Save money this summer by making your own cold brew iced coffee at home! You only need two ingredients, a fridge and some time.
We have now entered the time of year where I make my own cold brew coffee at home. There isn’t really a coffee shop nearby, and we make the rest of our hot coffee at home anyway (we use our Breville espresso machine for lattes), so why spend extra time and money to have someone else make it for me?
There’s a running joke in New England that people here drink iced coffee year round. That’s honestly not even a joke, it’s totally true. It can be -30 with a wind chill of -50 and there are still people making a run to Dunkin Donuts (which makes me sad for a million reasons, but I digress) for a large iced coffee.
And while I’ve been living in New England for about 16 years now (holy crap), I’m still not on the iced-coffee-year-round-bandwagon. Actually, I’m kind of not on the iced coffee bandwagon at all. I very much prefer cold brew coffee, so that’s what I make at home.
Confused about the difference between iced coffee and cold brew coffee? Lots of people are, so don’t feel bad.
What’s the difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee?
First of all, I have to tell you about this tangential story. There’s a little convenience store in town that has a big sign in the window advertising their “ICE COFFEE” and it makes me want to scream every time I see it. It’s iced coffee, with a “d”. I don’t even know what ice coffee would be – coffee in the form of a giant ice cube? An ice cube in the shape of a coffee bean? Ohmygod, it drives me insane.
ANYWAY, enough of my grammar trigger.
The difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee is the process through which it’s made.
- Cold brew coffee is, quite simply, brewed cold. You never heat cold brew coffee and instead use time for the extraction process. Also, its concentrate is twice as caffeinated as regular coffee.
- Iced coffee is brewed as normal coffee, with heat, and then cooled down and poured over ice. To me, it tasted exactly like that, with much less flavor.
Given the option of cold brew or iced, I’ll take cold brew every time.
If you’ve been to Starbucks, just think about the different cold coffee orders you can place there:
- If you order an iced coffee, they give you a plastic cup filled with ice and a straw.
- If you order a cold brew coffee, they also give you a plastic cup filled with ice and a straw.
- If you order a nitro cold brew coffee, they give you a different kind of plastic cup filled only with coffee (no ice) and this crazy wide mouth top.
I don’t have any crazy equipment at home to infuse my coffee with nitrogen, but you better believe I would if I could.
I very much enjoy the foam.
Making cold brew coffee at home isn’t hard, and requires very little effort! As long as you’re planning ahead, it’s easy peasy.
What you need to make cold brew coffee
If you’re a coffee enthusiast, it’s great to have different methods of making coffee at home – especially for when you have guests.
We have our espresso machine that my husband and I use every day, but when my father comes to stay with us we use our coffee grinder and french press. Unfamiliar with coffee grinders? They’re pretty small and you just plug it in, pour in some whole beans, put on the top and pulse the beans. For our cold brew coffee, we want a relatively coarse grind.
After that, you’ll place the grinds in a jar and pour filtered cold water over them.
Give it a stir, cover and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours (overnight is even better).
After it’s been chillin’ in the fridge, you’re going to take it out and strain the coffee grounds out so you’re left with nice smooth coffee.
Never used cheesecloth? Oh, man – you have to invest in a couple. They serve so many different purposes, and for this recipe it makes filtering out the coffee grounds nice and easy. You could use it to make cheese later! Ohhhhh… ricotta. Be still, my heart.
I like to drink mine over ice because I enjoy my cold brew as cold as I can get it.
You can serve yours over ice, and add milk and sugars as you see fit. I like to add a little bit of cashew milk and sometimes a simple syrup, if I’m feeling sweet that day. And I think we all know that my personality can use a little extra sweetness if I can get it.
Keep in mind that cold brew contains more caffeine than iced coffee, so don’t get too crazy with it.
So if you’re sensitive to caffeine, take it easy, friendo.
Here are some breakfast ideas to go with your cold brew coffee:
- Paleo Banana Berry Breakfast Cookies
- The Perfect Banana Bread
- Paleo Cranberry Coffee Cake
- Blueberry Muffin Bread
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
Homemade Cold Brew Coffee
Checklist For Success
- 32 ounce mason jar
- Coffee grinder
- Mesh sieve
- ⅓ cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
- 24 ounces cold filtered water
- Use a coffee grinder to grind beans to a coarse/medium coarse consistency.Coffee grinder | ⅓ cup coffee beans
- Place grounds in glass jar and add cold water.32 ounce mason jar | 24 ounces cold filtered water
- Move to the fridge and let steep for 8 hours at the absolute minimum, but ideally 12 hours.
- Line a fine mesh sieve with a sheet of cheesecloth, folded in half. Place over a medium bowl or large measuring cup and pour in your jar of coffee.Mesh sieve | Cheesecloth
- Make sure your glass jar is cleaned of any remaining coffee grounds, and then pour your strained cold brew back into the clean jar.
- Store in the fridge until ready to use and enjoy!