glass of homemade cold brew in front of a glass jar with a spout

How to Make the Best Homemade Cold Brew

With the warmer weather upon us, you need this refreshing and smooth homemade cold brew for your busy mornings. It’s so easy to make and, if you are a serial drinker like me, will save you so much money!

True life—I am addicted to coffee. I can’t remember the last day I didn’t have any. I need it running in my blood! 😂 My caffeine addiction started young. I worked as a barista all throughout high school and some of college. It really was the best job ever! Not only did I get free coffee (major score!), but I also learned some cool skills that I still utilize to this day, like making big batches of cold brew! So, I am going to impart my wisdom to you and teach you how to make the best homemade cold brew.

Cold brew is expensive, y’all. For awhile, I would just buy Stok’s Cold Brew at the grocery store. Simon and I both drink it daily, so we’d end up going through 4-5 bottles a week! And it added up quickly. 😅

I knew we needed to break this expensive habit, so I summoned my barista skills and began making it at home again. I was reminded just how simple and easy it was. The hardest part is waiting 12-18 hours to let it steep. But it’s so worth it. After that, you’ll have delicious cold brew to enjoy all week!

With the warmer weather upon us, drinking an ice cold class of cold brew is so refreshing! Prep a big batch to enjoy on your busy mornings and you’ll save so much time and money!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS HOMEMADE COLD BREW

  • Way more affordable than buying at a coffee shop or pre-packed cold brew.
  • Ready-made for busy mornings! Just pour and go!
  • Makes a HUGE batch!
  • So easy to make. Just let it steep!
  • The perfect boost of caffeine to put some pep in your step!
  • Smooth and oh so refreshing on those warmer summer mornings.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Two large containers – Use one to let the coffee beans + water steep in and the other to drain and filter the cold brew. I used two Rubbermaid Clear 12-Quart Storage Containers.
  • Fine mesh strainer – Helps filter the coffee grounds out. I like this Stainless Steel Colander.
  • Cheesecloth – Ensures no ground coffee is passing through. I like these Cotton Cheesecloths.
  • Ground coffee – A coarsely ground dark roast is best!
  • Water
  • Cold brew container – To store your cold brew. Any container will work. You can use a large one or a couple of small ones. We love using a large plastic storage container with a dispenser for the convenience, like this Glass Single Mason Jar Beverage Drink Dispenser.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE COLD BREW

  1. Pour coffee grounds into a container with water.
  2. Let steep 12-18 hours.
  3. Filter coffee grounds out so you’re just left with cold brew.
  4. Throw it in the fridge, pour yourself a drink, and enjoy!

Yes, it’s THAT EASY! 😊

COLD BREW COFFEE TIPS

  • Use coarse ground coffee – Buy coffee that is labeled as “coarse ground” or have your barista grind your whole coffee beans to a “coarse ground” setting. Dark roast coffees will bring the most flavor, but the coffee ground is more important than the roast. I like to buy dark roast coffee beans from Starbucks while I am at the grocery store and get them freshly ground.
  • Let the cold brew steep for 12-18 hours. I’ve found that this is the sweet spot! You want to make sure the coffee beans have had enough time to extract. But you don’t want them to extract too much. That would make your cold brew more acidic. We want it to taste nice and smooth!
  • Don’t strain every little drop out of the cheese cloth. If you do this, you’ll be squeezing more bitterness and acidity into your cold brew, which you don’t want. Just let gravity do the work for the perfect smooth brew.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

Your average iced coffee is made by cooling down hot drip coffee, but cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee in cold water for at least 12 hours. The result is slightly sweeter and less acidic than regular coffee.

What kind of coffee beans do I need?

Any kind will work, but I would recommend dark roast if you can! We have tried them all and dark roast just makes the best cold brew in our opinion. The roast is less important than the grind. The coffee should be coarsely ground, similar to how you would grind beans for a French press. This allows the coffee to drain better and will produce a smoother, less acidic cold brew.

How long does the cold brew take to make?

My best recommendation is to steep the coffee for 12-18 hours. Some recommend overnight as sufficient. Starbucks steeps their cold brew for 24 hours. Most recommend not steeping longer than 24 hours as this is likely to cause unnecessary bitterness.

If you accidentally steep yours longer (24+ hours), it’s okay. Your concentrate may taste a little more bitter than it would normally. You can just dilute your brew with some extra water.

I let my cold brew sit too long and now it is super strong. Any tips?

You will get the smoothest taste by letting the cold brew steep for for 12-18 hours. But if you accidentally let it sit longer, no worries, just dilute it! Add 2-4 tbsp of water to achieve desired strength. It may still be more slightly more acidic, but by the time you add cream and sugar, you will barely notice.

Yield: 18

Homemade Cold Brew

glass of homemade cold brew with a paper straw

With the warmer weather upon us, you need this refreshing and smooth homemade cold brew for your busy mornings. It’s so easy to make and, if you are a serial drinker like me, will save you so much money!

Prep Time 18 hours
Total Time 18 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground coffee, coarsely ground (16 oz.)
  • 8 quarts cold water (256 oz.)

Instructions


To Make Cold Brew:

  1. In a large container, add the ground coffee. Pour the water overtop and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover with saran wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours. jug of ground coffee beans sitting in water covered with plastic wrap
  2. Line a fine mesh strainer with a cheesecloth and position over another container (or pitcher, just something to pour the filtered cold brew into). Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer allowing all liquid to run through. Do so slowly, allowing gravity to the work. Do not squeeze to get more out, this will make it more acidic. Discard the grounds. jug with a strainer and cheese cloth resting on top
  3. Place the filtered cold brew into a dispenser for serving and place in the fridge. If you don't have a larger dispenser, you can just store the cold brew into whatever container you have.

To Serve:

Add half & half, creamer, or milk, sweetener, and whatever else you usually add to coffee! I like to add 2 Tbsp creamer, Skinny Syrup and liquid stevia. Taste the cold brew. If too strong, add 2-4 Tbsp of cold water to dilute. Add ice and top with whip cream if you're feeling fancy, and enjoy!

Notes

MFP entry: LFF Cold Brew

Nutrition Information

Yield

18

Serving Size

12 oz.

Amount Per Serving Calories 15Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gCarbohydrates 3gProtein 0.7g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and tag me @LaurenFitFoodie! 

8 Comments

    • We went away for 2 weeks and it was still great when we came back! I would say anywhere from 2-4 weeks for best taste.

  1. What is the difference between this and a cold brew concentrate? Do you need to dilute this with water before drinking like you do a concentrate?

    • That is exactly the difference between this and concentrate, this already comes as cold brew so you shouldn’t have to dilute with water. Unless of course it’s too strong, then you can just add a few tablespoons of water to get it to your liking.

  2. I have it “brewing” as we speak! I plan on blending it with ice, almond milk and a scoop of chocolate protein powder for my drive in to work. And of course, regular classic iced coffee as well. I’ll follow up and let you know! 🙂

      • Well, I ended up skipping the blender part, but the combo of protein powder, cold brew, and almond milk was excellent! Thank you for the recipe!

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