Cold Brew Coffee Recipe
This cold brew coffee recipe includes easy step-by-step instructions to make smooth, delicious cold brew at home with a french press or cheesecloth!
**This post was originally published in August 2017. The photos, text and recipe have been updated to include the french press method.
Who loves cold brew coffee? I’m hoping that your hand is up!
In years past, whenever the barista asked me if I wanted my coffee iced, I always answered with an emphatic no.
Last year, cold brew coffee singlehandedly changed that. I was hooked on my first sip. 🙂
Cold brew coffee
Cold brew coffee is special because it’s smoother and less acidic than regular coffee.
Serve it over ice with your favorite creamer or as is for the perfect cool, summer pick me up.
What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?
Iced coffee is regular coffee brewed in a coffee maker. Often times the coffee is brewed at double strength to keep the flavor from being diluted as it’s served over ice.
Because it’s brewed at double strength, iced coffee is more acidic and bitter than cold brew, and contains more caffeine.
Cold brew coffee is coarse coffee grounds steeped in cold water, with no coffee machine whatsoever. Normally the coffee is steeped for about 12 hours, or more for stronger coffee.
The cold brew process doesn’t use heat, which produces a coffee concentrate that’s not diluted when you add ice or creamer!
Cold brew is smoother and less acidic than regular coffee, and it’s typically lower in caffeine.
How coarse to grind coffee for cold brew?
Coffee must be coarsely ground for the cold brew process in order to strain it after steeping.
A coarse grind similar to the size of breadcrumbs is generally ideal.
You can also purchase your coffee from a coffee shop and have them grind the beans for cold brew coffee for you!
How to make cold brew coffee
There’s no need to pay those high coffee prices when it’s so easy to make cold brew at home.
The hard part is waiting 12 hours to drink it! 🙂
There are two ways to prepare cold brew — with a french press or with a pitcher and cheesecloth.
French press cold brew
French press cold brew is my preferred method for making cold brew coffee. It’s less messy, and all that’s required is coffee and a french press!
- Place coarsely ground coffee in the bottom of the french press.
- Add water and stir.
- Place the lid over the top and resist the urge to plunge!
- Steep 12 hours at room temp, then plunge.
Cold brew with a pitcher and cheesecloth
While this method is considerably messier, you can make a larger batch and you don’t need any special equipment like a french press.
- Grind up your favorite coffee coarsely — you want the grounds to be large so that they don’t get through your cheesecloth when straining.
- Place the coffee in a large pitcher or pot and add cold, filtered water. A good rule of thumb is 1 cup of coffee per 4 cups water for strong coffee, 6 cups of water for medium, and 8 cups of water for coffee on the weaker side.
- Stir the coffee thoroughly, then cover with plastic wrap and let steep at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
- Remove the plastic and prepare to strain the coffee.
Once the coffee has steeped, get your materials together. You’ll need fine cheesecloth, which I like to fold multiple times to make sure no grounds make it into the cold brew.
- Place folded, fine mesh cheesecloth in a sieve and place over a large measuring cup or bowl.
- Pour the steeped coffee slowly into the cheesecloth lined sieve.
- Wait for the cold brew to drain, leaving coarse grounds behind. Discard or compost the grounds.
- You’ve got yourself some clear, smooth cold brew! If yours looks a little murky or you spy some coffee grounds, simply repeat the first three steps until it’s clear. Normally once or twice does the trick. Chill your cold brew in an air tight container in the fridge and enjoy for up to 2 weeks.
How long does cold brew last?
Your cold brew coffee will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Recipe tips and substitutions
- Enjoy your cold brew coffee over ice with your favorite creamer or non dairy milk. I love mine with coconut or almond milk!
- For stronger cold brew, use 4 cups of water. For weaker cold brew, use 6 cups of water.
- I used an 8 cup french press for this recipe, which fit 1 cup of coffee and 5 cups of water perfectly.
- Save your coffee grounds for composting. They’re great in the garden!
Love coffee? Check out the coffee recipes below:
Vanilla iced coffee by Sunkissed Kitchen
French press method Pitcher - cheesecloth method
French press method
Pitcher - cheesecloth method