Brew Maker

There are also dedicated cold brew coffee makers you can buy. Exact instructions will depend on the brand, so always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. However, here’s a basic introduction to how to make a cold brew using a dedicated device:

  1. Add six to seven ounces of coarsely grounded coffee to the infuser.
  2. Add 32 ounces of cold water to the pitcher so that it’s three-quarters full.
  3. Place the infuser into the water.
  4. Seal the cold brew maker’s lid, so it’s air-tight.
  5. Store overnight in the refrigerator for steeping.
  6. The cold brew will be ready to pour and serve immediately out of the cold brew maker. There’s no need for straining.

How to Serve Cold Brew Coffee

Cold-brew coffee can be enjoyed plain in an iced glass or in a to-go thermos that preserves the chill. If you want, you can add milk to your cold brew coffee. Want some sweet flavor? Try simple syrup.

You can even add cold foam if you have a cold milk foamer. Another option is to adapt an iced coffee recipe by adding ice cream. This can make a pretty picture for Instagram or Facebook.

Some people prefer to dilute cold brew concentrate batches with water for a smoother taste. In this case, take your glass of ice, fill it halfway with water, and then top it off with cold brew. The ratio of concentrate to water should be one-to-one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got some more queries about cold brew coffee concentrate? These FAQs can help!

Does Cold Brew Coffee Contain More Caffeine?

No. Compared to hot coffee brews, cold brew has less caffeine.

Which Coffee Grind Size Should I Use For Cold Brew?

It would help if you always used coarse grinds when making cold brew coffee. You can read more about the perfect coffee grind size in our coffee grind size chart.

Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee for Cold Brew?

While it’s possible to use regular ground coffee beans for cold brew, it’s not recommended. You’ll likely find that straining out the grounds becomes difficult and will end up with specks in your coffee. Try a slightly coarser grind for better results.

Conclusion: How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

As the above guide makes clear, it’s pretty easy to make cold brew coffee at home. You don’t need to invest in any fancy machinery if you don’t want to. You can easily enjoy your chilled cup of coffee in the morning with minimal effort. Cheers to that!

A Simple Guide to Making Delicious Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Recipe by Lukas Van VyveCourse: Brewing Guides
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 

Ingredients

  • Equipment
  • Kitchen scale

  • Filter to strain your coffee (you can also use a French Press if you have one)

  • Container (gallon bucket, large pitcher, mason jar)

  • Long-handled spoon

  • Coffee grinder

  • Ingredients
  • 4 ounces of ground coffee (use coarsely ground coffee: use this coffee grind chart to figure out the perfect coarseness)

  • 3 cups of cold water

Instructions

  • Gather your equipment and ingredients.
  • Measure out your coffee grounds. You should use about four ounces of ground beans.
  • Pour the grounds into the mason jar.
  • Fill the jar halfway with cold water.
  • Stir the mixture with a long-handled spoon.
  • Fill the mason jar the rest of the way of water.
  • Put the lid on the jar and place it in the fridge.
  • Let the coffee steep for at least 12 hours.
  • Place your fine mesh strainer over a large container.
  • Pour the steeped coffee in, filtering as you pour.
  • Rinse your mason jar.
  • Pour the cold coffee mixture, now free of grounds, back into the mason jar for storage.

Notes

  • You can also use a French Press instead of a mason jar. Just strain the coffee with your French Press after steeping it for 12 hours, and then pour it into a container with lid to store it!

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