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Are you Team Sweet Tea or Team Cold Brew? Why not both? You’re going to love this refreshing homemade cold brew coffee, and you’ll love the money you save even more!
Okay friends, this is definitely our easiest recipe, so give it a read if this is your first time making cold brew coffee. We’ll go through the equipment you need, the coffee to water ratio, and a few fun ways to serve your brew!
Benefit of Cold Brew
For about 20 years, I had enjoyed making myself a small hot coffee every morning. But starting a couple years ago, I began experiencing a lot of stomach pain shortly after I’d drink my coffee. This was pretty worrisome, but as a coffee lover, I didn’t want to give up my daily cup, so I researched what else I could do.
There were a couple of options: Buy smooth blend coffee beans, or make the coffee with the cold brewing technique. (Or better yet, do both, as I did.) Coffee brewed in cold water will release far less acid from the coffee bean into your drink. And it worked! No more stomach pain.
Remember that iced coffee does not give you this same benefit. Iced coffee is typically hot drip coffee that is chilled and then poured over ice.
Cold Brew Equipment
I tend to have too many things on my counters and in my fridge, so I bought a small 32oz mason jar style cold brew maker. It has a metal mesh coffee filter that inserts into the mouth of the jar. It’s easy to hand wash, and I also pop all the parts in the dishwasher occasionally. These are not too expensive, at around $20 and up, and worth avoiding the hassle of using a cheesecloth or similar method.
I probably would’ve bought a much bigger cold brew coffee maker if I had the space. There are gallon-size glass mason jars with spouts, but I imagine they are pretty heavy and difficult to clean.
I love the idea of this more light-weight gallon-size model below with spigot. This way, you only have to prepare your coffee every several days. It uses the same simple brewing technique with mesh metal filter. And it can just sit on a counter if it doesn’t fit in your fridge. Great if you’re hosting a brunch.
My other piece of equipment is a a hand-held milk frother to mix my coffee into the ice and creamer. And I sometimes use the frother in cream to make a cold foam topping.
You can make a 6 dollar coffee at home for pennies!
Choosing the Right Ground Coffee
You’ll find that there are coarse ground coffee beans specifically for making cold brew. The beans are ground in this manner to keep them contained in the mesh filter. It tends to be a more expensive option, and you don’t need to use this. Just make sure you’re not using a very fine ground variety, as some might escape through the coffee filter. I’ve used “regular” ground coffee, and it works fine in the cold brew maker.
Remember to choose a smooth blend if regular coffee gives you stomach issues. Smooth blend + cold brewing = happy tummy!
How to Make Cold Brew
To make your batch of homemade cold brew, first fill your metal filter with coffee. You’ll want a coffee ratio of 1/4 – 1/2 cup of ground coffee for every 3 cups of water used. I stay on the low side with 1/4 cup of grounds; this is not overly strong but is quite flavorful if you brew it long enough. But you may want to use a 1/2 cup or more if you like your coffee strong or want a caffeine boost! Adjust the amount for your preference.
Fill your mason jar or other container with water, running it through the ground coffee beans. I use tap, but use filtered water if you prefer. Give it a gentle stir to ensure all the ground beans are saturated. Then put the cap on and just let it sit on the counter. Don’t pop it in the fridge; cold temps will slow the brewing. Let it brew at room temperature. It needs to sit for at least 12 hours, or up to 24, at room temp.
Once it’s done brewing, remove the filter and dump the grounds into the trash. Gently rinse off the filter (it’s okay if a small amount of grounds end up in the sink) and put it away. Pour and enjoy your coffee with ice cubes. Leftover coffee can stay on the counter or go into the fridge.
Coffee Ice Cubes
Speaking of strong coffee, if you don’t like your coffee getting watered down as your ice melts, here’s a trick: Make an extra batch of cold brew to pour into your ice cube tray!
Put the coffee ice cubes into your cold brew and it’ll never get watery at the end.
Making a Specialty Coffee
Drinking coffee black or with a little cream and sweeter is always great for any day. I use the shelf-stable non-dairy Coffee Mate that comes in the pump bottle. (I was extremely surprised by how good it is.) But here are a few ideas for all you fancy coffee lovers.
- Replace your cream and sugar with eggnog. This is a wonderful holiday season option. (Works great for hot coffee too!) Be sure to top it with some nutmeg.
- For a Vietnamese style coffee, replace your cream and sweetener with condensed milk. Delicious!
- Make a cold foam topping with a hand-held milk frother. Sprinkle on some cinnamon or pumpkin spice mix for a festive coffee flavor.
- For a weekend treat, add Irish Cream to your black cold brewed coffee. It may be cold, but it’ll still warm you right up in the winter!
I Forgot to Make My Cold Brew, Now What?
Oops, you didn’t start brewing your coffee last night, and now it’s morning and you’re out of luck. This is the WORST. Head over to your local coffee shop.
If you’re not a fan of the 12-hour wait time, you can buy a machine to make your cold brew whenever you want, in about 15 minutes. (It uses a “water tornado” technique, not hot water.)
Or, just keep some spare cold brews on hand. I keep a stash of Fire Department Coffee cans just for this occasion! These are also good for on-the-go.
Cold brew coffee concentrate is another product that can be purchased. You can find it at your local grocery store as an alternative to making your own.
We hope you’ll enjoy our cold brew coffee recipe!
Cold Brew Coffee
- 1 cold brew maker
- 1/2 cup ground coffee somewhat coarsely ground
- 3 cups water
- Pour 1/2 cup (or desired amount) of ground coffee beans into the metal mesh filter of your cold brew maker.
- Insert the filter into the cold brew maker.
- Fill the cold brew maker with cold water. Give it a gentle stir with spoon.
- Let the coffee sit and brew at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
- Remove the coffee filter, dump the grounds into the trash, rinse, and set filter aside for next time.
- Pour the coffee over ice, add any cream and sweetener if desired, and enjoy!