How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Hubby has been interviewing for a new job that requires him to be at work by 6 am every morning. I accepted a part-time contract position at my old place of employment and have been going through the motions to get started. These are both fantastic opportunities, but our mornings are about to become a lot more chaotic!

I’m not a fan of chaotic mornings, so I love finding ways to save time and improve our efficiency in getting ready. I try to do as much as I can the night before – pick out clothes for the next day, gather items together that we need, get breakfast prepped. However, one of my favorite ways to save time (and money) is by making my own cold brew coffee. Now, cold brew doesn’t save me hours by any means – it’s really just a matter of minutes. But, on rushed mornings, those few minutes can be a lifesaver!

So why cold brew? If you were to make a normal pot of hot coffee and stick it in your fridge, it would be stale within a few hours. The heating process used to extract flavor from the beans also begins to break the oils down. Cold brew is a gentler process and doesn’t damage the oils in the bean. Therefore, it allows flavor to be extracted without creating coffee that will turn stale in your fridge. It tastes just as fresh as the day it is brewed. Cold brewing coffee also reduces the acidity, making it smoother and easier to drink for those who can’t stomach it black. I have become addicted to cold brew because it is easy to make, saves me time, and most importantly – it’s delicious!

Benefits of Homemade Cold Brew

  • Cheaper than buying it pre-made
  • Easy to make
  • Delicious flavor, less acidic, and won’t go stale
  • Saves time!

What You Need to Make Cold Brew

  • Jar or pitcher
  • Coffee filter
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring Cup
  • Funnel
  • Ground coffee beans
  • Filtered water
A picture of the equipment needed to make cold brew: a reusable filter, a bag of coffee, a measuring cup, and a jar

If you don’t have these items on hand, you can also buy a cold brew kit on Amazon, like the ones below. They run between $20 and $30. I’m a huge fan of saving money and using items I already own, but if you find the kits to be easier then definitely go that route!

Coffee Strength

The size of your jar and your preferred coffee strength dictates how much ground coffee you use. I use 2 cups of ground coffee for a half gallon jar because I like my coffee strong. If you like weaker coffee (or if you have a smaller jar), use between 1 and 1 1/2 cups. You can experiment with the strength in future batches. Cold brew is pretty forgiving and since it’s a concentrate, you can adjust the strength when you dilute it as well.

Getting Started

To get started, measure out your favorite ground coffee. Pour your coffee grounds into a jar or pitcher (make sure if using a pitcher that it is one you can put a top on and close). A funnel makes this process easier and results in less wasted coffee grounds, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one – just pour carefully.

Fill the jar with filtered water (filtered water is important as it results in a cleaner tasting coffee). The grounds will naturally float to the top, so gently stir or shake the jar to get the grounds wet. Now comes the hardest part of this whole process. Place the lid back on the jar (if you haven’t already) and set aside for 12-24 hours. Leave the coffee on your counter, not in the fridge. I know it’s hard to wait, but the longer you leave it, the stronger the flavor will be. You can get away with 12 hours, but I prefer the full strength that is achieved after 24 hours – your call.

A half gallon Ball jar filled with coffee grounds and water

24 Hours Later…

Now that 12 to 24 hours have passed, it’s time to filter your coffee. The grounds will have floated to the top of the jar, so give it a good shake to redistribute them. I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t do this, the grounds create a big glob that will splash out during filtration and make a huge mess.

A picture of the same jar with the lid off, showing the coffee grounds that have floated to the surface of the water

If you’re in a hurry (or just impatient) you can get away with filtering once, but I prefer double filtering mine. Doing so removes more of the sediment, though you will still end up with some. To do this, grab a filter and place it over a large bowl. I just hold my filter (it’s reusable, so it has structured sides), but if you are using a paper filter, you may want to place it in a strainer to provide more structure.

Filtering the Cold Brew

Slowly pour the coffee through the strainer into the bowl. Grounds and sediment will settle in the bottom of the filter, so you may need to stir it occasionally or dump them out so coffee can continue filtering through. Once all the liquid has been poured from the jar to the bowl, use a long spoon to scrape the remaining coffee grounds out of the jar (you can throw these away or Google has lots of ideas on how to use them). Do a quick rinse of the jar, making sure all grounds and sediment have been removed. Rinse the filter as well, as you don’t want any remaining sediment to get into your filtered coffee.

Then, place the filter back over the jar and pour the coffee from the bowl to the jar. Do this slowly so as not to spill. The second filtering catches any grounds that may have snuck through the first filtering, but it mainly removes extra sediment. Once the second filtering is complete, your cold brew is done! You can now store it in the fridge for use throughout the week.

A picture of the Ball jar three-quarters full of filtered cold brew coffee

How to Serve Cold Brew Coffee

The completed process results in a cold brew concentrate, so unless you like your coffee EXTRA strong, dilute it with water before drinking. I generally do a 50/50 ratio of cold brew to water. Add your favorite sweetener and creamer, and enjoy!

Cold brew will last between a week and a week and a half in your fridge before turning stale. This makes it an easy and tasty option for those rushed mornings!

Note: Even though it’s referred to as cold brew (due to the process used to extract flavor from the beans), it is also great heated up like a normal cup of coffee. Just pour into a mug with the same ratio of water, heat in the microwave, and enjoy!

A reusable iced drink glass with a plastic straw, filled with ice, cold brew coffee, and cream

If you enjoyed making your own cold brew and want to adventure into the world of roasting your own beans, check out my blog post on that very subject: How to Roast Coffee at Home.

Please note that this post does contain affiliate links. When you use a link on my blog to purchase a product, it doesn’t cost you any more than if you were to go directly to the website in your browser. However, I do receive a small percentage of commission, which helps me keep Head of the Homestead running. Thank you for supporting me and my blogging efforts!

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