How to Easily Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

We're not just talking about pouring hot coffee over ice. With our recipes and tips, you can learn how to make cold brew coffee in your own kitchen!

It seems like cold brew coffee is on every cafe menu these days. But because it goes through a longer brewing process (hours versus minutes for regular coffee), the cost is usually higher than your average cup of joe. To save money, start brewing your own cold brew at home. There are plenty of cold brew coffee makers available to help you get started, but it's also easy to brew with tools you probably already have on hand. We'll show you how to make cold brew coffee from the comfort of your home, plus tips for selecting the right beans.

Coffee Cooler
Andy Lyons

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Before you begin making cold brew, you'll need the following materials:

  • Coarsely ground coffee beans
  • Cold water
  • Creamer or milk (optional)
  • 2-qt. pitcher or glass jar
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter

Our base cold brew recipe uses 1 pound coffee (about 1-1/2 cups) and fills a 2-quart container (six 6-ounce servings).

  1. Grind your coffee beans using the extra course setting on your grinder ($80, Sur La Table). Stir your coffee grinds and 6 cups cold water together in your pitcher or jar. Cover (with plastic wrap if you don't have a lid) and let stand at room temperature 12 to 24 hours.
  2. Line a fine-mesh sieve ($25, Crate & Barrel) with a cheesecloth like these made from 100% pure unbleached cotton ($7, Amazon) that filter out all the sediment. Pour coffee into a large bowl or another 2-qt. container.
  3. To serve, pour cold brew coffee over ice with creamer (if desired). Since cold brew is concentrated, dilute it with up to a 1:1 ratio of water or milk/creamer to suit your preference. Store remaining coffee in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Test Kitchen Tip: Ground coffee can be added in any ratio you like for cold brew coffee, but we like to use 1 to 2 Tbsp. coffee per 1/2 cup water.

Choosing the Right Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

When selecting coffee for cold brew, choose a medium-dark roast, also referred to as a full-city roast, after-dinner roast, or a Vienna roast. Beans roasted to this stage have a fuller body and a nutty, chocolaty flavor. African and Central American coffees also work well for cold brew. If you prefer a lighter roast, that's fine, but you might want to increase your steep time to extract the most flavor. Whatever coffee beans you choose, make sure they're fresh.

Buy It: 24 Oz. World Market Costa Rican Tarrazu Coffee Set Of 3 ($30, World Market)

Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Creamer
Andy Lyons

Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew Coffee

Although they are both served cold, the similarities between iced coffee and cold brew stop there. Iced coffee begins with a hot brewed coffee that is poured over ice. Hot-brewing coffee releases the acids from the ground beans, so even served cold, you get the full (sometimes bitter) flavor and aroma. Pouring the hot brew over ice may dilute those robust flavors. Cold-brewing uses time instead of heat to steep the coffee so minimal acids are released. This makes cold brew coffee rich and smooth with a gentle natural sweetness.

Don't just DIY coffee; make your own creamer too! It is cheaper (you probably own all three ingredients already), and you'll know exactly what you're using to flavor your coffee. Start with our classic vanilla flavor or switch it up to one of the delicious variations, including caramel and amaretto.07

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