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.
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
- Cold brew coffee container (I use a 32-ounce canning jar).
- 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
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 the jar.
Fill the jar with water.
I leave about an inch of headspace at the top.
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.
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 the filter and let it strain through a little at a time.
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.
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.
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.
Then I add four ounces of milk. Use skim milk, whole milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or creamer — whatever cranks your tractor.
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.
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.
- 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.
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 , 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
Gingerbread Spiced Coffee Recipe
Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home
- 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!
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.
What a wonderful and money saving idea Christy! You are the best!
I started this Saturday night and it has already come in handy! I was disappointed at first that it didn’t seem to make a lot, but I quickly realized that it was very strong! I overslept this morning and didn’t have time to leisurely sip a cup of coffee before leaving so I poured a mug 1/3 full of the concentrate and took it to work. I filled it up the rest of the way with water when I got there. Two minutes in the microwave, a container of creamer, and a Splenda packet, and I had a yummy morning coffee fix! Thanks, Christy!
I can already tell…this recipe will definitely crank my tractor!!
Kristy, I love this! I’ve been stopping by McDonald’s regularly for their iced coffee. I’m trying this at home now!! Thanks, girlfriend.
Bless you for coming up with this recipe.I love iced coffee and have often ended up with watered down coffee.Thank you,thank you.
P.S I have already made up a batch!
I have been using the TODDY system for years and love it. I lost the stopper and was going to order a new one this week but I think I will save that money and do it your way. Thanks for sharing. I have always used the concentrate for hot coffee. Thanks a million for the recipe for the cold coffee. I wouldn’t know how to act if I didn’t receive the awesome e-mails from you weekly! Keep them coming!
I just made my first batch overnight and I’m sipping the first cup…WOW! No more McD’s drive-thru iced coffee for me…I can make my own thanks to you Christy! Great, easy tutorial as always! I’ll need to try the decaf version b/c ‘caffein overload’ will be a problem for me! Thank you so much for this great recipe!