Cold Brew Coffee – Easy Iced Coffee Recipe
How to make cold brew coffee at home. This easy cold brew coffee recipe makes the perfect glass of iced coffee!
When it’s warm outside I trade in my usual afternoon mug of hot coffee for a cold, refreshing glass of iced coffee. I used to spend a small fortune running to the coffee shop to get my iced coffee fix in the summer. Then I learned how to make the best cold brew coffee at home.
Homemade cold brew has a smooth, slightly sweet flavor that you’ll love. And you’ll save both time and money when you make your own iced coffee at home!
What is cold brew coffee? Instead of brewing coffee with hot water, to make cold brew coffee you mix together coffee grounds and cold water. Then you let the mixture steep at room temperature or in your refrigerator. After straining out the coffee grounds, you are left with coffee concentrate that you can use to make the best iced coffee at home!
This cold brew coffee recipe makes perfect iced coffee with a deliciously smooth flavor. Cold brew coffee has less bitterness than coffee made with other brewing methods. It’s never watery and you can make your iced coffee as strong as you like it.
Making cold brew coffee is easy and I’ll show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any special equipment, but I’ll share which containers and tools work best for me.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
To make cold brew coffee, you’ll start by combining ground coffee and cold water. Stir the coffee and water together in a mason jar, liquid measuring cup, or other container and then cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
Cold Brew Coffee Ratio
For every 1 cup of water you will want to use 1/4 cup of coffee. You can scale the recipe up to make as much cold brew as you want, so long as you stick to the ratio of 1/4 cup coffee per 1 cup of water.
I usually make my cold brew in quart size mason jars and 3 cups of water plus 3/4 cup coffee grounds fit perfectly in a jar.
You can use whole coffee beans and grind them yourself to a coarse grind or purchase ground coffee. I’ve measured coffee beans both before and after grinding and the volume doesn’t change much with grinding, so use 1/4 cup of coffee per 1 cup water either way.
How long to steep cold brew coffee
Once your coffee and water are well mixed, let the mixture sit for 12-18 hours to allow the coffee to infuse into the water. The ideal time to steep your cold brew is between 14 and 18 hours. This will give you the best cold brew flavor without the bitterness that could come from steeping too long.
You can either steep your cold brew on your counter at room temperature or in your refrigerator.
How to strain cold brew
The last step is to strain the mixture to remove the coffee grounds. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large batter bowl, liquid measuring cup or bowl. It’s easiest if you strain the coffee into a container that is easy to pour from so that you can then transfer it to a storage container. I strain my coffee into this batter bowl.
To catch the coffee grounds, line the strainer with cheesecloth or place a nut milk bag inside. I prefer to use a nut milk bag because it’s inexpensive and I can rinse it out and reuse it again and again. If you fold the top of the bag over it’s easy to get the coffee grounds out and rinse the bag clean.
Storing cold brew
Transfer your strained cold brew to a storage container, such as a large mason jar. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. After a week I find that the flavor starts to degrade and the iced coffee doesn’t taste as good.
How to Serve Cold Brew Iced Coffee
This recipe makes a coffee concentrate. Unless you like really strong coffee, you will probably want to dilute it with water when you serve it. I use about a 1:1 ratio of coffee concentrate to water, sometimes a little more coffee since I like my iced coffee strong.
You can serve your cold brew over ice or even heat it up for a hot cup of coffee. The smooth, less bitter flavor of cold brew makes a perfect cup of hot coffee in the morning! The easiest way to heat cold brew is in the microwave.
Serve your cold brew coffee black or with a splash of milk or cream. Sometimes I’ll stir in cream, a drizzle of honey and a pinch of sea salt for a sweeter iced coffee. It tastes like an iced salted caramel latte!
Tools for making cold brew
It took me some time to find the best containers to make my cold brew. I like to use wide mouth mason jars because they are easy to pour from when it’s time to strain the coffee. You can also put the lid on and gently shake the jar to mix the water and coffee grounds together.
You can fit 3 cups of water in a quart size mason jar, which is perfect for steeping 3/4 cup of ground coffee beans. I usually make double that amount, using two mason jars.
Some of the water will be absorbed by the coffee grounds, so 3 cups of water and 3/4 cup of coffee yields me about 2 cups of coffee concentrate. Remember, you’ll probably want to dilute your coffee concentrate with some water when you serve it.
Another good option is to combine the coffee and water in a large French press or large liquid measuring cup, since both have a spout for pouring.
Tips for making cold brew coffee
- I’ve read that it’s best to use coarsely ground coffee for cold brew. I’ve tested this recipe with both coarsely ground coffee and more finely ground coffee that I purchased at the grocery store. Both make delicious cold brew, so don’t worry if you don’t own a coffee grinder. The most important thing is to use a type of coffee that you really like.
- For the best flavor use filtered water to make your iced coffee.
- You can use decaf coffee or half decaf and half regular in this recipe.
Cold Brew Coffee
- 3/4 cup coffee beans , coarsely ground, or ground coffee (about 2 ounces coffee by weight)
- 3 cups cold water
- Place ground coffee and water in a quart size mason jar or other container. Stir to combine, or seal the lid and shake gently.
- Let the mixture steep for 12-18 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a liquid measuring cup or other container. It is easiest if you strain the coffee into something with a pour spout so that you can transfer it to a mason jar for storage. Line the strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.
- Pour the cold brew through the strainer and let all of the liquid strain through.
- Store cold brew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. To serve, dilute the coffee concentrate to your desired strength. I use equal parts coffee concentrate and water. Serve with half and half or milk, as desired.
- Use filtered water for the best flavor.
- You can use decaf coffee or make half caf by using half regular coffee and half decaf.
- Coffee grounds are not good for your garbage disposal, so either discard them in the trash or compost them.