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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Simple steps and instructions for How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at home! Save some money and make your own!
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This recipe is also low carb, low fat, sugar free, keto friendly, and a Trim Healthy Mama FP recipe!
I love coffee, and I am one of those people who like to drink hot coffee all year long. I can drink a cup of coffee even when it is 90 degrees outside. But I did not used to be that way!
When my husband and I first began dating (17 years ago) he liked to drink coffee, but I did not.
However, I soon decided that if I was going to date this guy, I should probably “try” to start liking coffee.
So, I began with baby steps - like mixing half hot chocolate with coffee. Over time I learned to like it.
And in fact, now I drink coffee WAY more than my husband! Funny how things work out like that . . .
My most recent coffee purchase (over a year ago now) was my pour over ceramic coffee dripper and my burr coffee grinder.
Pour over coffee releases a lot of the acidity and gives you a smoother cup, and fresh ground coffee is always the best!
I am hooked, and now I can hardly even drink Keurig coffee any longer. Perhaps I am turning into a coffee snob?
But let’s get to the point - in the summertime, there are times when you just want an iced coffee!
Why Cold Brew?
Cold brew coffee is made with cold water, using coarse coffee grounds. Because there is no hot water involved, and the process is much slower, the coffee tends to be much smoother, and not as bitter.
One of my favorite treats when I am in town during the summer is to go through the drive-through at Starbucks and get an iced coffee with heavy cream (no sweetener).
If you just get the iced coffee it is not too expensive, but if you order their Cold Brew, the cost significantly increases!
I have noticed that you can buy pre-made cold brew concentrate at many grocery stores as well, but it is quite expensive!
So why not just make your own cold brew at home? You will see that with some coffee beans, a mason jar, and cold water, it is so easy to make your own at home!
Mason Jar or French Press?
My sister-in-law, Joanna, is the lovely lady who first told me how to make cold brew coffee at home.
She simply uses a quart mason jar (which I recommend for this method). But I have at times used my french press as well.
However, my french press coffee maker is not very large, so I do not use that method often.
There are many different opinions about exactly how to make cold brew, or what accessories you need to use.
But really, all you need is a mason jar with a lid and either a cheesecloth or a good, sturdy coffee filter. (And of course, water and coffee!)
I just recently received this cold brew pitcher, and my family is thoroughly enjoying the ease of making cold brew! (Just a tip - the coarser the coffee grinds, the better!) It really is SO SIMPLE, so you'll definitely want to put one of these on your wish-list!
Or, if you just want to buy the infuser part to use in any large mouth mason jar, they sell that as well!
How long do you let cold brew “brew?”
That really depends on who you talk to. Some people say to only let it brew for 12 hours. Other people say it should be at LEAST 24 hours.
Really, that is up to you. I let mine brew for somewhere between 12-18 hours. (My sister-in-law told me 12 hours when I first learned about it.)
You definitely should not do any LESS than 12 hours. It needs that amount of time to draw out the flavors from the grounds.
Do you have to make it in the refrigerator?
I have always made my cold brew in the refrigerator, but I’m not certain that you have to. Some people I read after said it was fine to do it at room temperature. However, I have not personally tried that method. (To me that takes away the whole point of the name “Cold” brew.)
If you try it at room temperature, please let me know how it turns out. I would love to know!
How to drink Cold Brew Coffee
Some people drink the cold brew straight up, but others cut it with water. I have heard (unconfirmed) that Starbucks dilutes their concentrate by half with water (since the concentrate is so strong).
I think this is a great thing - and it helps your concentrate to last much longer! I also like to add a splash of half and half or heavy cream to my iced coffee.
I would recommend starting with ¾ cup of your cold brew concentrate, adding ¼ cup of water, then pouring over ice and then adding any other liquids (half and half or heavy cream, almond milk, cashew milk, etc.).
I’m not very big on sweet coffee, but my husband is. I added about two teaspoons of Gentle Sweet to his, and a dash of baking soda (which helps to cut the acidity even further, but has no taste), and he loved it.
You could also add any extracts you want, such as caramel extract, coconut extract, or even butter extract!
This recipe is totally changeable to your own tastes. As written below, this is a calorie free drink. However, adding any creams would of course add calories and perhaps fat.
And if you don’t like the idea of diluting the concentrate, just drink it straight!
So, what do you need for this Cold Brew Coffee?
½ Cup Ground Coffee (you want to coarsely grind it, not a fine grind)
3 ½ Cups Cold, Filtered Water
You may also like my Protein Iced Coffee Recipe!
And be sure to give this Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans recipe a try!
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Cold Brew Coffee
- ½ Cup Coarsely Ground Coffee (you want to coarsely grind it, not a fine grind)
- 3 ½ Cups Cold Filtered Water
- Place ground coffee in a clean quart sized mason jar.
- Add water, and place lid on jar.
- Shake gently, to mix coffee and water.
- Refrigerate overnight, or for 12-18 hours.
- Strain coffee using a sturdy coffee filter or a cheesecloth. (Allow the coffee to slowly strain. Do not squeeze the grounds, as that will release bitterness into your cold brew.)
- Pour strained cold brew into a clean jar and store covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Mix 3/4 cup concentrate with 1/4 cup water and pour over ice.
Former barista and coffee snob here - Starbucks makes their cold brew at room temperature. So you’ve definitely tried it both ways. And their ratio of grounds to water is different, resulting in a more concentrated cold brew that needs that extra dilution that you mentioned (and allowing them to make more servings at a time in a smaller space). I always make cold brew in my French Press, I drink it undiluted, but I don’t make it as concentrated as I used to when I worked there.
Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 Good to know that it can be done at room temperature!
I've made cold brew coffee in a gallon jar at room temperature for years. I usually leave it on the counter for about 24 hours, strain it with a coffee filter and put it in the fridge. I put the grounds directly into the water and shake occasionally to stir. I may just buy that infuser you have a link for, that makes it a bit easier. When I want hot coffee I heat it in my stainless kettle, if I want a cold brew or any other coffee drink I use it for that. It is so much less bitter and always at the ready when I want a coffee drink. I love it.
That sounds great! I want that infuser now, too!
Do you have instructions for making a gallon at a time? Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!
Hi Linda! If you wanted to make an entire gallon you can just quadruple the recipe above. 🙂
Hi Sarah! A big thank you for sharing this cold brew recipe, your buffalo wing recipe, and 2 minute truffle recipe (THM Table cookbook). I love them all, (although I cannot go without the truffles 😉 I will definitely use your affiliate links when I place futureTHM orders as a payback!
Thank you so much, Jill! I am so happy you are enjoying the recipes!
I would love to try this but only have fine grind coffee. Please explain why this shouldn't be used. Thank you. I love many of your recipes!
Hi Katie! You can use fine ground coffee, but it takes a lot longer for the coffee to drain with the fine grounds.
Our family has made cold brew for years. We always brew it at room temperature. 12 hours we drink straight. 24 hours need to be diluted. We prefer it as it is so smooth and not bitter. Dark bold coffee gives the best results. Course ground does not need to brew as long and is easier to strain. Do not waste your money on flavored grounds as all the ones we tried imparted little to no flavor. Better to add extracts afterwards. Once made we keep it in the frig. I always drink mine over ice as I do not like hot drinks. However my husband always heats his before drinking and prefers this hot coffee taste to the bitterness of regular hot brewed coffee.
I drink cold brew coffee everyday. I add the Keto chocolate collagen or Salted caramel and mix it up in my blender. I add the Stevia flavored drops. Yum. Thank you.
I have been drinking cold brewed coffee for over 25 years. I had friends who would make different flavors of cold brew, keep them in glass jars in the refrigerator and add 2 shots of cold brew to 8 ounces of hot water for the perfect cup of coffee. I have been doing this for a long time, but when I moved in with my mother-in-law to take care of her, she doesn't drink that much coffee, so I stopped. I think I will start up again.
Thank you Sarah! Mine is in frig now. It will be done at 11:00 AM tomorrow...can't wait t try it. I love Cold Brew so it'll be nice to make it at home! Thank you so much for sharing!
I learned about this from Pioneer Woman years ago, and make my brew in a 2 quart glass container with about 1/2 c of ground coffee. I used to strain the grounds after it had "brewed" , but was a bit tired of the tediousness that sometimes that entailed. About a year ago, I started dividing the coffee into 2 coffee filters, clipping with a plastic clip and just letting that sit in the water to brew. I always brew for about 24 hrs, pour it into another container, then drink without dilution. I did learn that if it's left out on the counter more than 24 hrs, I would notice a slimy film on the top of the brew. If I brew it in the fridge, that film doesn't develop even if I don't get to it until after 24 hrs.
That is awesome! I'll have to try that trick!
I LOVE this recipe!! I feel like I am having fancy drive through coffee right here at home!! So wonderful on a hot summer day! I have even added my mct oil and collagen perfect! I finally tried the baking soda too, love it! I will be using this trick on my hot coffee as well!
I have not been adding water, not sure if I am just very caffiene tolerant or if I am not letting mine brew long enough but either way, I love this recipe!! Thanks for another favorite Sara
You're welcome, Tasha! So glad you tried the baking soda, too!
This with a tablespoon of your sweetened condensed milk recipe and vanilla extract is awesome anytime of the morning. I don't know what fuel that makes it but it is BETTER than Starbucks. 🙂 (and you are right, a whole whole lot cheaper)
It would be an S fuel - and sounds amazing!