How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Pitcher of coffee sitting next to a mug

Nobody wants to drink hot coffee in the summer, but watered down or overly sweetened iced coffee isn't much better. Cold brew, sometimes called cold press coffee, is the only way to have a cold drink and still enjoy a true coffee taste. It's also incredibly simple to make at home. The only special equipment you'll need is a mesh strainer; everything else is probably already in your house.

How to Make Cold Brew

Follow these steps to create your own delicious Cold Brew.

1. Put the Grounds Into a Pitcher

It's important to stick with coarse coffee grounds when making cold brew coffee, as grinding too fine creates some heat, which results in a weaker Cold Brew.

The ratio of coffee grinds to water depends on personal preference. I typically like a volume ratio of around 8:1 but you scale up or down depending on how strong you like your coffee. Following this ratio, if you wanted to brew 8 cups of cold brew, you would use one cup of grinds.

If you have access to a scale, you can use weight instead. This will typically produce a more consistent brew. I recommend starting with a ratio of one ounce of grinds for every cup of water.  

2. Add Water

Add the appropriate amount of water to the pitcher based on the ratio you chose. Start with room temperature water. It will chill later once it's in the fridge.

3. Stir the Grounds In

Make sure the grounds are thoroughly saturated—they will expand somewhat when they have absorbed enough water.

4. Let Sit

Stick the concoction in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

5. Filter Your Coffee

Fit a mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and line the strainer with either a regular paper coffee filter or a cheesecloth. Pour the coffee through to the bottom of the bowl, allowing the stream to move at its own pace (which is generally quite slow) until you reach the solid grounds at the bottom. Do not pour the grounds in.

6. Wash the Pitcher

Wash and dry the pitcher right away, because you're going to be using it again in a minute.

7. Refrigerate 

Pour the cold brew back into your pitcher and stick it in the fridge. You'll want to keep it in the fridge for at least 2 hours and it stays good to drink for up to 5 days.

8. Serve

Cold brew is very strong, so you'll probably want to dilute it with milk (the proportions should be about half and half). You can also sweeten with syrup. Many people top their cold brew with 1-2 ice cubes to keep it cold, but if you don't want to water it down at all you don't have to.

Final Advice

There are few better ways to enjoy a summer morning than with a good cup of cold brew—and it makes a wonderful treat for your guests as well. Once you know how to make it, you can even experiment with flavored coffee beans to make a variety of excellent summer refreshments. And it takes hardly any energy to make.

So why not make your first batch today?


2 comments

  • Hey Jonathan, I recommend starting with a volume ratio of 8:1 water to grinds, or if you have access to a scale, start with one ounce of grinds for every cup of water.

    Julie
  • Do you have a suggested measurement for the grounds?

    Jonathan

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