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Cold Brew Coffee

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Learn how to make cold brew coffee with this step-by-step video tutorial and recipe!

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.

Cold Brew Recipe | 1-Minute Video

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 measuring cup 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 fine mesh 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!

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Cold Brew Coffee

  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups concentrate 1x


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


  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Serve the coffee over iced, stirring in water to dilute the coffee at a 1:2 or 1:1 concentrate/water ratio.  (Or whatever strength you prefer.  I recommend just adding the water to taste.) Refrigerate the remaining coffee concentrate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

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

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177 comments on “Cold Brew Coffee”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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, 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!

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

  5. 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!

  6. 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 :)

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

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

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

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

  11. 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!

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

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

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 :)

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

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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!!

  25. 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!

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

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

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

  29. 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.

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

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

    • 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.

  32. 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!

    • I do grind my own beans at home, and 500% recommend doing that. The flavor is so much better! :) My last grinder died and I purchased this one at Target on a whim. It works well! Enjoy your coffee! :)

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

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

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

    • Thanks, Allison! And definitely, it’s from Weck Jars — my favorite jar brand!

  37. I use espresso beans. Really delicious.

  38. How long does it keep in the fridge?

    • I recommend no longer than a week, although I know some who keep cold brew in their fridge for up to 1 month.

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

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

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. I am a coffee junkie and love this! Thank you for being unoriginal.

  44. I actually like hot coffee, but I’m cheap, so I do my own version of cold brew. I take a tablespoon of coffee grounds, put it in an empty bottle (old starbucks iced coffee bottle – good to recycle, eh?), fill the bottle up about 3/4 of the way (enough to fill a mug) with hot water from the sink, leave it in the fridge overnight, and strain it into a coffee mug (use one of my wife’s tea strainers), then microwave it for a minute and half, and I’ve just created a good cheap cup of coffee. Presto. You can get a lot of mugs of coffee out of a can of coffee if you’re able to do a little bit of work. And I do actually rinse the old grounds down the dispose-all in the sink. No problems from that, but maybe I should be worried?

  45. I made a double batch of this with Columbian roast from Wegmans. It came out great and was super easy. I let it steep in fridge for 20 hours then strained right from the pitcher through cheesecloth. No sediment or grit at all, naturally sweeter and makes an awesome “coffee milk” lightly sweetened w honey.

    ALSO for the old timey glass milk bottle, Wegmans again comes to the rescue with the Bormioli Rocco brand from Italy for a few dollars each. Great stuff Ali, thank you for the additional way I can enjoy caffeine

  46. I LOVE iced coffee. Even in the middle of winter. And watching milk being poured into a fresh glass is, just magical. I will have to try this cold brew method. 
    I don’t want to clutter up my kitchen, and I’m more of a tea drinker anyway, so I don’t want to buy a coffee maker.  
    This is the perfect way to get my iced coffee fix. I’ve been using Mt. Haagen instant, but have been wanting to adventure into all different varieties of beans. 
    I’ll be checking out your other coffee making tutorials, too!
    (Also, I love your earl grey tea latte. Never thought of adding lavender!)

  47. Actually, I worked for years in a coffee shop that made Cold Brew/Cold Press coffee (long before it became “fashionable” and “hip”), and you’re not limited to coarse ground beans.  You can, in fact, use espresso ground (r drip ground) for Cold Press.  It’s how I do it at home.  It makes for a stronger concentrate.   The only downside, if you can call it that, is that it takes a little long for it to strain.  

    If you want the same strength Cold Brew when using fine ground you can increase the water.  Which is more economical since you’re using few beans and getting more brew.   For drip ground use 1 cup to 5 cups water.   For espresso grounds use 1 cup to 6 cups water.  

    Also, to save money use a good ol’ fashioned coffee filter to strain your Cold Brew instead of cheesecloth.  After a use or two of the cheesecloth it’ll take on the color/smell of the coffee that no matter how well you wash it won’t come out.  It’s a lot more economical to buy a $2.00 pack of 500 coffee filters than it is to repeatedly buy $2.00 cheesecloth.

  48. So i realllly want to try this,  but do not have cheesecloth currently.  Would a paper towel work?  Also,  do you have to grind your own beans or does preground coffee work ok? 

    • Hey Alexandra, I would actually try a dish towel rather than a paper towel. You definitely don’t have to grind your own beans, (I think the coffee tastes fresher and better if you do), but it should still be tasty otherwise! Hope that helps!

  49. Check out a Filtron. I used one back in my barista years a couple decades ago and my father-in-law bought one for me 2 years ago. The design is still exactly the same. It’s the best cold water brewing system. So basic. I make it all year round and in the winter, add hot water to the cold brew concentrate instead…smoothest cup a joe you’ll ever drink.

    • Whoa, I haven’t heard of the Filtron. I’ll definitely check it out. I seem to have a slightly obsession with coffee gear. :)

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

    • 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!