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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

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Save money this summer by making your own cold brew iced coffee at home! You only need two ingredients, a fridge and some time.

Cold brew coffee in tall glasses of ice with red and white straws

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.

Cold brew coffee being poured into glass of ice

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.

Cold brew coffee in tall glasses of ice

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.

Water being poured into a mason jar of coffee grounds

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.

Homemade cold brew coffee in mason jar

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.

Homemade cold brew coffee in mason jars

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

  • Whole coffee beans
  • Coffee grinder
  • Glass jars (that hold at least 32 ounces)
  • Mesh sieve
  • Cheesecloth
Coffee grounds in a blade grinder

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.

Homemade cold brew coffee in mason jar

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).

Homemade cold brew coffee in mason jars

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.

Coffee grounds in white cheesecloth

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.

Cold brew coffee being poured into glass of ice

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.

Cold brew coffee in tall glasses of ice with red and white straws

Here are some breakfast ideas to go with your cold brew coffee:

Leaving a comment and star rating is a great (and free) way to support Stress Baking. After you've enjoyed this recipe, click on the stars below and leave a comment to share your experience – thank you!

Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

5 from 2 votes
Save money this summer by making your own cold brew iced coffee at home! You only need two ingredients, a fridge and some time.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours
Servings: 24 ounces

Ingredients
 

Ingredients

  • cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
  • 24 ounces cold filtered water

Instructions

  • Use a coffee grinder to grind beans to a coarse/medium coarse consistency.
    1/3 cup (23 ⅓ g) coffee beans
  • Place grounds in glass jar and add cold water.
    24 ounces (680 ⅖ g) 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.
  • 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!

Video

Notes

Storage: Store in a closed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Serving options: Can be served with or without ice, and your favorite creamers or sweeteners.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 1kcal | Sodium: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.

Recipe created by Leslie Kiszka

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7 Comments

  1. I have been making cold brew coffee for a few years now and a couple years ago I found an amazing pitcher on Amazon for making it. It has a little mesh cone thing that twists into the top of the pitcher. You fill that with the coffee grounds, add the cold filtered water to the pitcher, twist the top onto the pitcher of water, shake it to get things started, and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. It makes really great cold brew coffee and I find it to be a lot simpler than having to strain my coffee afterwards like I used to. This one you just open up the pitcher, toss (or compost) the grounds, and it’s all set. I usually then pour it into another glass pitcher for storage so that I can start another batch right away. Cold brew is just so good though. So smooth and flavorful.

      1. Totally understand that feeling! I just discovered the pastry blender I thought was long gone in our move last year… inside a tupperware container in the back of a cabinet. Apparently Past Leslie thought it was a good idea when packing!

  2. 5 stars
    Okay, I’m one of those people that didn’t know the difference between iced coffee and cold brew! In fairness, it’s so cold here all the time, all I can think about is hot coffee, so I’ve never given it much thought. But after reading this, making cold brew is definitely on my to-do list this summer – even if it is just for that one hot day we have! Haha. Happy Monday Leslie!