Warmer weather has arrived and we’re officially in iced coffee mode! But here’s the thing: The very best iced coffee drinks are made from cold brew, which is less acidic and much more flavorful than a hot cup of coffee cooled down with ice (blech!). As good as cold brewed coffee is, the best store-bought cold brew coffee brands are pricey, which is why I make mine at home.
Here’s how to make cold brew coffee at home in five easy steps so that you can save money and drink the tastiest iced coffee around, whether over ice with a splash of milk or made into one of these delicious iced coffee drinks.
When I say that making cold brew is easy, I am not speaking in hyperbole. I hate when a recipe for parents claims to make life easier because it’s make-ahead, but then the actual cooking part requires a ton of time and effort. This “recipe” is easy on the consumption AND the production end. Making cold brew is easy from the get-go and, once made, you have cold coffee at the ready any time you want it.
So, are you ready to have delicious, flavorful cold brew coffee waiting in your fridge for you every morning? Here we go:
How to make cold brew: Grind ’em baby!
Step 1. Coarsely grind a bunch of coffee beans.
Coarse is the way to go with cold brew coffee. If the coffee beans are ground fine, the coffee comes out cloudy. If this is your first time, start by making 1 cup of coffee grinds and adjust the amount up or down the next time.
How to make cold brew: Add water.
Step 2. Mix coffee grinds with water using a 1-to-4 ratio.
You can do this step in any large bowl or container; you do not need a French press.
If you’ve made 1 cup of coffee grinds, as I suggested above, mix it with 4 cups of water. Otherwise, multiply the number of cups of coffee grinds you plan on using by 4 to get the number of cups of water you should use. If you find that this yields a coffee that’s too strong for your taste, reduce the amount of coffee grinds per cup of water to 3/4 cup next time. If you want stronger coffee, up the amount of coffee grinds instead. Also note that you can make tons of cold brew at a time since it stays good in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
How to make cold brew: Let it steep.
Step 3. Walk away for 12-24 hours.
Let your coffee-water mixture sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. You can simply cover the bowl with cheesecloth (which you’ll use in the next step), but know that your house will smell strongly of coffee. If you’d rather not deal with that, use plastic wrap instead or steep your coffee in a large container that comes with a lid.
How to make cold brew: Strain it good.
Step 4: Strain the coffee.
Place cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve, then place the sieve over a large container. Strain the water-coffee mixture.
Related: A comprehensive guide to the best coffee makers + how to use them
How to make cold brew: Pack it up.
Step 5: Store your cold brew coffee in the refrigerator.
Put that beautiful cold brew in an air-tight storage container and throw it in the refrigerator. You’re done and, even better, you have coffee that will stay good for up to 2 weeks. When your’e ready, simply pour some into a glass, add ice, your milk of choice, and sweetener, if desired, and enjoy.