How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Make delicious cold brew coffee at home with this easy recipe! The end result is smooth coffee that’s flavorful and less acidic than regular coffee. 

As I’m sure many of you know, we are big coffee fans over here and we’ve been cold brew lovers for years… way before Starbucks starting selling it.

We routinely make a batch of cold brew concentrate on Sundays to enjoy throughout the week. It’s an essential part of our Sunday meal prep. 

Glass jar with cold brew and cream mixing into the coffee.

Why is Cold Brew Coffee So Much Better?

  1. It’s lower in acidity – According to a study done by Toddy, cold brew coffee is over 67% less acidic than hot brewed coffee! The acidity of regular coffee can cause heartburn as well as damage to your teeth and the lining of your stomach. The lower acidity of cold brew is also better for keeping your body’s pH levels balanced. I can attest to the fact that regular hot-brewed coffee makes my stomach start grumbling almost immediately and often times it sends me directly to the bathroom. Cold brew coffee doesn’t have this affect.
  2. It’s sweeter and smoother – Because the coffee grounds aren’t exposed to high temps, cold brew coffee usually tastes more flavorful and less bitter. Some people find that they need less sweetener and cream when drinking cold brew, which is great if you’re cutting back on added sugar or watching your calorie intake. I was honestly never a fan of black coffee until we started drinking cold brew. I still add almond milk to cold brew occasionally (this recipe is THE BEST!).
  3. There’s little to no waste – You can use the cold brew concentrate to make a cup of coffee (hot or cold) at the strength you prefer, one cup at a time.  And the concentrate stays good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This works out really well for Isaac and me because he prefers his coffee stronger than I like mine. Previous to making cold brew we would use our regular coffee pot or a french press and usually the coffee was either too strong for me or too weak for him. And we were always making more coffee than we drank so inevitably a lot of brewed coffee went down the drain. Now we rarely, if ever, waste coffee.
  4. You can serve it cold or hot – As I mentioned, you can serve cold brew cold or hot. Obviously, it’s super simple to make iced coffee — just add cold water and ice to the concentrate. For hot coffee, you simply boil water and add it to your cold brew concentrate. It can also be heated in the microwave if you’re in a rush.

Wooden spoon with coffee beans.

So now that you know why cold brew is awesome, let me tell you how to make it. Don’t worry, it’s not hard!

Here’s What You Need

  • coarsely ground coffee beans – if you buy your coffee beans from a coffee shop and don’t have a grinder, you can ask them to grind them for you! If you buy your coffee beans at the store, you can use the self-service area to grind the beans. 
  • cold water – I like to use filtered water for optimal flavor!
  • a large mason jar – any large container will do, I just prefer a large mason jar for storing. 

Cold brew in a mason jar. Coffee beans are around the jar.

Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee for Cold Brew?

I actually wouldn’t recommend using regular ground coffee! You want a course grain so you can easily filter out the coffee grounds. Thinner grounds will seep right through the strainer. Fine grounds could also result in a more bitter concentrate. 

Pyrex glass measuring bowl with cold brew strained from a sieve and cheese cloth with coffee grounds.

How to Serve Cold Brew

After letting your cold brew steep, you’ll strain it and you’ll have cold brew concentrate! I recommend using one part coffee concentrate to four parts water, milk or cream. So I would add 1/4 cup cold brew concentrate with 1 cup of cold water. Isaac likes his coffee a bit stronger, so uses less water.

Like I mentioned earlier, you can serve this warm or cold. If you want  a warm cup of coffee simply add warm water or milk to the concentrate.

Does Cold Brew Have More Caffeine Than Regular Coffee?

Cold brew usually has more caffeine than iced coffee. Iced coffee is just hot brewed coffee poured over ice which results in a watered down coffee. Because cold brew is not diluted, it has more caffeine. Of course, you can control how much water you add to your cup so you can decide how weak or strong you want your cup to be!

Jar of cold brew and jar of milk on a wood board. A glass container with a gold spoon is beside the board.

Storing Cold Brew Concentrate

Make sure you strain the coffee grounds from the concentrate after allowing to steep for 12-24 hours. If you keep the grounds in your coffee, the end result will be stronger and more bitter. 

After straining, store the cold brew concentrate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I like to use a large mason jar!

Glass jar with cold brew, cream, ice cubes and a spoon to mix. Beside the jar is a jar of cold brew and a jar of cream. Coffee beans are on the table.

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If you make this cold brew coffee be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting us know how it turned out for you. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and our readers!

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Jar of cold brew and jar of milk on a wood board. A glass container with a gold spoon is beside the board.

Cold Brew Coffee


Description

Make delicious cold brew coffee at home with this easy recipe! The end result is tasty cold brewed coffee that’s smooth, flavorful and less acidic than regular coffee.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 32 oz large mason jar

Instructions

  1. Add coffee: Pour 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans into a large 32 oz mason jar. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water. Gently stir to ensure all the grounds are wet and then add remaining 1 1/2 cups water. 
  2. Steep: Put the lid on the jar and place in your refrigerator. Allow the coffee to steep for 12 to 24 hours (times may vary). Be aware that the longer it steeps, the stronger your coffee will be.
  3. Strain: After steeping, set your strainer over the large bowl and place a coffee filter, mesh cloth or thin dish towel (that you don’t mind staining) in the strainer. Pour the coffee mixture through the filter to catch the grounds. Rinse your jar out, and transfer the cold coffee back into the jar for storage.
  4. Serve: To serve, add cold brew concentrate and water into a glass with ice. The ratio to use will depend on how strong you like your coffee, but I usually do 4:1 so 1 cup of cold water with ¼ cup cold brew concentrate or 2 cups of cold water and ½ cup cold brew concentrate for a larger glass. Add milk to your liking and enjoy. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup of cold brew without milk
  • Calories: 33
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Fat: 1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
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Recipe rating

    33 comments
    1. Russell Volz
      August 25, 2020 AT 7:23 pm

      I like my coffee hot; real hot. And that’s all fine and dandy in August. But when I look out my kitchen window and see a foot of snow, I’m thinking hot coffee is better than cold brew.

      But as you say, cold brew is smoother and naturally sweeter. I have a dozen different ways of making hot coffee, but my all time favorite is cold brew that’s been heated in the microwave.

      Surprisingly, heated cold brew, is still as smooth and sweet as the cold cold brew.

    2. Allie
      May 18, 2018 AT 10:55 am

      I’m looking to switch to cold brew coffee and I saw you made a peanut butter cold brew, are you able to share how you did that?

    3. Kim Stone
      March 1, 2018 AT 7:49 am

      Cold coffee is something that I really love. I am happy that it is good for my health. Also, thanks a lot for the recipe.

    4. Mastura
      November 8, 2017 AT 8:12 pm

      For those who have acidity problem, I feel somewhat though,cold brew coffee should be the perfect choice. Its smooth and sweet taste really worth of praise.

    5. Mark
      October 18, 2016 AT 1:29 am

      I’m a huge fan of cold brew coffee and gulp down glasses of this black liquid gold throughout the day. I own an Iwaki cold drip coffee brewer which makes an excellent tasting cold brew. You’ve inspired me and on my next batch I’m going to experiment by adding some natural flavors.

    6. thomas bell
      September 6, 2016 AT 10:03 pm

      I really love cold brew coffee! I love any coffee.:)

    7. Alex Mastin
      April 25, 2016 AT 2:48 am

      Great Read Brittany! I’m inspired and keen on trying adding some flavours into my next batch of cold brew!

      The Toddy is great – but you can make cold brew with some of your regular old coffee makers – like the French press, or the Aeropress (not that the latter is regular). I’m sure the Toddy make a darn fine cold brew however.

      Oh and one more reason why cold brew is better – it seems to have a longer lasting ‘pick-me-up’ effect! – every time I drink it, I avoid a caffeine crash.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 25, 2016 AT 2:07 pm

        Totally agree, Alex. The Toddy just makes the process really easy.

    8. Tanya
      April 23, 2016 AT 6:00 pm

      Thanks for this post! Can any coffee be cold brewed? I’m looking on the Lamplighter site and am unclear. TIA!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 24, 2016 AT 8:19 am

        Yes, you can use any type of coffee. Just make sure you either buy it coarse ground or grind it coarsely yourself. 🙂

    9. taramdeal
      May 29, 2015 AT 10:32 am

      I am a HUGE cold brew fan and have made it once with the cheesecloth method, but usually I buy it for simplicity’s sake! I didn’t know they made a cold brewer system!! I think I need to buy one…!!

    10. Traci
      May 28, 2015 AT 10:18 am

      Woohoo! I was just mulling over creating my own cold brew and was just looking around for a good method. After loving regular iced coffee for years, I decided to give the cold brew a try when it came to Starbucks not expecting much, and I couldn’t believe how smooth and sweet it was. Plus, I have not been loving the hot coffee turned iced (too watery/acidic) I’ve been trying to make at home. I think I might be trying this out this weekend. Um, and definitely share that pb cold brew recipe!!

    11. Wendy @ Wholistic Woman
      May 28, 2015 AT 8:54 am

      Timely post! I was just thinking it’s cold brew time. Here’s a tip: Instead of using cheesecloth, pick up a hops sack (we had one laying around because DH is a home brewer) or nut milk bag. I find it a bit less messy.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 28, 2015 AT 9:06 am

        Awesome tip, Wendy! My husband is a home-brewer so we have a bunch of those lying around. 🙂

    12. Sam @ Pursuit of Healthy Happinessa
      May 27, 2015 AT 1:51 pm

      My boyfriend has been searching for a product to make cold brew coffee at home. I’m a coffee lover and I’ve always been curious about cold brewing especially since lately, hot brewed coffee has been tasting more acidic to me. And what?!? I had NO idea you could flavor it! This is awesome! Thanks for the great recommendation:)

    13. amie
      May 27, 2015 AT 1:33 pm

      I am so in love with cold brew! Thanks for this!
      Can I add cinnamon to the mix while I brew, have you ever done that?
      I’ve shared cold brew with many of my Health Coaching clients and they love it, too!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 27, 2015 AT 4:44 pm

        I haven’t tried adding cinnamon but I bet it would work great and taste amazing! Let me know if you try it. 🙂

    14. Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio
      May 27, 2015 AT 12:09 pm

      Love, love, love cold brew!!! Worth the hype!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 27, 2015 AT 12:24 pm

        Agreed. 🙂

    15. Lexi @ Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
      May 27, 2015 AT 10:52 am

      Such a good post!!!!

    16. Janelle @ WhollyHealthy
      May 27, 2015 AT 2:50 am

      I love cold brew but haven’t made it in awhile – definitely need to get back on that!

    17. ellen
      May 27, 2015 AT 12:07 am

      I know y’all have been drinking cold brew for a long time. Can’t believe I have never tried it!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 27, 2015 AT 11:50 am

        Wow, I didn’t realize that you haven’t tried it before?!? We’ll have to give you some to try soon. 🙂

    18. danicaliforniacooks
      May 26, 2015 AT 7:12 pm

      This was really interesting! I’ve never tried cold brew coffee, but now I’ll have to give it a taste test…

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 27, 2015 AT 12:00 pm

        Yes, do it. 🙂

    19. Emma @em-poweredwellness
      May 26, 2015 AT 7:03 pm

      I love cold brewed coffee! I started making it in a tiny French press I had in my dorm room, and today that is still my favorite way to make coffee!

    20. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
      May 26, 2015 AT 3:51 pm

      I didn’t realize there was such a difference with cold brew coffee! I like the idea of being able to prep it and hot coffee is definitely sounding less awesome now that it’s hot out!

    21. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
      May 26, 2015 AT 2:50 pm

      i recently started on a cold coffee train as well and its been wonderful. i didnt know about the lower acidity levels, thanks for sharing that info,

    22. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
      May 26, 2015 AT 2:40 pm

      I do love cold brew! We have made our own in the past, but lately I have been picking it up at Trader Joe’s to save a bit of time on food prep.

    23. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
      May 26, 2015 AT 2:20 pm

      I love cold brew coffee! Really I love any coffee. I need the caffeine! 😉

    24. Jessi Andricks (@househealthy)
      May 26, 2015 AT 2:18 pm

      Cold brew is so delicious – thanks for the tutorial on it! If you are ever in a pinch on the road and they don’t have cold brewed, have you ever tried a “pour over”? It’s a little stronger but is supposed to decrease the acidity without the sludge that a french press has. Just in case 😉
      Also – we visited Lamplighters on a trip to Richmond a few years ago and it was one of my favorite spots. Such good coffee and food!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 27, 2015 AT 11:58 am

        Oh yeah, Isaac has ordered a pour over before, but I don’t think I have. I’ll have to try it sometime.

        Isn’t Lamplighter the best? We love taking friends from out of town there. 🙂

    25. shelly
      May 26, 2015 AT 2:09 pm

      thank you for reminding me how much I love cold brew. I usually only do it in the spring/summer and the weather is finally warming up enough, I think its time to switch!

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