How to Make Cold Brew Coffee – a simple and easy method to make delicious and delicate cold brew coffee at home, with no special machines required!
(originally published March 15, 2017; updated June 17, 2018)
Fact: I am not a morning person. I need my caffeine. I need my coffee. It is imperative and basically a necessity if I want to open my eyes and start functioning in any capacity. Pretty sure I started drinking the stuff in about 6th grade and haven’t looked back since. It is one of the great loves of my life. But I have always been zeroed in on hot coffee – you know the normal stuff that you can get anywhere. How have I been completely unaware that there is a sweeter, more gentle and easy-going version of this great love of mine?
Well there is. And his name is Cold Brew.
In case you are as unaware as I have been, Cold Brew coffee is made by brewing roughly ground coffee beans in cold water for a long period of time (think 24 hours). Hot Coffee, the stuff you are probably most accustomed to, is brewed by pouring hot water over finely ground coffee in a very short period of time. Iced Coffee, on the other hand, is simply Hot Coffee poured over ice.
For me, the reason I love Cold Brew is because after years of tossing back Hot Coffee, I have developed a lovely case of acid reflux and about a year and a half ago, I had to cut out my beloved Hot Coffee. I now drink exclusively cold brew. The reason I avoid Hot Coffee is the amount of acidity that is found in it due to the more severe way it is brewed. The hot water going through the fine coffee grounds allows more acidity to be present in the final product. Acidity = hard on your stomach.
Cold Brew is gently brewed in cold water so the amount of acidity is much, much smaller, which means I get drink it and not get sick (yay me)!
It is also an awesome addition to any Whole30, which limits what you can put in your coffee to tame the bitterness (think – creamer). Cold brew is so much less bitter and easier to drink black than hot coffee – I highly recommend cold brew if you are starting a Whole30 and struggling with the whole coffee thing! But I also have this awesome Whole30 Vanilla and Cinnamon Creamer you can try too!
But, for now, here is How to Make Cold Brew Coffee:
Step 1: Roughly ground some fresh coffee beans
This is what your grounds should look like. At then end of all this, you are going to be straining out these beans so you want them to be big enough to get caught in cheesecloth or a clean dish towel.
Step 2: Place grounds in a clean, sterilized container and add water.
Based on my experience, you are looking for 8 cups of water for every cup of grounds, approximately. Obviously, if you want stronger coffee, then add more grounds or weaker coffee, add more water.
Step 3: Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Step 4: Strain coffee – I used a funnel with a couple of pieces of cheesecloth folded on top of it.
I would recommend straining it a couple of times to ensure you get out as much of the grounds and reside as possible. You can store your cold brew in the refrigerator for several weeks and it will be just fine.
Or, serve it right away either as it is or play around with adding any cream or sugar or flavored syrups.
By the way, it tastes amazing.
Here is a little list of what I use to make my cold brew (most or all of it you probably have in your house):
- Some good whole bean coffee (decaf coffee works too you know!)
- A electric coffee grinder
- Mason jars
- Reusable cheesecloth
- Canning funnel
And, you can figure out how you like best : brewed for less than 24 hours or more, increase or decrease grounds to water ratio or grind your coffee beans so they are rough or fine. You will figure out what works best for you and run with it.
And YES you can heat it up!!! I definitely do this a lot, especially during our long Minnesota winters! I also make decaf cold brew all the time!!
Here are a couple storage options if you make it in bigger batches like we do sometimes:
- 1 cup roughly ground coffee beans
- 8 cups filtered water
- Take grounds and place them in a sterilized glass container.
- Add water.
- Place cover on container and let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove and strain coffee beans and residue out by pouring coffee through a strainer and cheesecloth. Repeat 2-3 times or until coffee is fairly clear.
- *remember that you can cut down on the amount of water/grounds ratio to make smaller batches.
- Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for several weeks.