Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

How to make cold brew coffee

“Police work wouldn’t be possible without coffee,” Wallander said.
“No work would be possible without coffee.”
They pondered the importance of coffee in silence.
-Henning Mankell, One Step Behind

For many people (ok, ok, including me), coffee is a favorite morning drink. For me, it has never been about the caffeine, as I like decaf just as much… I just enjoy the aroma and taste of coffee.

I don’t drink it every morning, but when I do, I typically drink it straight out of my favorite french press and blended with some butter, coconut oil and vanilla. Other days, I blend this same concoction into a tea of some kind or just enjoy some plain herbal tea.

Really, there are endless ways to drink coffee…just please- don’t drink the kind that comes in the coffee pods!

Lately, while I’ve been waiting for our weather to realize that it is actually Fall and not still Summer, I’ve been experimenting with cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee is a huge step up from the iced coffee served in most coffee shops where hot coffee is poured over ice until cold and diluted.

Cold brew coffee, as the name suggests, actually brews the coffee cold, resulting in a less bitter and more aromatic cold coffee. Cold brew coffee is naturally slightly sweeter and incredibly easy to make.

Some people (like my dad) are coffee purists and would never even consider drinking it cold, but if you aren’t part of that group, give cold brew a try!

The only downside to this method is the time it takes (about 12 hours), but with a little advanced planning, you can brew coffee in your sleep (yay for multi-tasking!).

How to make cold brew coffee

9 votes


How to Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is a method of brewing that uses cold water for the entire process, yielding a less bitter and more aromatic finished product that is not diluted with ice.



  1. Place the coffee and water in a bowl or pitcher and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and put the bowl/pitcher in the fridge (I use a pitcher like this one that comes with a cover).
  3. Leave for at least 12 hours, or as much as 24.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter (this process will be slow). I strain into a jar and pour a little at a time as I do something else in the kitchen.
  5. This produces a coffee concentrate that can be diluted with water or milk to get the desired taste.

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What’s your favorite type of coffee? Ever tried it cold brewed?

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Reader Comments

  1. I keep the cold brewed coffee on hand all summer and the make my own cacao syrup for cold brew iced mochas! Y U M

    • That sounds good. Would you mind sharing the recipe for the cacao syrup?

    • Can I get your cacao syrup recipe?

      • Try honey and cocoa powder or cacao powder and cook on low in small pot stirring frequently. Dilute with a little milk if needed.

  2. This recipe uses an excessive amount of coffee in a 2:1 ratio of water to ground coffee. Can’t we do better than that? I will try with a little more dilute, but longer soak time.

    • Love* iced coffee, especially the smooth, well-rounded cold-brew variety. Bonus to having it be a concentrate is it’s more versatile once brewed – I love using the concentrate as espresso as a basis for other drinks or smoothies. But it’s not everyone’s cup of… I won’t finish that pun.

      If concentrate isn’t for you, maybe try 1:4 and adjust from there to 1:8 or more based on your results and preferences. A colleague makes a big batch for the office using 1lb coffee and 2 gallons of water, and it turns out really well, and it’s the drinkable strength, rather than the concentrate. The steep time is about the same at 12-24 hours (I think it turned out fine at 48 hours too…). I think this is roughly a 1:8 ratio.

      Mary, you’ll have to let us know what you try and how you like it!

      • I’m curious what she’s using to strain the grounds out cuz I bet that’d take a bit of time!

        • Katie mentions lining a strainer whith a coffee filter. I personally like to run it through a strainer to get most of the grounds out and then strain that with a tea towel – seems to be a nice balance of quick (relatively speaking) and effective. Only downside is that you have to clean the tea towel afterwards, so maybe not a real time saver (works for me though!).

          I’ve had friends just use their french press with the appropriate proportions. Tasted great but I couldn’t replicate the results.

          Just some ideas!

        • I find that if I pour nice and slow from my french press or from a large pitcher I don’t have any grounds to worry about straining.

        • I’ve used my nut milk bag a couple of times with results that I’m happy with. 🙂

  3. That sounds really good, I would brew it with cinnamon sticks and mint leaves, maybe add a bit of Jamaican Wray and Nephews white rum.

    Generally I like my coffee hot with Cinnamon, a touch of sea salt, Virgin coconut oil,Black strap Molasses, honey, a pinch of Cayanne pepper and a bit of Macha and organic chocolate powder.
    I mix all the ingridents together in my favoriite mug, with a little hot water and mix into a paste, then add more hot water and coconut or rice milk and microwave til frothy. Yummy and a good kick start to your day.

    • So many ideas, so little time… I’ll have to try your cinnamon/mint combo!

  4. I love very mild organic decaf coffee once in a while as a real treat. But its expensive for a small bag. This cold press sounds ideal for a mild coffee, but you do I really need to use 2 cups of organic decaf coffee grounds with just 4 cups of water? How long does this cold press coffee remain fresh in your fridge? Could you freeze it to help make it last longer?
    Thank you!

    • That just makes a strong concentrate, you could absolutely do less and if leaving to cold brew for 24 hours, could even do a ratio of about 1/2 cup to as much as 3-4 cups of water, depending on how strong you like it…

      • I’m eager to try this, thank you for sharing! Since a have a glass pitcher with removable infusion fruit insert, I was thinking of using it, but I’m curious if this coffee concentrate stains the pitcher or leaves coffee lingering in the container. What do you use to clean the container or do you use it as a dedicated pitcher for this? TIA

  5. This is also known as acid free coffee and can help to allow the villi to suffer less damage from coffee consumption, according to Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods. The liquid is a concentrate, you add two tablespoons of cold concentrate to a cup of hot water to make a regular coffee. We are just starting to harvest our coffee here, and this gives me a push to make some acid free coffee from our first roast if the season. Thank you.

  6. Thanks for posting, Katie! Love me some cold brew 🙂 Like almost every variation I’ve tried, but my favorite is still something like a mocha – a bit cocoa or chocolate and heavy cream, maybe a bit of cinnamon and cayenne thrown in for kick. For fun, layered presentation, slowly add the cream after the coffee and ice (and cocoa or any sweeteners you use).

  7. This sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to try it tomorrow. Thanks.

  8. I know its a cold “brew” but once its complete can you heat it back up on the stove and still receive the benefits?
    Also, do you add the butter/oil to cold brew if you’re drinking it cold? Or is that just for warm coffee?
    Thank you!

  9. I love making cold brew coffee in the summer. Just add a splash of coconut milk and I am set for the day!

  10. I read all your post wellness mama, you’re awesome!
    If coffee beans act like a seed, should they be soaked or sprouted to remove phytic acid? Also, is there a link to the coffee brand you prefer? I always trust your reccomendations 🙂

  11. What a fun idea! I also love Mark’s suggestion of adding the concentrate to warm water and the fact that it’s a low acid option. I’ll definitely try this!

  12. I cold brew my coffee in the French Press and store in a mason jar. When ready to use I add my concentrate to hot water. I also use the concentrate/water consistency and whip my butter, coconut oil or heavy cream in the French Press.

  13. Hi Katie,
    I love coffee! I’ve been meaning to try cold brew for some time now because everyone keeps raving about how delicious it is. Do you have a particular kind of coffee that you swear by?

  14. I have fixed coffee this way for years, but with a longer soak time. I fill a gallon glass jar with about 12ounces ground coffee, fill with water. Put lid on, let sit on counter for three days, then strain out grounds. Keep extract refrigerated or freeze in ice cube trays. To use, put two tablespoons ( or to taste) of extract in cup, add boiling water. Tastes great, gets an appliance off the counter!

  15. I have been a fan of ice coffee in the summer but struggled with it being too diluted by the ice. So for a while I froze leftover coffee … then that got to be too much so I gave up on this.
    This summer my sister introduced me to this cold brew method, she has a system that was made specifically for this… the best part is the low acid, nice clear coffee taste which is far superior to even my french press I think. It is nice to know that I don’t need to purchase and store the ‘special’ cold brew coffee equipment to make this on my own. Thank you Katie

    What coffee do you recommend?

    • -Get a toddy
      -Use coarsely ground Ruta Maya dark roast coffee beans (they are shade-grown in Mexico and organic)
      -insert plug and filter into bottom of toddy
      -fill toddy with 1 cup of water, add 6oz of grounds, add 3 more cups of water, now use the back of a spoon to get all the ground wet
      -wait 5-10 minutes
      -add 6oz more of grounds, then 3 more cups of water… repeat damping process with spoon
      -let sit for 12 to 24 hours
      You are welcome for my secret!

  16. Thank you for this post! I was all set to “correct” you when you said to hot brew the coffee then add ice…..I have recently found a wonderful, organic coffee shop just around the corner from where I work. They get organic beans, and roast them themselves. The teas and juices are also all organic, as is there whole line of foods, some are even made with aquaponics from the store behind them! They told me that you should NEVER make an iced coffee or cold coffee drink with hot brewed coffee, but rather, like you say here, use a cold brew.
    I also would like to eventually get one of their cold brew containers, an hourglass shaped glass carafe that you put a filter in.

  17. Help Please,
    I’ve made this coffee three times now and I do believe its milder and less bitter. However, it does not seem very concentrate to me, hence wasteful. I still need to use half a coffee mug of the cold brew to give me the flavor I like.
    Am I doing something wrong? I use 2 cups organic decaf coffee to 4 cups water. I’ve let it sit in fridge, outside in sun and over 24 hours with the same results.
    Thank you

  18. Love this! Just made it and it worked great! I am wondering though, what is the two tablespoons of concentrate’s equivalent to espresso shots. I would love to try making frappuccinos and such with it. Thanks!

  19. I used 4 cups of water but only got about 2.5 cups of concentrate out. Is that just the way it goes? Coffee grinds absorb water?

  20. I love adding cardamon and anise star ground up to my cold brew! I bet the chili flavoring is nice too, I’ll have to try it.

  21. Don’t know if I would try this method of making coffee, but I just do a drip brew of really strong coffee, and put it into a pitcher with half stevia and half honey or muscovado sugar. I make it really concentrated. Then when I want iced coffee, I just pour some over ice and top with some milk, half and half or coconut milk. Viola, iced coffee! I have also been roasting my own coffee beans. While I’m certainly no “master coffee roaster”, the coffee is AMAZING because when you roast it yourself, it’s so dang FRESH!! I can get all different varieties for about $5.50-7.50 a pound, and I love experimenting with different “roasts”. Truly customized coffee!! AND….I’m roasting it in an old popcorn popper!! Love it!! My garage smells like Maxwell House!!