Cold Brew Coffee

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

This cold brew coffee recipe is SO easy to make, and it removes much of the acid and bitterness of traditional coffee.


  • 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.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!


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!


Leave a Comment:


  1. Elise Stansel — March 27, 2015 @ 1:12 pm (#)

    I love this! Is it completely necessary to use cheese cloth or could you use a regular coffee filter?

    • Ali — March 27, 2015 @ 5:34 pm (#)

      Hey Elise, you can make it with coffee filters instead, but I would double up on them, since they’re so thin. Just line 2 or 3 of them over a fine mesh sieve. Hope that helps!

  2. Gigi — March 28, 2015 @ 2:27 pm (#)

    I love cold press! Although, I don’t bother diluting it at all and keep it in the fridge so I don’t even bother with ice!

  3. Graham — March 28, 2015 @ 10:39 pm (#)

       I use two fine gauge strainers. What the first strainer doesn’t catch, the second does. Paper filters haven’t worked for me. The liquid just doesn’t pour through for some reason. 

  4. Greta Otteson — March 29, 2015 @ 1:08 am (#)

    Love this post! Thank you :)

  5. Erica — March 30, 2015 @ 12:43 pm (#)

    Thank you for this super easy tutorial, I’m loving my homemade iced coffee these days!

    Question: the recipe says it yields 4 cups concentrate, but after I “brew” it following the recipe it only ends up being about 2.5 cups concentrate. Am I doing something wrong?!


  6. Fresh Ground Coffee in Chicago — May 8, 2015 @ 10:24 am (#)

    Now that it’s finally summer, cold brew coffee is my hero! THanks for the recipe, Ali! 

  7. Matt — May 19, 2015 @ 11:27 am (#)

    I was wondering about your initial coffee grounds to water ratio.  I have been making cold press coffee in a 2 quart glass pitcher and transferring into a half gallon beer growler after the steeping time, but I have been using 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans and 8 cups of water.  I pour it over ice with a little half and half but don’t need to dilute with any water.  Is this essentially the same thing you are doing, or is there a benefit to only using 4 cups of water and diluting it due to it being stronger?

    • Ali — July 6, 2015 @ 10:55 pm (#)

      Ah, good question — same thing! I just make my concentrate a bit stronger so that it takes up less storage room in the refrigerator. :)

  8. Katy — May 22, 2015 @ 7:32 pm (#)

    Hi Ali- I am so intrigued by this idea and I cannot wait to try my own cold brewed coffee! I was also totally blown away to see you mention Quay coffee- when we lived in the Rivermarket we were big time fans of theirs :)

    • Ali — May 22, 2015 @ 10:21 pm (#)

      Thanks, Katy! Yes, I LOVE Quay! That’s cool that you used to live in the Rivermarket!

  9. MontanaKydd — May 24, 2015 @ 5:48 pm (#)

    I also freeze ice cube trays and then as the day goes on…… coffee isn’t diluted. 

    • Ali — May 25, 2015 @ 8:08 am (#)

      Great idea!

  10. Esmat — June 1, 2015 @ 5:33 pm (#)

    First let me thank you for sharing this method, I’m a coffee lover since long years, drank and brewed all types of coffee, from all over the world, American, French, turkish, Greek, Syrian, lebanese, Saudis and Italian, was lucky enough to try different seeds as well. This is the first time i read about cold coffee, and it sounds and smells nice. I will try it … thanks in advance .. cheers :)

    • Ali — June 2, 2015 @ 8:03 am (#)

      Sure, and wow, you’ve done some amazing traveling! : ) Hope you enjoy this method!

  11. Chris — June 9, 2015 @ 9:12 am (#)

    Hi, great article!!
    I’ve heard of cold brew before and always wondered if you had to DRINK it cold or whether it can be heated up after brewing? Would you lose flavour by heating it?
    Cheers, Chris 

    • Hayley — June 9, 2015 @ 8:21 pm (#)

      Hey, Chris! You don’t have to drink it cold, you should be able to reheat it without losing any flavor. Hope you enjoy!

  12. Erica — June 10, 2015 @ 11:15 pm (#)

    Could you also put the coffee grounds into the cheese clothe and it off to make a little bag, and then steep it for 12 hours? That way you could possibly skip the straining step. Maybe my logic is off but I’m just wondering. 

    • Hayley — June 12, 2015 @ 5:40 pm (#)

      Erica, we haven’t tried that, but it sounds like a very reasonable idea! We say go for it, because it seems like it should work! If you try it, definitely let us know.

  13. Aijika — June 17, 2015 @ 11:04 pm (#)

    You make me happy and amaze when i read your post.. haha i taught its very hard to this.. because of you i can do this at home i never go to starbucks :D but i need to master the balancing of taste.. anyway thanks a lot for your recipe

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 17, 2015 @ 11:47 pm (#)

      You’re very welcome, we hope you enjoy it! : )

  14. April Wilcocks — June 23, 2015 @ 6:38 pm (#)

    Hi! I love this – such a beautiful post! I just thought I’d mention a few things about your brewing methods! 1. when you’re cold brewing, you should try using a lid that has some holes, this allows the gases in the coffee to release, which is important to really get that sweetness from the coffee. 2. if you brew in a french press, make sure you pour the coffee into a decanter or a bottle right away, as the coffee will continue brewing (and over-extracting) despite the grounds being in the bottom. Just a couple thoughts! :) At our cafe we cold brew at room temperature – you should try that and see if you like the change of flavour it has!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28, 2015 @ 9:01 pm (#)

      Hey, April! Thank you so much for sharing these awesome tips, we are definitely taking notes! : )

  15. Bob — June 25, 2015 @ 8:11 am (#)

    Love coffee!

  16. Melanie — August 26, 2015 @ 8:01 am (#)

    So good and easy.  Thanks for the recipe!  I feel a new coffee addiction coming on.  A tea towel worked perfectly in place of cheesecloth (I can’t be the only one that hates cheesecloth, right?) and I only diluted the concentrate with about 2 cups of water and its perfectly strong.  Your photos are beautiful by the way :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 26, 2015 @ 11:18 am (#)

      Thanks for sharing Melanie, we’re so glad this worked out well for you! :D

  17. Anne — September 15, 2015 @ 11:39 am (#)

    Many, many years ago, a friend and I discovered this interesting ‘gadget’ for making cold-brewed coffee. Basically it is the same as here, but it filtered through this 2-inch thick fibrous filter. The coffee was decadent. This looks much simpler, but just as tasty. The info on cold coffee also explains why my coffee tastes sweeter after it cools down. I think I will make much of my coffee in this manner from now on. I don’t care if it is cold or hot as it is.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 15, 2015 @ 9:18 pm (#)

      Thanks for sharing with us Anne! :)

  18. Rhi — November 9, 2015 @ 7:14 am (#)

    I just did this last night for the first time with 1 cup of grounds and a gallon of water to mimick my gallon of iced coffee that I would brew each week (using grounds in the keruig and standing in the kitchen for a million years for a few days worth) and it came out great! I’ve heard of cold brewing before but always thought it was way to complicated for me. Thanks for a great post! My new go to!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 9, 2015 @ 8:39 am (#)

      We’re so glad to hear that Rhi, happy to help! :)

  19. Steve Trevor — November 18, 2015 @ 8:19 am (#)

    Your recipe is good, however you are not supposed to stir in the water since you are releasing acid that way. NEVER stir, the coffee grounds will soak up the water gradually without releasing any acid.


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