Cold-brewed coffee may take a while to make, but when you taste how smooth it is without the harsh bitterness, you're going to understand that it is worth the wait! Super easy to make at home, it costs way less than what you would pay for at your local coffee shop. It makes the perfect cup of coffee, whether you enjoy it hot or on ice!
Everyone loves a good cuppa coffee and while I'm not a coffee connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, I do know what I like and dislike in terms of taste.
And one type of coffee I really enjoy is cold-brewed!
What Is Cold-Brewed Coffee?
Cold-brewed coffee is exactly as the name says...you're brewing coffee using cold or room temperature water instead of hot.
Brewing coffee with cold water extracts all that coffee goodness without the bitterness and harshness that can come from using hot water.
Some people like the bitterness and edge they can get from coffee, but I prefer the opposite and you might, too!
How To Make It
Cold-brewed coffee is incredibly easy to make...but it requires some planning and patience. Brewing with hot water means you can be sipping on your coffee within a few minutes. It's instant gratification.
For cold-brew, you have to wait for about a day...but it's worth it!
You will need coarse-ground coffee which you can grind yourself from whole beans, or purchase pre-ground coffee that is meant for French presses. The coffee should look like coarse cornmeal or even a bit more coarse than that is okay. You do not want fine-ground coffee.
Aside from the coffee, all you need water, preferably bottled or filtered. Using bottled or filtered water is common coffee-making practice in general so that you get a "cleaner" flavor.
You can use a French press coffee maker which is a convenient tool because once the coffee is done brewing, all you need to do is press down the plunger to filter out the grounds and pour.
If you don't have a French press, a simple bottle or jar works perfectly. The method is the same but you will have to pour the coffee through cheesecloth to filter out the grounds.
I steep the coffee in the fridge for anywhere from 12-18 hours. If you are steeping at room temperature, I would keep the steeping time to no more than 14 hours. Anything beyond those times will start to bring out the bitterness we are trying to avoid.
Once your coffee is ready, it's time to filter out all the grounds and you've got cold-brewed coffee ready to enjoy!
How to Enjoy Cold-Brewed Coffee
Cold-brewed coffee can pack a punch, so you add water to dilute it or serve it over ice so the ice cubes help dilute it as they melt.
I like to enjoy mine with milk...how much you want to add to yours is personal preference!
If you want to enjoy it hot, simply fill a mug and microwave it to heat it up in a pinch.
To sweeten it, a simple syrup or any liquid sweetener works best so that it incorporates easily into the cold drink.
Cold-brewed coffee costs more from a coffee shop because of the time it takes to brew and they most likely have a limited amount on hand. But you can make your own at home for far less and enjoy it any time you want! Making cold brew is really so simple to make that there is no reason not to try it!
Cold Brewed Coffee
- 4 cups room temperature filtered or bottled water
- 1 cup whole coffee beans, coarsely ground
Simple Syrup (optional):
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
French Press Coffee Maker:
- Add the coarse-ground coffee to a French press coffee maker. Add the filtered water.
- Stir the coffee grounds and water until well mixed.
- Cover French press with plastic wrap. If using the French press lid, make sure the plunger is all the way up. Set coffee aside to brew for 12 hours at room temperature or up to 18 hours in the refrigerator.
- Push French press plunger down to separate the grounds from the coffee. Pour coffee into a bottle and store in the refrigerator until ready to drink. Coffee will be good for 1 week in the fridge.
- Combine coarse-ground coffee and water in a jar. Stir well. Cover with a lid.
- Set coffee aside to brew for 12 hours at room temperature or up to 18 hours in the refrigerator.
- Pour coffee through a cheesecloth-lined funnel or sieve into a bottle. The cheesecloth will filter out any coffee grounds poured from the jar. Store cold-brewed coffee in the refrigerator.
- Boil water in a kettle and measure out the appropriate amount into a bowl.
- Add the sugar and stir continuously until it is completely dissolved and the syrup is clear.
- Set aside to cool. Store in a jar or container in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup of coffee beans = approximately 1 cup coarse ground
- Use whatever type of coffee bean you prefer.
- If you are using coffee that is already ground, make sure it is coarse-ground, also sometimes referred to as a "French press grind".
- Brew your coffee at room temperature for 12-14 hours, in the refrigerator for 16-18 hours. Any longer than those times and your coffee will start to take on bitterness.
- Keep cold-brewed coffee in a bottle in the fridge for about 1 week.
- Serving the cold-brew over ice will dilute it slightly as the ice melts.
- Add milk to your cold-brew for some creaminess and also some dilution.
- To make a stronger coffee concentrate for diluting with ice cubes or milk, increase the ratio of coffee to water, perhaps 2 cups ground coffee to 4 cups water.
This recipe was originally published on November 14th, 2016 and republished September 12th, 2022 with an updated recipe, new photos, and new writing.