How to Make Cold Brew at Home

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Learn how to make cold brew at home using coffee grounds with these simple and easy steps. Start your morning right with a glass of homemade iced coffee.

Glass of homemade cold brew iced coffee.

I love my coffee, especially when it’s strong and rich with a bold flavor minus the acidity which, in my mind, detracts from the flavor.

Now for those of you not from ’round here, the South is said to have four seasons: Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and Christmas. Based on this, you can imagine that there are times of the year when iced coffee is relished far more than hot.

If you’ve ever tried to make iced coffee at home, you know that it’s not as easy as pouring coffee over ice. You end up with a watered-down version of coffee which becomes even more watered down and weak when you add milk or sugar. Still, there has to be a better option and I’ve found it: cold brew coffee concentrate. I’ve been making this particular cold brew recipe at home for over two years now, much to the delight of myself and my Mama. 

Cold brew coffee is brewed in cold water on your countertop for a period of about 12 to 15 hours, depending on the strength you prefer. Coffee brewed using this method has significantly less acidity and far more full-bodied flavor than coffee brewed with the traditional hot method. Yep, I actually prefer my homemade cold brew to its coffee shop counterparts.

This concentrate is not just for iced coffees though. You can easily use it to make hot coffee in the morning without the fuss of brewing. This is perfect for those who have problems with traditional coffee being too harsh on their stomachs. Simply mix equal parts concentrate and water (or vary proportions to taste), heat, and go!

Now I’ve certainly convinced you to try cold brew 😉, let’s learn how to make it at home in a few simple and easy steps.

Recipe Ingredients & Equipment

Labeled recipe ingredients and utensils for how to make cold brew at home.

  • Cold brew coffee container (I use a 32-ounce canning jar).
  • Strainer
  • Coffee filters (the largest size of thin basket paper filters you can find).
  • Coffee beans and grinder or pre-ground beans.
  • Large bowl for straining the coffee.

How to Make Cold Brew at Home

Grind coffee beans.

First, you need 1 cup of ground coffee. Go ahead and use pre-ground coffee or grind fresh coffee beans in a coffee grinder like this one, which is my personal preference.

Place coffee grounds in jar.

Place coffee grounds in the jar.

Fill jar with water.

Fill the jar with water.

Leave an inch of headspace at the top of the jar.

I leave about an inch of headspace at the top.

Place lid on jar, give it a shake, and let it brew overnight.

Place the lid on the jar and give it a little shake to make sure all the coffee grounds are wet.

Now just sit the jar on your counter for at least 12 hours.

Place filter-lined strainer over large bowl and pour in half of the cold brew.

Once the time has passed (I usually brew mine at night and strain it in the morning), line your strainer with a large coffee filter and place it over a large bowl. You can also use a colander for this if you prefer.

Pour coffee into strainer slowly.

Pour coffee into the filter and let it strain through a little at a time.

Replace filter about halfway through.

This is after I’ve strained about half of my coffee concentrate. I usually go through two filters when I do this. Throw your first filter away and replace it with a clean one before pouring the remainder of your concentrate.

It will take some time for all of your coffee to strain out. I usually let it sit for about half an hour before pouring the remainder, so it takes me about an hour to have my cold brew coffee concentrate all strained and ready.

Cold brew coffee concentrate strained and ready to make a coffee.

Using this method, a quart-sized jar yields about a pint and a half of concentrate.

Now mixing it up is purely a matter of taste but I am going to show you how I make mine purely as a point of reference.

Four ounces of cold brew coffee concentrate in a glass.

How to Make Homemade Iced Coffee With Cold Brew

Ok, let’s make a homemade iced coffee! I start with four ounces of cold brew concentrate.

Add four ounces of milk to glass.

Then I add four ounces of milk. Use skim milk, whole milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or creamer — whatever cranks your tractor.

Homemade glass of iced coffee, made using homemade cold brew.

Fill with ice cubes and add three packets of Splenda and I’m a happy gal!

Honestly, this beats any iced coffee I’ve ever had away from home. It’s rich, flavorful, and completely decadent.

Instead of Splenda, you might like to add sugar, vanilla syrup, caramel syrup, or even pumpkin syrup when fall hits.

Regular coffee made with homemade cold brew.

To make regular coffee, place equal parts of the cold coffee concentrate and water in a cup and heat. Then add milk and sweetener of your choice.

See how easy it is to make cold brew at home? I hope you enjoy this cold brew recipe and think of me while sipping on your morning coffee 😊.


This cold brew coffee concentrate will easily keep a month or more in your fridge with no change in flavor.

Recipe Notes

  • I prefer to grind my coffee beans fresh but you can certainly use pre-ground coffee. However, if you’re looking to amp up your coffee experience, I strongly suggest buying beans and grinding them fresh before each brewing, be it cold brewing or hot. You’ll find the difference is extraordinary!
  • For best results, use cold filtered water.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use regular ground coffee for cold brew?

Yes, you can use any kind of regular coffee beans to make cold brew concentrate. However, it’s best if they’re coarse ground coffee beans, because finely ground coffee beans (which you typically use for drip coffee) can be a bit sludgy when you strain them. You want your coffee grounds to resemble coarse cornmeal!

What is the ratio of coffee to water for cold brew?

The most common ratio is 1 part coffee to 8 parts water. However, for a lot stronger cold brew, you can do 1 part coffee to 4 parts water.

How long should cold brew steep?

You can steep your cold brew anywhere from 12 to 18 hours. If steeping on the counter, aim for between 12 to 14 hours. If brewing in the fridge, go for 16 to 18 hours.

Why is my cold brew coffee bitter?

Bitter cold brew is usually a result of either steeping for too long or the coffee grounds being too fine.

Check out these other coffee recipes:

Sweet Coffee-Flavored Syrup Recipe & My Favorite Things To Do With Coffee

Mocha Coffee Floats

Gingerbread Spiced Coffee Recipe

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home

Homemade iced coffees made with homemade cold brew.

Homemade Cold Brew

Learn how to make cold brew at home using coffee grounds with these easy steps and start your morning with a glass of homemade iced coffee.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coffee
Servings: 4
Calories: 2.4kcal


  • 1 cup ground coffee


  • Place the ground coffee in the container and fill it with cold water. Cover and let it sit for 12 to 15 hours. Place the strainer over a large bowl and put the coffee filter inside. Slowly pour over about half of the coffee and let it sit until strained. Replace filter and repeat.
    1 cup ground coffee

To make regular coffee

  • Place equal parts of the cold brew coffee concentrate and water in a cup and heat.

To make iced coffee

  • Place equal parts of the cold brew concentrate and milk in a glass. Add ice cubes and sweeten as desired. You may find my preference for iced coffee a bit strong for you, so leave room to add some water to weaken it if need be!


Calories: 2.4kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.

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  1. Very interesting. I gave up trying to do my own at home so I buy the bottled stuff at the grocery store. I couldn’t ever figure out the timeline for the fridge and then some said it was a concentrate and others were like no, just use it like regular. :/ I’m thinking of giving it a go again with this. Trying to figure out the ratio preference scares me though. Right now I do 5 oz of a protein shake for my creamer and then about 8 oz of coffee (but this is from a bottle) so wondering if it would be 4 oz of this, 4 oz of water and then the creamer. Thoughts?

  2. Me and my wife have been enjoying cold brew coffee since you first showed this. We drink about a gallon a week. The mess from filtering it was the only draw back. We found a cold brew filter bag on Amazon and this is like a dream come true for cold brew coffee drinkers. Look up Madesco Labs filters. Works great and less mess.. Thank you for turning us on to this years ago..

  3. Christy,

    If you want a really amazing taste, combine your cold brew with your splenda and unflavored Almond milk. (Cheapest at Wally world, at least where I live) Yumm yumm, and if you want it richer a splash of half and half puts it over the top!

      1. Try it with your own creamer, 2 cups milk, 1 can of condensed milk and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Great!!

  4. Thank you for this! I knew I had seen it here, but had not made in a while, so had to come back for the recipe. Due to congestive heart failure, I’m can only drink decaf–caffeine swells me up with too much edema. I cannot find iced coffee anywhere that is decaf so have to make my own. I knew this recipe of yours was perfect! Thank you so much for giving me this bit of pleasure in my life again! Now, if I could figure out how to have chocolate again (no carob for me), then life would be even better! (chocolate has caffeine 🙁 ).

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