How To Extract Coffee In 5 Easy Steps

It is very easy to overcomplicate coffee extraction. In this article, we’ll explain how to extract coffee as efficiently as possible.

How to extract coffee
Coffee extraction is a bit more complicated

Coffee extraction may seem pretty straightforward. After all, it’s just dissolving coffee in water. However, when you get into the nitty-gritty, it is a bit more complicated than that!

When it comes to coffee extraction, many things matter – the ratio of the water, temperature, and time all matter substantially. It is hard to make the perfect coffee extract the first time. Often, you’ll have to experiment a bit before you get the ideal extraction.

Tools Of The Trade

coffee beans
The quality of coffee beans matter

You don’t need much to make extract coffee. You’ll only need coffee beans and vodka. That’s it! 

However, the quality of these items matters substantially. After all, they’re the only ingredients in the recipe. If you use low-quality coffee and vodka, you’ll end up with low-quality coffee extract. 

Choose whatever coffee that you prefer that is also high-quality. The coffee extract will taste like the coffee beans you choose. Keep this in mind when making a specific recipe with the coffee extract. 

The roast of the coffee particularly matters. You don’t want the coffee too green, as it will maintain too much of the acidity of raw coffee beans. On the other hand, you also don’t want it too heavily roasted, as this will lessen the taste of the extract. 

I do recommend having a mortar and pestle, as this makes the whole ordeal go much smoother. In addition, mortar and pestles are helpful for a whole host of recipes, so I recommend one for every kitchen. 

You’ll also need some sort of measuring cup. If it has a spout for easy pouring, then that is even better. 

A jar with a lid is also recommended. This lid should be tight-fitting and airtight. Many people use mason jars (the small ones), but you can use whatever you have on hand. 

How To Extract Coffee In Five Steps

I have put together a straightforward recipe to help you out. Here are the five steps on how to extract coffee:

Step 1: Get The Coffee Ready

First, you’ll need to crush the coffee beans with the mortar and pestle lightly. You can also use a rolling pin, but it is much harder to be exact with this method. I’ve seen some people use the back of a spoon or the side of a butter knife, but I’ve never done this myself. 

Your goal isn’t to crush the coffee beans. Instead, you just want to crack the beans slightly. You don’t want your beans to be mush by the end of this step. 

Step 2: Transfer Beans To A Jar

coffee beans in a glass jar
Place beans in a jar

Next, transfer the beans to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Be sure that there is plenty of room after adding the beans, as you still have to add the vodka. 

Step 3: Add The Vodka

Next, you’ll need to add vodka to the coffee beans. The ratio here is essential.

Generally, I recommend one cup of vodka for every ¼ cup of coffee beans. You can adjust that ratio up or down depending on how much extract you need to make. 

In most cases, you won’t need more than a cup of extract. Therefore, you likely won’t need more than one cup of vodka. 

Keep in mind, making the recipe larger will likely lengthen the time it takes for the extract to finish. This is because while you would add extra coffee to the vodka, about the same amount of coffee would be exposed to the vodka at a time (as much of it will settle on the bottom). Therefore, you typically end up waiting longer. 

Step 4: Seal The Lid And Wait

Finally, seal the lid and wait. Be sure that the lid is closed all the way and airtight. Otherwise, you may end up with fruit flies and other pests in your vodka. 

That said, stuff usually doesn’t start growing in your extract since vodka creates a pretty inhospitable environment for most bacteria and mold. 

Place the jar in a cool area with little to no light. It usually takes at least a week for the coffee flavor to extract into the vodka.

You should swirl and shake the mixture daily to mix the coffee beans in. Otherwise, they’ll settle on the bottom, and those underneath the top layer won’t have as much exposure to the vodka. 

However, it can sometimes take longer than a week. 

Step 5: Strain The Extract

When the extract is done, strain it to remove the crushed coffee beans. A tiny, handheld filter is best for this since you’re straining a minimal amount of liquid. However, you can use whatever you have nearby. 

Discard the beans. You can’t use them again to make another extract or a cup of coffee. 

Keep the extract in a cool, dark location. Theoretically, it should last very long. However, be sure to check it for any odd smells or growths before using it. 


  • Kristin Hitchcock

    Kristin first fell in love with coffee on a trip to Brazil - where she learned that the ground coffee found on American shelves was not the end-all. Today, she loves educating other coffee-lovers on how to make the best cup of coffee, no matter what you enjoy.