Cold Brew Coffee

June 16, 2014 by Ali

Learn how to make cold brew coffee with this simple cold brew coffee recipe and step-by-step photo tutorial. It is SO easy, and so good!!

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

It’s no secret that my home away from home is my beloved coffee shop next door. My friends and I joke that it’s kind of like our own little “Central Perk” from Friends. Anytime I walk in the door, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll see at least a few friendly faces I know, often many of those fellow entrepreneurs in the neighborhood who hang out there at the same time each day to be pretend “co-workers” and keep each other company and bounce small business ideas off one another while we work. Which I love. I also love the fact that anytime the guys behind the counter see me, they know — whether it’s the hottest day in the middle of July, or if we’re in the midst of a December blizzard — that my “regular” drink order will be the same:

Iced Coffee.

Oh man. I love good coffee, I love it cold.

Most of the time when I go there, I order my favorite iced pour-over coffee. (You can see my tutorial for that here.) But I have also become a mega fan of the other iced coffee option they offer — cold brew coffee. By contrast to traditional iced coffee, which is brewed hot and then served over ice to cool it down, cold brew coffee is brewed entirely with cold or lukewarm water over a longer period of time. And as such, you lose most of the acidity or bitterness that comes with brewing coffee with hot water, resulting in a deliciously smooth, sweet, and bitter-free coffee that tastes fabulous over ice.

Anyway, the guys at the shop had always told me that cold brew coffee was “crazy” easy to make at home. But it wasn’t until the past few months that I finally tried it myself and began tinkering with the proportions I like. And good grief, they were right. It literally takes me 3 total minutes to make an enormous batch, which I can then keep in the fridge and use over the course of a week or so. SO EASY.

Basically, if you love iced coffee, you must give cold brew a try. Here’s my quick tutorial for how to make it like a pro.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

The key to any good coffee is to begin with good beans. Probably obvious, but I can’t stress this enough. Buy your coffee beans fresh (and roasted locally if possible) and buy them whole. Then just before you’re ready to start your cold brew, grind them up to a coarse ground. You don’t want to use finely ground beans for cold brew coffee.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

Then pour your coarsely ground coffee into a large bowl or a French press. Add in your cold water, and stir to combine. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. (I like to make mine in the evening and then have it ready to go in the morning.)

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

Once it has sat for 12 hours and “brewed” in the refrigerator, all you need to do is strain it!

If you made the cold brew in a French press, this part is super easy — just press down the lid to strain the coffee, and then pour it into your serving glasses or a separate (sealed) container to keep in the fridge. (You don’t want to keep the coffee in the French press on top of the old grounds for more than 24 hours.)

If you made it in a bowl, like I did above, just get a separate bowl ready and place a strainer on top of it with a cheesecloth. Pour the coffee and grounds into the cheesecloth and let it sit until the liquid has drained through. Remove the cheesecloth and strainer and serve, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

Sidenote: Don’t forget that your coffee grounds are not good for your garbage disposal. So pop them in the compost, or toss them in the trash. ;)

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

Once your coffee is strained, dilute it with however much water you’d like. I like my coffee pretty strong, so I go for about a 2:1 concentrate/water ratio. Others like the 1:1, or even more water than coffee. It’s totally a matter of personal preference. Of course, feel free to also add in some milk or cream and sweetener. Although, I’d recommend giving it a taste before you add sweetener, because cold brew coffee naturally tastes sweeter than traditional iced coffee.

Then just serve it over ice, and you’re ready to go! So easy, right??

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

Alright, here is the basic recipe, which I also recommend doubling or tripling if you’d like to make a big batch to carry through the rest of the week or serve to a crowd. Or you can also halve it if you’re making a smaller batch.

Cheers, friends!

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

Cold Brew Coffee

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 4 cups concentrate


  • 1 cup coarsely-ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups cold water


Add ground coffee and cold water together in a large bowl. Stir briefly to combine. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (or up to 24 hours).

Then remove the bowl, and place a strainer covered with a cheesecloth in a second bowl. Pour the coffee (and ground) over the strainer, and wait a minute or two until the liquid has filtered through the strainer. Discard the grounds and remove the strainer.

Serve the coffee over iced, stirring in water to dilute the coffee at a 1:3 or 1:2 coffee/water ratio. Refrigerate the remaining coffee concentrate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.


How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: a step-by-step photo tutorial and recipe | #diy

Check out these other coffee tutorials too!

French Press Coffee -- learn how to make perfect French press coffee with this step-by-step tutorial | #howto

French Press Coffee

Coconut Water Iced Coffee -- delicious cold brew coffee is naturally sweetened with the delicious taste and hydrating benefits of coconut water | #vegan #glutenfree

Coconut Water Iced Coffee

How To Make Pour-Over Coffee |

Pour-Over Coffee

DIY Coffee Sugar Scrub | #howto

DIY Coffee Sugar Scrub (the perfect use for leftover coffee grounds!


filed in Drinks/Cocktails

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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59 thoughts on “Cold Brew Coffee

  1. A coworker of mine swears by cold brewing. He keeps it in a bottle in the work fridge & actually heats it in the microwave before drinking. He’s always telling me how much better it is than traditionally brewed coffee. Now that I see how easy it is, I’ll have to give it a try.

    - Jes

  2. I love ice coffee too! I have been making ice cubes with my leftover coffee to use in my coffee drinks so they don’t get watered down.

    - Tracy @ OurSimpleLifeSC

  3. You can pour the coffee concentrate into an ice cube tray to freeze, and have cubes ready when you want them.

    - Liz Olver

  4. I could totally use one of these right now. Looks awesome and I can’t wait to try making some cold brew myself.

    - Justin @ SaltPepperSkillet

  5. How long does it keep in the fridge?

    - Erika

  6. I use espresso beans. Really delicious.

    - Linda

  7. Hey Ali very attractive carafe. By any chance where can I get my hands on that glass carafe with lid?

    - Allison

  8. I just made my first of many batches. It tastes amazing and was super easy. I didn’t have a cheesecloth, so I used a few coffee filters, which took a while but worked just fine.

    Thank you so much for sharing this super easy method. Made my summer!

    - Racheal @ Running with Racheal

  9. This looks great! It’s sitting in my fridge right now :) Quick question though: in the post you say 2:1 concentrate to water ratio, but in the recipe you say the opposite. Should I have more concentrate, or more water, when I prepare iced coffee? Thanks!

    - Danielle

  10. Also, use the cold brewed coffee to make ice cubes. That way you won’t have water downed iced-coffee.

    - Peter

  11. I use a bodum to make my cold brew coffee. Do you grind your own bens at home? All the stores near me have removed the coffee grinder from the coffee section of the stores. What grinder can I purchase that is easily stored and not terribly expensive? LOVE my cold brew coffee!

    - Aunt Charley

  12. What’s the best way to wash the cheesecloth? I haven’t found a good method yet.

    - Tara

    • I actually don’t reuse mine — I just buy inexpensive cheesecloth in bulk. But you can rinse it in the sink by hand, and then wash it in the laundry. Some people don’t like to wash them alongside other clothes, though, so go with whatever feels best to you. OR, you can completely wash it with soap by hand.

      - Ali

  13. I can never drink hot coffee during the summer. This looks perfect!

    - Layla @ Brunch Time Baker

  14. Great explanation. I will make some this weekend. I too like my iced coffee strong. I sometimes ad a shot of espresso to mine. Thanks again.

    - Laura H H Zaraza

  15. My favorite way to take my ice coffee. Cold Brew. The strongest and the best!

    - Nancy Listiawan

  16. That looks great! I usually just add ice to leftover coffee and it’s not that great. I will have to try this method!

    - Carolyn Williams

  17. That’s exactly how we do it too! So so good on hot days! Gorgeous photos, Ali and love the gifs!

    - Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

  18. Can’t wait to give this a try! My current iced coffee is not nearly as good as what I get at the coffee shop :) I do not have a French Press and am interested in getting one. Which one would you recommend? Thanks!

    - Colleen

  19. I was just saying to my husband the other day we need to learn how to make iced coffee. This looks perfect and we will have to give it a try!!

    - Katie | The Surly Housewife

  20. So very lovely! I love cold coffee in the summer. I need to make this soon. psst great tip on coffee grounds being a nono in the disposal psst psst I love sweetened condensed milk in my iced coffee.

    - Sheila

  21. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER!!!!!! YES I AM SHOUTING THIS……I am hooked on this stuff.

    - barb

  22. Everyone is talking and going crazy about cold brew coffee :) I haven’t even tried it!

    - Medeja

  23. I SO need to try this… I love a good iced coffee and it would make me so happy to always have a pitcher in my fridge :)

    - Sues

  24. I don’t like iced coffee but my husband loves the stuff. He has been asking me about cold brew for a while and I had no idea. This was perfect for me.

    - Emily @ Life on Food

  25. Too funny…. I just happened across an article about cold brew coffee yesterday. I really wanted to try it out. Then I see this in my inbox today…. weird.

    - Heather Z

  26. I’ve made this several times and I love this method! Thanks for sharing!

    - Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes

  27. I recently discovered making my own cold-brew coffee as well! I love it so much, and its so easy.

    - Sammi @Sammi Sunshine

  28. I love cold brew coffee. I got a Toddy cold brew system a couple of Christmases ago, but this is an easy, cheap method for sure.

    - Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run

  29. Awesome tutorial. I use a cold brew glass container that has a built in coffee filter (so it’s automatically strained). I can’t rave enough about cold brew, so much better than iced coffee!

    - Matt @ Plating Pixels

  30. DYING over those gifs! This post was lovely and now with the weather getting warmer, I’ve been wanting an easy iced coffee recipe to make at home. Love it!

    - Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen

  31. I’m really excited to try this. :)

    - Amanda

  32. I keep a jug of simple syrup in the fridge all summer, ready to sweeten our iced coffee, since it blends in seamlessly. We love our iced coffee!

    - Mama B @ My Edible Journey

  33. This DOES look crazy easy!! Thanks for the awesome tutorial Ali!

    - taylor @ greens & chocolate

  34. I’ve never tried cold brew coffee (prepared either way). It’s on my list now! And I love the chevron straws too!

    - Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen)

  35. There’s nothing better than a good iced coffee! I’ll definitely be giving this a try this summer! Beautiful tutorial, Ali.

    - Liz Fourez

  36. This is a great post! Cold brew is the best in the summer!!

    - Marie @ Little Kitchie

  37. This is gorgeous!! I’m not a coffee drinker but I think you’ve almost pulled me over to the dark side with your pictures alone :)

    - Cookbook Queen

  38. This is the easiest cold brew tutorial I’ve come across, so far. Thanks for sharing… I can’t wait to give it a try!

    - Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl

  39. FYI when I tried to save this to Ziplist it saved “work with us” not the “Cold Brew Coffee”?

    - ~Bea~

  40. Great blog and now can I ask you where to get a bottle like that? I really need one not for coffee as much but I have been looking on Amazon and everywhere for some bottles that are sealable. Thanks for sharing the coffee too!! I can only drink it iced. Thanks!

    - ~Bea~

    • Bea, check out . They are called juice jars and have three sizes! I’d like to get some myself just for this iced coffee! I live on the stuff during the hot Texas summers!

      - Jackie

  41. I love hearing about your coffee shop, and to know how easy it is to make this cold-brew. I love really good (strong)coffee myself, so this recipe is great to have. Pinning!

    - Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

  42. Hot, cold or even lukewarm, I love coffee too! Crisp and refreshing any way you have it!

    And coffee grounds, like you said, make the best comport ever. Your garden will love you right then.

    - Laura @ Raise Your Garden