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How To Make Cold Brew Coffee: Easy 6 Step Guide (Ratios, Tools & Tips)

Learn how to make cold brew coffee at home without any fancy equipment! Follow this easy recipe for a delicious pick me up.
how to make cold brew coffee

During the summer months, nothing beats a cold and refreshing iced coffee. Once you see how simple this recipe is you’ll be brewing better cold brew than your local coffee house.

It’s also great if you’re on a budget or have a sensitive stomach.

Keep reading to find out how to make cold brew coffee.

What You’ll Need

  • Any large container (mason jar or bowl) or cold brew coffee maker
  • Paper coffee filter, cheesecloth, or a French press
  • Spoon
  • Coffee grinder (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarsely ground coffee beans (decaf coffee can also be used if you prefer less caffeine)
  • 5 cups filtered water

Pro Tip – Freshly ground coffee beans are always recommended but you can use pre-ground coffee beans. You can get your local coffee shop to grind your beans for you if you don’t have a grinder.

Step By Step: How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

This recipe will produce 4 cups or 6 servings of coffee.

Step 1 – Measure Out Your Coffee And Water

When making cold brew coffee a 1:5 ratio of coffee to water is optimal. This ratio will give you a perfect balance of strength and flavors. If you find it is too weak you can adjust this moving forwards.

The easiest way to measure your coffee and water is using a scale. Always make sure you have zeroed your scale once you have placed your container on top for accurate measurements.

Step 2 – Coarsely Grind Your Coffee Beans

You must use an extra-coarse to coarse setting when grinding your coffee beans. They should have the texture of kosher/sea salt or peppercorns. If you are using a cheesecloth the coffee grounds will need to be big enough so they don’t pass through the filter.

With a steeping time of 12-18 hours, extra coarse grind coffee will prevent over-extraction. This is when too much flavor is pulled from the beans and it leaves you with a bitter and overpowering flavor. To find out more check out this guide on how fine to grind your coffee.

Step 3 – Mix The Coffee And Water Together

Pour your coffee grounds into the mason jar or cold brew coffee maker. Add your water using the 1:5 ratio. Stir it or place the lid on your mason jar and give it a shake. Make sure all of the coffee grounds are covered and evenly moist.

Step 4 – Steep And Brew Your Coffee

Place your mason jar or cold brew coffee maker in the fridge with a lid on. Leave to steep for 12-18 hours. You can also steep your coffee at room temperature if it is more convenient.

If your coffee tastes acidic it is under-extracted and you will need to increase the brew time. If your coffee tastes bitter it is over-extracted and you’ll need to decrease the brewing time. You can use the table below to help you troubleshoot.

ExtractionFlavorBrew Time
Under-ExtractedSour/AcidicIncrease
Over-ExtractedBitter/OverpoweringDecrease

Step 5 – Strain Your Coffee Into A Container

Strain your coffee into a cheesecloth over a clean jar or container to capture the filtered coffee. Another method is to drip your coffee through a paper filter. A Chemex is ideal for this and it will leave you with a better-filtered brew. Ensure you pour your coffee slowly so it doesn’t overflow the filter.

If you are using a cold brew coffee maker it will already have a filter so you can pour it straight into a clean container.

Step 6 – Finishing Touches To Enjoy

After straining you’ll be left with a coffee concentrate which will be very strong. So to enjoy your coffee simply add some ice cubes and dilute it with milk or water using a 1:1 ratio. 

You can also use half-and-half or any other milk alternatives you prefer. For extra flavor, you can add sugar or flavored syrups too.

You can store the excess cold brew concentrate in the fridge for up to two weeks!

What Else Can I Do With My Extra Cold Brew?

how to make cold brew coffee 2

If you have some extra cold brew concentrate try some of these ideas:

  • Freeze into ice cubes for an extra caffeine explosion in your cold brew
  • Enjoy as a less acidic hot coffee – Simply pour around 18oz  hot water into your cold brew coffee concentrate
  • Add it to hot cocoa for an instant mocha
  • Add it into your smoothie
  • Create some coffee ice pops to enjoy in the sun!

Pro Tips To Make The Perfect Cold Brew Coffee

  • For best results use freshly roasted and ground coffee beans
  • Always use coarse ground coffee. Your local coffee shop can grind your beans for you if you don’t have a grinder
  • Use coffee beans with a flavor that you enjoy – A dark roast will give you a smoky and chocolate flavor profile. Lighter roasts will be more fruity and floral. The cold brew method doesn’t extract acids and oils well so most people prefer a light or medium roast
  • Use filtered water
  • Steep your coffee in the fridge for at least 12 hours
  • Use a paper filter to strain for a clean brew

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer some of the most common questions on how to make cold brew coffee:

What’s The Difference Between Cold Brew Coffee And Iced Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is brewed using cold water and is steeped for 12-18 hours. It is brewed as a concentrate that can later be used to make iced coffee by diluting it with milk and water. It has a sweeter and smoother taste as it doesn’t extract as many of the oils and acids.

Iced coffee is regular brewed coffee (with hot water) served over ice. Brewing with hot water extracts more of the oils and acids giving your coffee a more bitter and sour taste.

How Long Does Cold Brew Coffee Last?

You can keep cold brew coffee for up to two weeks in the fridge. After this, the taste will start to deteriorate. It is recommended that you consume it within 10 days for maximum flavor.

Is Cold Brew Less Acidic Than Hot Coffee?

Yes, cold brew coffee is less acidic than hot coffee. 

The cold brew method extracts more of the sweet flavors as they are more soluble in cool water. Hot coffee brewing extracts more of the acids and oils which is what makes the coffee bitter.

Does Cold Brew Contain More Caffeine?

No, cold brew does not contain more caffeine than regular coffee.

Cold brewing is an extraction process that creates a strong coffee concentrate. This is then diluted with water and milk to reduce its strength so it works out the same as a regular cup of coffee.

What To Do Next?

Now you know how to make cold brew coffee! Always make sure to use extra-coarse to coarse ground coffee. Check out our guide on how fine you should grind your coffee.

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