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.

This post contains affiliate links.

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. Pingback: Just things. |

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  4. Pingback: DIY: COLD BREW COFFEE

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  6. You can make simple syrup which is better than trying to mix sugar in a cold drink as it is hard to dissolve.  1 c sugar, 1 c water…mix in saucepan, bring just to a boil or until dissolved and clear.  Let cool, store in refrigerator in a container.

  7. Thank you for this! I love iced coffee! My favorite use for my use grounds is in my strawberry bed, they love the acidity and if you have neighborhood kitty problems it helps with that as well (they don’t like the grounds on their paws)

    • You’re so welcome Jolene! We hope you enjoy this, and we must say, we’re envious of your strawberry bed! :)

  8. Oo, this looks like fun.  I’m hoping you can lend a hand though. I don’t really drink coffee, as caffeine does not go well with my system,  but I love the Frappuccinos from Starbucks.   What sort of decaffeinated coffee beans would you recommend to try this? 

    • Thanks Rachel — we hope you enjoy it! Any type of good-quality decaf coffee bean would work for this (we like Counter Culture’s “Slow Motion,” Intelligentsia’s “Librarian’s Blend,” or Whole Foods’ brand — Allegro). We hope this helps! :)

  9. Oh my….somehow I missed the part of diluting the end result with additional water? Oh well…that explains a few things. This receipe is delicious and I’ve been given a new reason to get up in the morning – to strain my next batch of cold-brew!! 

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  12. In the article you state “2:1 concentrate/water ratio”, but in the recipe, you state the opposite, “dilute the coffee at a 1:3 or 1:2 coffee/water ratio”.   Which one is correct?  Thanks.

    • Oops, sorry that was a typo! I recommend a 1:1 or 1:2 concentrate-to-water ratio. Just edited the recipe — thanks for catching that!

  13. I’ve been making cold brew for a few years.  If you make it a lot, I highly recommend putting your coffee grinds into reusable bags.  It is sooo much easier and quicker than running the coffee through a filter.  Here are the ones I use ––Cold-Filter/dp/B011A2NZFS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463083230&sr=8-2&keywords=cold+brew+bag

  14. hello!

    i’m definitely going to have to try to make this, been wanting to make cold brew for a while now, lately more then ever. 

    my question though, where did you get that glass jar/bottle that you have in the picture for storing the coffee? the one from the first image (not the mason jar). 

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  18. Just wanted to say that cold brewed coffee is amazing. I was never a hot coffee fan but am now a “coffee achiever”. I use 1/8 cup of coarse ground coffee beans to 1 cup of water. I pour it through my regular coffee pot to strain it after letting it sit in the fridge 12-18 hours. It has one of those fine mesh metal baskets. Good to go!  I don’t add any more water.  Try this recipe, cold brewed coffee is delicious. 

  19. I saw you like yours strong. So as not to water it down make extra and freeze in ice tray to use instead of regular ice.

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  21. If I ever have leftover coffee, I make coffee ice cubes. Instead of ice cubes, I use the coffee ice cube to keep the ice from diluting the iced coffee. Coffee ice cubes also work well in the blender…

  22. Thank you for this recipe. I love the Starbucks coconut cold brew but it’s expensive.   As soon as I saw this recipe I made my own!  Thank you!

  23. I’m not a big coffee drinker so I’m wondering how pot brewed coffee then chilled in the refrigerator is different than cold brew? Is the taste different?

    • Hi Katie! Cold brew is more concentrated, so it’s just stronger and has more flavor. :)

  24. I’ll have to try your method, it would sure save room in my frig. I have been using The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. I don’t refrigerate mine while it’s “brewing” and it has never been a problem. I’m anxious to try course ground coffee now. Through trial and error I have found the Starbucks Pike Place to taste great. Cold brew is also great to take on vacations if one has a refrig in the room, so nice to have it avail anytime you want it!

    • We hope you enjoy it, it’s definitely one of our favorite methods! :)

  25. This sounds so easy! And if you are addicted, it must be great. I’m trying it tomorrow. Will save me tons of money. Thanks!

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  27. 4 stars
    Thanks, I love ice coffee!

  28. 5 stars
    Thanks for this. It’s very easy and convenient. I didnt know that cold brewing resulted in less bitter coffee. I definitely have to try this.

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  31. 4 stars
    Did you know Pampered Chef now makes a cold brew pitcher? This recipe worked perfectly in it, and didn’t need to strain the grounds!! Thank you!

  32. I’ve been making cold brew for years. I use knee high stockings. I wash them in the kitchen, put the coffee in and tie it up. I make sure the coffee has room to spread out some. Cut off the extra hose. When I’m finish brewing just take the bag of coffee out. No straining.

  33. 5 stars
    Made coffee ice cubes. I didnt dilute the recipe at the end of the cold steeping, after straining it. Tastes great as is! Will get steeping pouches for the grounds so I wont need to strain anything. I will suggest Double or Tripling this recipe. 4 cups will not last me long. And It is just myself and my husband using it! I will suggest using Honey to sweeten this, or make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten. I also used Bottled water, not tap water. Made a huge difference in the outcome.

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  37. 5 stars
    I was perfectly happy using my old method of brewing a pot of coffee and letting it cool. Never again!!! I am SHOCKED at the difference this recipe made. The bitter after taste was gone! I’ll never go back to my old way again! Followed directions precisely. And I’m super excited to try different bean varieties! So good!

  38. Nothing beats an ice-cold pour-over coffee on ice with heavy cream.

  39. Where did you get the bottle you have the cold brew in?

  40. Love this recipe. I also make extra and pour in ice cube trays and freeze. It keeps the coffee from being watered down too much from the ice melting in the drink.

  41. Wow!!! This is really awesome.
    Love your recipe.

    Thanks for sharing

  42. Is it possible to use an ordinary coffe filter instead of a cheesecloth?

  43. Thank you for the information.