Do you love a good cold brew? So do many people, but they don’t love the prices. Cold-brew coffee usually costs $3 or more at most coffee chains and cafés. Starbucks sells its cold brew beverage for $3.50. You’d love to save money by making cold brew coffee at home. How is it done?
Here’s how to make cold brew coffee at home:
- Grind coffee beans coarsely
- Add water and grounds
- Steep the grounds
- Strain the coffee
- Put it in the fridge
Of course, there are plenty more nuances to making a delectable pot of cold brew coffee. This extensive guide will tell you everything you need to know. We’ll go over the above steps in more elaborative detail, recommend a coffee machine or two for cold brewing, and share our best tips for making cold brews.
Let’s dive right in!
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
It helps to understand the intricacies of the coffee you’re trying to make to increase your chances of success. That’s why we thought we’d start by explaining a bit about cold brew coffee.
Cold brew coffee is brewed cold to create a smoother finished cup of coffee. Cold brew coffee is a caffeinated beverage that, despite the name, can be served hot as well as cold.
It’s not the same as iced coffee, though. The difference between cold brew and iced coffee is in the steeping time, which we’ll talk more about later.
Compared to other types of coffee, cold brew is at least mildly acidic but can also have low acidity.
As you know, as a coffee lover, too much acidity in your brew doesn’t always taste great. Plus, if you have conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, an acidic cup of coffee can aggravate your condition.
Cold brew coffee is not overly caffeinated. A 16-ounce serving contains 200 milligrams of caffeine.
If you divide that into a more reasonable serving size of eight ounces, then the coffee contains only 100 milligrams of caffeine in a serving.
What about the strength of cold brew coffee? You might have heard that it’s stronger than other types of coffee, which has caused you to refrain from drinking it.
There’s no need to worry. Cold brew coffee contains more coffee than water than other caffeinated beverages, but it doesn’t have to be stronger if you don’t want it to be. It’s all about how you make it!
Even if you brew stronger coffee, you can always dilute your cold brew by adding milk, ice, or water.
What Do You Need to Make Cold Brew Coffee?
Now it’s time to talk equipment. Here is what you should have ready as you prepare to make cold brew coffee at home.
Coffee Grinder (Or Coarse Grounds)
The coffee grounds used to make cold brew coffee should always be coarse. If you have a coffee grinder at home and you’re happy to grind the beans, then you can do it yourself.
Of course, if it’s more convenient for you to buy pre-ground coffee, that’s fine too. Double-check that the bag you’re buying contains coarse coffee grounds. We can’t stress enough that that’s critical to an authentic-tasting cup of cold brew coffee.
From your standard coffeemaker to a French press machine, you have your pick for making cold brew coffee. Later in this article, we’ll recommend some of our favorite coffee machines for brewing this tasty, caffeinated beverage, so be sure to check that out!
Standard measuring cups are fine here, so you can use what you already have in your pantry to determine how much water and coffee you need as you make cold brew coffee.
You’ll have to steep the coffee grounds to make cold brew coffee, requiring a clean, empty mason jar. You should have its lid available, too, as you don’t want the cold brew coffee to sit in your fridge uncapped!
When straining the cold brew coffee, you should put a cheesecloth over the strainer. Cheesecloth comes in handy for making homemade fruit drinks, infused oils, ketchup, and almond milk as well.
You don’t need a strainer or sieve that can catch ultra-fine particles, so the strainer already in your kitchen should suffice.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home – A Step-by-Step Guide
Are you ready to get brewing? Here are the recipe quantities for making cold brew coffee at home:
- Water (907 grams or 4 cups)
- Whole coffee beans or coarsely-grounded coffee grounds (113 grams or 1 cup)
Yes, that’s all you need as far as ingredients go. Gather those and the rest of your other supplies from the section above, and you’re ready to begin.
Step 1 – Grind the Coffee Beans
Insert whole coffee beans into your coffee grinder. Adjust the setting so the beans will grind as coarsely as possible, then allow them to grind.
No coffee grinder? That’s okay. You can use a spice grinder to coarsely grind coffee beans for cold brew coffee.
You’ll want to only do this in one-second increments, so be prepared for it to take a while.
What do coarsely ground coffee beans look like? They have a cornmeal-like texture. If the grounds are thinner like a powder, then you’ve grounded them too far.
You can’t use these coffee grounds for making cold brew coffee but hold onto them for a different coffee recipe.
Transfer the coarsely ground coffee into a measuring cup. You should have it under a cup of grounds.
Step 2 – Mix Water and Coffee Grounds
Once you’ve measured your coarsely ground coffee, take the grounds and put them in your coffeemaker brewing container. Then pour in the water.
Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together. The water should reach all the way down to the coffee grounds, saturating them all. Keep stirring until you don’t see any dry spots in the coffee grounds.
Step 3 – Steep the Coffee Grounds
Now it’s time for that mason jar to come in handy. Pour the coffee and water mixture into the mason jar. Put the lid on and secure it tightly.
Now you want the coffee grounds to steep for at least 12 hours. Yes, you have to wait quite a while, so you shouldn’t make cold brew coffee on the same day you want to drink it!
What’s the point of steeping, you ask? During this time, the coffee can develop its full depth of flavor. Cold-brew coffee should have a mellow, even slightly chocolatey flavor.
You can allow the coffee grounds to steep in the refrigerator or on your counter. Either way, you want to wait for at least 12 hours.
Step 4 – Strain the Cold Brew Coffee
After the 12 hours have elapsed, you have what resembles cold brew coffee but isn’t quite there yet. You don’t want the chunks of coffee grounds interrupting your drinking experience, do you? We didn’t think so.
Take your strainer and place a cheesecloth over it. You can also use a flour sack cloth if you don’t have a cheesecloth.
Put the strainer down on a flat, level surface such as your kitchen counter. Uncap the mason jar and pour its contents directly into the strainer through the cheesecloth.
Step 5 – Refrigerate
Rinse out your mason jar, take an empty glass bottle, and pour the strained cold brew coffee inside. Then place the beverage in your fridge for at least the next week.
Step 6 – Serve
Heat the cold brew coffee or add ice and enjoy!
What Are the Best Coffeemakers for Making Cold Brew Coffee?
When making cold brew coffee, the right coffee machine is everything. We selected 7 of the best cold brew coffeemakers courtesy of Amazon. Here is an overview of each one.
KitchenAid KCM4212SX Cold Brew Coffeemaker
With its shiny stainless steel exterior, the KitchenAid cold brew coffeemaker will last a while. Included with your purchase is a stainless steel steeper that’s reusable again and again.
The steeper has fill level indicators, so you can brew cold brew coffee at any quantity! This coffeemaker has a capacity for 28 ounces of coffee concentrate at a time.
A large glass panel makes it easy to see how your cold brew coffee is progressing, although the steeper does not have a glass panel.
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker
An Amazon’s Choice product, the Takeya cold brew coffeemaker has many great features that should check many of your boxes.
Dishwasher-safe and free of dangerous BPAs, the Takeya cold brew coffeemaker is shatter-proof and airtight for your most delectable cold brew coffee yet.
You can use this coffeemaker for serving cold brew coffee, hot or cold. It also comes in handy for making hot coffee or iced coffee.
The durable body construction won’t develop odors, nor does it stain or get cloudy as you use it. A silicone handle around the base of this coffeemaker is designed for easy handling.
Ninja CP307 Hot and Cold Brewed System
Although it’s not exclusively a cold brew coffee machine, we still recommend the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System, as you get more bang for your buck.
You can select from six unique brew sizes, such as a full carafe, a half carafe, or a single cup of coffee at a time. The baskets for tea and coffee are kept separate so you never confuse them.
Although it doesn’t come into play when making cold brew coffee, if you’re into lattes or cappuccinos, you’ll love the included hot and cold frother, which folds away when not in use.
Ninja promises its Hot and Cold Brewed System can make cold brew coffee in only 10 minutes if you brew it over ice. You’ll have to try it to believe it!
Cuisinart DCB-10 Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker
For under $100, the Cuisinart automatic cold brew coffeemaker is a good option for your consideration.
To use it, you must select the brew strength (mild, medium, or bold) of your cold brew coffee, then hit the brew button. Next, slide the included lever to open the machine and take your cold brew coffee. You can then start sipping!
Every part of the Cuisinart cold brew coffeemaker is detachable and can go into the dishwasher without damage.
Cuisinart promises up to seven cups of cold brew coffee at a time with no settling sediment. This coffee machine takes about 25 minutes to make cold brew coffee at mild strength. At medium strength, it’s 35 minutes. You’ll have to wait 45 minutes for bold cold brew.
Presto Dorothy Electric Rapid Cold Brewer
If you want cold brew coffee like right now, try the Presto Dorothy.
This electric-powered rapid cold brew machine can make you cold brew coffee in only 15 minutes. It’s an Amazon’s Choice product for a reason!
All the magic happens thanks to rapid cold brew technology included in the Dorothy machine. The cold water and coffee grounds spin quickly to allow the flavor to extract.
You can select the whirlpool speed via the settings.
The filter plunge allows you to collect coffee grounds so they don’t end up in your mug. Rather, the plunger transfers the grounds to a removal cup that you can dump.
You can also customize your brew strength using the Presto Dorothy.
Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine
The Braun MultiServe is a brew system that can make consistently good cold brew coffee.
Use the MultiServe dial for selecting brew size, with options including five ounces, eight ounces, 12 ounces, 16 ounces, 20 ounces, half carafes, and full carafes of coffee.
The TempSensor system includes triple the sensors to keep the brewing temperature regulated when making beverages like cold brew coffee and more.
With the BrewChoice feature, you can serve your cold brew coffee over ice or hot. You can even adjust the strength setting here, with options such as light, gold, and bold available.
Vinci Express Cold Brew Electric Coffee Maker
We also quite like the Vinci Express cold brew electric coffeemaker and think you will too.
Boasting Circle Flow Brewing technology, the Vinci Express reduces the time that cold brew coffee usually has to spend steeping and can produce cold brew in five minutes or less.
That’s due to the way the Circle Flow Brewing technology extracts coffee grounds continually with water.
An included serving lid allows you to pour your cold brew coffee right from the machine. When you put the serving lid on the carafe, it makes an airtight seal so your cold brew coffee can trap in flavor.
Oh, and did we mention that the Vinci Express features a self-cleaning feature that will clean all the machine’s components, so you don’t have to?
Tips for Making Delicious Cold Brew Coffee
To wrap up, as promised, here are our top tips for making your best cold brew coffee yet!
The Type of Water You Use Matters
As any true coffee aficionado knows, not all water is the same.
Water can be softer (which means it contains few if any minerals) or harder (which means it contains some or many minerals).
A small portion of minerals is usually okay in coffee, but that depends on the type of brew you’re trying to make.
In the case of cold brew coffee, you don’t have any minerals at all. You should only use filtered or distilled water for cold brew coffee. For more detailed information on what water is best to use when making coffee, click here!
You Can Steep for More Time, But Not Less
Is it okay if your cold brew coffee ends up steeping for 14 hours rather than the recommended 12? It shouldn’t cause any harm. if anything, you might end up with an even greater and more well-defined depth of flavor thanks to those additional two hours.
What you shouldn’t do is cut the time short. It’s not a huge deal to steep cold brew coffee for 11 and a half hours rather than 12, but for only eight or nine hours? You’re only shortchanging yourself, as your cold brew coffee won’t taste as full-bodied as it could.
Don’t Rush the Straining Process
When straining cold brew coffee, let the process play out naturally. Avoid the urge to wring the cheesecloth or push the coffee grounds through. This can cause the cold brew coffee to taste a lot bitterer than it should!
Add Coffee-Flavored Ice Cubes
Are you afraid that using ice in cold brew coffee is going to dilute its flavor too much? No problem! Try making coffee ice cubes instead.
To do this, brew a pot of coffee as usual and allow it to come down to room temperature. In a clean, empty ice cube tray, pour the coffee into the slots and then freeze.
The coffee ice cubes won’t make your cold brew coffee taste watered down! Or you may be interested in purchasing these reusable plastic ice cubes found on Amazon.
Making cold brew coffee at home can save you money. Plus, it just tastes better! Now that you know what goes into making your own cold brew coffee, you’re ready to get started. Have fun and enjoy!