How to make cold brew coffee

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is a delightful alternative to traditional hot-brewed coffee. It is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. The slow brewing process results in a smoother, less acidic, and naturally sweet coffee concentrate that can be diluted and served over ice or mixed with your favorite additives.

History of Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has been around for centuries, with origins dating back to the 1600s in Japan, where it was known as "Kyoto-style coffee." In recent years, it has experienced a surge in popularity worldwide, becoming a favorite among coffee enthusiasts for its refreshing taste and versatility.

Advantages of Making Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Making cold brew coffee at home offers several advantages, such as cost-effectiveness, customization options, and the ability to control the brewing process. Additionally, by preparing cold brew in larger batches, you can have a steady supply of delicious coffee throughout the week without the need for daily brewing.

making cold brew coffee

Necessary Equipment and Ingredients for Cold Brew Coffee

Equipment for Brewing Cold Brew Coffee

To make cold brew coffee, you will need the following equipment:

  • Tiny Potato Cold Brew Coffee OR
  • Coffee grinder: For coarsely grinding the coffee beans.
  • Mason jar or large container: To brew and store the cold brew concentrate.
  • Coffee filter: For straining the coffee grounds.
  • Funnel: To assist in transferring the cold brew to storage containers.
  • Storage containers: To keep the cold brew fresh in the refrigerator.

Quality of Coffee Beans and Water Selection for Cold Brew

The quality of your coffee beans directly impacts the flavor of the cold brew. Opt for freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans. As for the water, use filtered or bottled water to avoid any unwanted flavors.

Optional Additives and Flavorings for Cold Brew

While cold brew coffee is delicious on its own, you can experiment with various additives and flavorings to customize your brew. Some popular options include sugar, milk, cream, flavored syrups, and spices like cinnamon or vanilla.

Step-by-Step Cold Brew Coffee Brewing Process

Step 1: Coarsely Grinding the Coffee Beans

Coarsely grinding the coffee beans is crucial for cold brew because it facilitates a slower extraction process. This prevents over-extraction and bitterness, resulting in a smoother and more balanced coffee concentrate.

Tips for achieving the right consistency

Set your coffee grinder to a coarse setting or use a burr grinder. Aim for a consistency similar to kosher salt, as this ensures optimal extraction during the brewing process.

Step 2: Combining Coffee and Water

The recommended coffee-to-water ratio for cold brew coffee is usually around 1:4 or 1:5, depending on your desired strength. For example, to make one cup of cold brew, combine 1/4 cup of coarsely ground coffee with 1 cup of cold water.

Mixing Techniques and Best Practices for Brewing Cold Brew at Home

Stir the coffee and water mixture gently until all the coffee grounds are fully saturated. Avoid using metal utensils to prevent any potential interaction with the coffee acids.

Step 3: Brewing Time and Temperature

The brewing time for cold brew coffee typically ranges from 12 to 24 hours. Shorter brewing times produce a milder flavor, while longer durations result in a stronger and more concentrated brew.

Factors Influencing the Brewing Temperature

Cold brew is traditionally made using cold or room temperature water. However, if you prefer a quicker brewing process, you can use slightly cool water to speed up extraction slightly.

how to brew cold brew coffee

Cold Brew Coffee Storage and Serving

Proper Cold Brew Storage

Once your cold brew coffee is ready, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Transfer the concentrate to airtight containers to maintain its freshness and prevent any absorption of other odors in the fridge.

Reusable Containers and Their Benefits

Opt for reusable containers made of glass or BPA-free plastic to store your cold brew. Not only is this eco-friendly, but it also ensures that the taste and quality of the coffee concentrate remain uncompromised.

Cold Brew Serving Suggestions and Presentation Ideas

Cold brew coffee can be enjoyed in various ways. You can simply pour it over ice, mix it with water or milk to your preferred strength, or get creative with serving styles. Garnish your cold brew with a slice of orange or a sprig of mint for an extra touch of freshness.

Dilution Options for Serving Stronger Cold Brew

If your cold brew concentrate is too strong for your liking, you can dilute it with equal parts water, milk, or any milk alternative. Adjust the dilution ratio to suit your taste preferences.

Cold Brew Coffee Variations and Recipes

Sometimes, you might want to get wild with your cold brew. We completely understand. Here are a few other cold brew recipes you might enjoy!

Iced Cold Brew Latte Recipe


  • Cold brew concentrate
  • Milk
  • Ice cubes
  • & sweetener (optional)


Combine cold brew concentrate and milk, add ice cubes, and sweeten to taste. Stir well and enjoy a refreshing iced latte.

Customization options for different flavors

Experiment with flavored syrups like caramel or hazelnut, or add a dash of cocoa powder for a mocha twist.

Sweetened Vanilla Cold Brew Recipe


  • Cold brew concentrate
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • & sweetener


Mix cold brew concentrate, milk, vanilla extract, and sweetener in a glass. Stir until well combined and serve over ice.

Using natural sweeteners and their benefits

Opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup for a healthier alternative to refined sugars.

Mocha Cold Brew Frappe Recipe


  • Cold brew concentrate
  • Milk
  • Cocoa powder
  • Sweetener
  • Ice cubes
  • & whipped cream (optional)


Blend cold brew concentrate, milk, cocoa powder, sweetener, and ice cubes until smooth. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Creative ways to enhance the mocha flavor

Experiment with adding a pinch of cinnamon or a drop of peppermint extract for an exciting twist to your mocha frappe.

Common Cold Brew Coffee Issues

Overly Bitter Cold Brew and Potential Causes

If your cold brew turns out too bitter, it might be due to over-extraction or using coffee beans that are too finely ground. Try using coarser coffee grounds and reducing the brewing time.

Weak-Tasting Cold Brew and How to Fix It

A weak-tasting cold brew could result from using too few coffee grounds or brewing for too short a time. Adjust the coffee-to-water ratio or increase the brewing duration to enhance the strength.

Preventing Over-Extraction and Under-Extraction

Achieving the perfect balance of flavor in cold brew can be tricky. Experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios and brewing times to find the ideal combination that suits your taste preferences.

Cold Brew FAQS

What is the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

Cold brew and iced coffee may seem similar, but they are prepared differently, leading to distinct flavor profiles. Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period (12 to 24 hours), resulting in a smoother, less acidic concentrate. On the other hand, iced coffee is brewed using hot water and then chilled over ice, retaining some of the coffee's acidity and bitterness. Cold brew is usually more concentrated and less bitter than iced coffee.

Can I use any type of coffee beans for cold brew?

Yes, you can use a variety of coffee beans for cold brew. However, to achieve the best flavor, opt for freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans. Choose beans with flavor notes that you enjoy, such as chocolaty, nutty, or fruity undertones. Experimenting with different bean varieties can lead to unique cold brew experiences.

How long can I store cold brew concentrate in the refrigerator?

Cold brew concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. To maintain its freshness and flavor, transfer the cold brew to airtight containers after brewing. Keep in mind that the taste may change slightly over time, so it's best to consume it within the recommended storage period.

Can I heat up cold brew to make it hot?

While it is possible to heat up cold brew to make it hot, it might alter the flavor and texture. Cold brew is specifically designed to be enjoyed cold, and heating it can bring out some bitterness. If you prefer a hot coffee drink, it's better to use traditional hot brewing methods with fresh coffee grounds.

My cold brew is too strong. How can I dilute it?

If your cold brew concentrate is too strong for your liking, you can easily dilute it. Mix equal parts cold brew concentrate and water, milk, or any milk alternative of your choice. Adjust the dilution ratio according to your taste preferences until you find the perfect balance of strength and flavor.

Is cold brew coffee less acidic than regular coffee?

Yes, cold brew coffee is generally less acidic than regular hot-brewed coffee. The prolonged steeping process in cold water reduces the extraction of certain compounds that contribute to acidity in coffee. As a result, cold brew is milder and smoother on the palate, making it a preferred option for those sensitive to acidic beverages.

How can I make a large batch of cold brew for a group gathering?

To make a large batch of cold brew for a group gathering, simply scale up the coffee-to-water ratio while maintaining the proportions. For example, if you use 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee with 4 cups of water for a single serving, you can use 4 cups of coffee and 16 cups of water for a larger batch. Brew it in a larger container and extend the steeping time accordingly to ensure even extraction.

Rachel Noall

Rachel Noall

Rachel Noall is one of the founders of Tiny Potato Coffee Company. She spent much of her 20's exploring Europe, and while in Rome for 6 months lived across the alley from the infamous La Casa del Caffè Tazza d'Oro. This kicked off her true love of coffee, it's history, and the routine surrounding the beverage.

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