How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home (step-by-step)

Want to enjoy a cup of coffee during the hot months of the year? Here is a guide on how to make cold brew coffee at home.

A glass of cold brew coffee on a table.
You can make cold brew coffee at the comfort of your own home

I have been buying pre-made cold brew coffee from the local coffee store for many years until recently I wondered – Why spend so much money? Can’t I really make my own cold brew coffee at home? I decided to conduct research on how to make cold brew coffee at home.

So, how do you make cold brew coffee at home? Well, this is simple. All you need is to grind medium to coarse size coffee, mix the grounds with cold or room temperature water, and leave it for 12-24 hours to brew.

After brewing, filter to remove large grounds. Your cold brew coffee will be ready for serving. Does it not sound easy?

There are various methods you can use to make a cold brew coffee at home. Such include using Aeropress, French press, cold brew dripper, or even using essential household items you may already have.

By the time you are done with this guide, you will be wondering why you have been buying something that you could easily prepare at home.

Why Has Cold Brew Coffee Gained Popularity?

Why do many coffee enthusiasts like me love cold brew coffee?

Well, one reason why I love a cold brew is that I can enjoy taking it even during the hot months of the year and still remain cool. Coffee for me is not only reserved for the cold season. With a cold brew, any time is coffee time.

Cold brew coffee is not too much acidic compared to hot or iced coffee. You will not have to worry about the irritating acid reflux effect after enjoying this delicious beverage. Making a cold brew is more dependent on time than high temperature.

Sweet flavor compounds are soluble in cold water while oils and acids are not. This will make your brew with a mellow and smooth flavor.  It will not only be good for your tongue but also friendly to your stomach because of its low acidity.

Another benefit of a cold brew coffee is that it lasts for a long time – usually up to 2 weeks. That means if you want to spend some time in the woods during the warm season, you can prepare enough brew at home to keep you energized for the period.

Even better, if you have a tight weekly schedule, you can prepare enough cold brew coffee to last you a whole week. You don’t have to be late for work, school, conference, or any other occasion with the excuse of preparing breakfast beverages.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee At Home

So, after learning the various benefits of a cold brew coffee, how do you prepare the real thing now? Below are four ways you can use to make tasty and refreshing cold brew at home.

1. Using a French Press

pouring coarse ground coffee beans into a french press
Making cold brew coffee using French Press

This is one of the cheap and easy ways to prepare a cold brew at home. However, if you are not careful, your brew will end up having sediments and won’t be enjoyable at all.

Requirements

  • French press
  • Coffee beans
  • Burr grinder
  • Filtered room temperature water
  • A fine filter such as a cheesecloth
  • Sealable container
  • Metal spoon

Procedure

i. Measure the right amount coffee beans you will need. Using the burr grinder, grind the beans to medium to coarse size.

ii. Pour the ground into the French press.

iii. Add filtered water in a circular motion without stirring and fill up the French press.

iv. Using the back of the metal spoon, gently press down any grounds floating at the top to ensure they are all submerged.

v. Let your grounds soak for at least 12 hours at room temperature. You should be patient enough to allow optimal extraction of oils and flavors. Taking things in a hurry will make you end up with slightly coffee-flavored water.

vi. After waiting for the extraction to take place, it’s time to decant. Place the top of the French press on, and then push the plunger down for few inches to make gain stability for the forthcoming pour.

Don’t make the mistake of pushing the plunger all the way down or else you risk making the grounds to release bitter-tasting compounds. This will steal away the smooth and mellow taste your cold brew is supposed to have.

vii. Ensure the screen is in place before pouring your fresh brew into a saleable container. The screen may not filter out all the sediments. You can place a refined filter over your container and pour through it to ensure you remove as many sediments as possible.

x. You can now enjoy the decanted brew. The brew is highly concentrated and you may require adding few ice cubes and water to dilute it. The amount of water you add will depend on how strong you want your cold brew coffee to be.

Pros

  • Simple to follow
  • Doesn’t require you to buy a brewer
  • Accessories required are most likely already in your home

Cons

  • Can’t be used to make a large amount of cold brew coffee

2. Using an Aeropress

If you are a true coffee lover, you can’t miss an Aeropress in your home. It is a versatile and easy to use coffee making tool that you can use to make a cold brew coffee at home. How? Read on.

Requirements

  • An Aeropress
  • Burr grinder
  • Coffee beans
  • Room temperature water
  • Paper filter

Procedure

i. Measure the amount of beans you want to use and grind medium to coarse size.

ii. Invert the Aeropress and add the ground coffee. This step is important because you want the brew to steep for 24 hours.

iii. Add room temperature water while stirring gently to ensure all the grounds are covered by water.

iv. Cover the top of the Aeropress and leave it undisturbed for 24 hours to allow extraction.

v. Rinse the paper filter to get rid of any paper taste that may interfere with the taste of your cold brew.

vi. Shake the filter paper well and secure it onto the mouth of the inverted Aeropress.

vii. Place your cup upside down over the opening of the Aeropress. Hold it in that position as you flip over the Aeropress. This technique of holding the cup will prevent the spilling of coffee everywhere as you flip.

iix. Either plunge it down to get the job done fast or remove the plunger altogether and let your brew drip on its own.

ix. Your cold brew coffee is now ready. If you feel it’s too strong for you, add milk or water to adjust it according to your preference.

Remember to empty the grounds after extraction is over and wash the Aeropress to keep it in good shape for the next brewing.

Pros

  • Simple procedure
  • Aeropress is readily and affordably available
  • Doesn’t consume too much space

Cons

  • Can’t be used to prepare cold brew in plenty

3. Using a Cold Brew Dripper

If you want to make cold brew coffee at home in large amounts, then you should buy a cold brew dripper. It makes the process of making a cold brew more convenient and consistent. They are not completely automated meaning you will still be actively involved in the process.

These machines come in a wide range of designs, sizes, and prices. You should therefore be careful when choosing the option that best suits you.

Requirements

  • Cold brew dripper
  • Filters
  • Medium coarse coffee ground
  • Water

Procedure

i. Wet a filter and place it at the bottom of the coffee reservoir.

ii. Pour the grounds into the reservoir.

iii. Gently add water while stirring until all the grounds becomes wet.

iv. When the grounds are wet uniformly, wet a filter paper and place it on top of them. Ensure the filter is level as possible so that water from the dripper can evenly spread across the coffee.

v. Add water to the top chamber and set your drip speed using the adjustable valve. Ensure the drip speed is slow enough to prevent water from saturating in the reservoir holding the grounds.

You can readjust the speed as the water drains out of the chamber. Reduced pressure will reduce drip speed hence the need to readjust to increase dripping speed.

vi. By the time the water in the reservoir is ending, you will be left with a tasty cold brew coffee in the chamber below the reservoir.

How To Control The Dripper and The Taste Of Your Cold Brew

  • If you want to get dark and heavy tasting cold brew, slow down the drip speed.
  • If you prefer your cold brew to be light and watery, increase the drip speed.
  • If you notice the water is stagnating on your coffee even while on slow drip speed, consider using a coarser grind.
  • To prevent fast water draining, go for a finer grind.

Pros

  • Easy to control the whole process
  • Allows brewing in plenty

Cons

  • Maybe costly to own a dripper

4. Making Cold Brew Coffee At Home DIY Style

Ice coffee in a tall glass and coffee beans - how to grind coffee beans for cold brewing
DIY style cold brew coffee

Aren’t the above methods DIY? If that is what you are wondering, the answer is yes. However, this method is referred to as DIY style because you are using what you already in your home to make cold brew coffee.

So, you don’t have a French press, Aeropress, or can’t afford to buy a drip? Should you continue to buy cold brew coffee from the local store? The answer is no!

If you don’t have the money to buy the accessories used above, don’t worry. You most likely have all that you need at home to make cold brew coffee. All you need is to be patient enough because setting up and filtering may take more time compared to the above ways.

Requirements

  • Coarse Coffee grounds
  • Room temperature water
  • Fine Filter e.g. cheesecloth, clean kitchen towel
  • Big Bowl
  • Big Jar
  • Strainer/sieve
  • Paddle/spoon

Procedure

i. The coarse ground coffee in the jar.

ii. Add water into the jar and stir gently to ensure the grounds become evenly wet.

iii. Leave it to steep for a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 24 hours.

iv. Strain into the bowl to get rid of large grounds.

v. Place the fine filter in the sieve/strainer and then strain back into the jar. Repeat this procedure until you can’t see sediments at the bottom of the jar or bowl as you finish pouring.

The liquid may be slow to sip through the fine filter and sieve because it’s not hot. You should therefore be patience when carrying out this process.

vi. Depending on how strong you want your cold brew to be, you can water to dilute it accordingly. You can spice it up by adding ice, or milk.

Pros

  • Cheap method – You most likely need to buy coffee only.
  • Simple and easy to follow

Cons

  • May turn messy

FAQs On How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Why should you use Medium to Coarse Coffee grounds?

Using too fine grind will result in over-extraction making your cold brew taste bitter and acidic.

Coffee Grind Size
Coffee Grind Size

What are the best temperatures to steep a cold brew coffee?

The name “Cold” can mislead you to think that you need to put the brew in the fridge to steep. That is not true. You should brew it at room temperature. Leaving it in fridge slows down the process.

What is the optimal coffee-to-water ratio to use in cold brewing coffee?

This will depend on how strong you want your brew to be. The good thing with cold brew coffee is that you can dilute it to your preference after you are done making. However, 1:8 can be a good starting point.

You don’t have to buy a scale to measure the ratio given. 3 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water gives you 1:8. With this ratio, you don’t even have to dilute. However, it all depends on o your preference.

Are Cold brew and iced coffee the same thing?

No. Iced coffee is made using hot water which makes it highly acidic and bitter to excess extraction of flavors. Cold brew is made by room temperature water which results in optimal extraction making it less acidic and has a naturally sweet taste.

The two are completely different in that one relies on temperature for extraction (Iced) while the other depends on time for extraction (Cold).

Can I make a cold brew by putting my hot coffee in the fridge?

Absolutely no! As stated above, cold brew coffee is defined by time. Your hot coffee would be made through temperature. Putting in the fridge would only be cooling it.

The two will have a different taste due to the process of extraction used in making the final product.

What is the best type of coffee to use in making a cold brew at home?

You can use any type. The choice of type of coffee is all about your personal preferences. Take note that coffees with low acidity naturally tends to make a cold brew that is more smooth and balanced.

What is the best water for cold brewing coffee?

You will get a tasty and clean cold brew coffee if you filter the water you use to make it. Avoid distilled water because it’s low in minerals. Pure mineral water should be also avoided because of too many minerals.

Low or high minerals in water can affect the taste of your cold brew. Depending on where you live, you can use tap water to make your cold brew. If it tastes good to drink, then you can use it. All in all, filtered water remains the best option.

What is the optimal steep time?

You should steep for at least 12 hours and a maximum of 24 hours. Going beyond the maximum time can leave you with a bitter tasting cold brew due to excess extraction.

Again, if you go below the minimum time, you risk getting coffee-flavored water instead of sweet tasting cold brew. An average of 16 hours can do.

What other precaution should I observe when making cold brew coffee at home?

You should avoid putting the coffee in direct sunlight or excess heat. The formation process will be affected and you will not end up with a cold brew coffee! It will be something else.

Conclusion

Cold brew coffee is a stimulating drink especially in the hot months of the year. Visiting your local store every time you want to enjoy this drink can be exhausting to your pocket. I have been there once and understand how it feels to either spend more money to get satisfied or spend less and remain thirsty.

Sometimes the taste of the cold brew you buy doesn’t go well with you. It's time you stop troubling yourself. You can now enjoy as much cold brew coffee as you want at any time.

How? The answer lies in the above guide.

The guide has everything you need to know how to make cold brew coffee at home. You now have control over the taste and flavor of your cold brew coffee. Put this guide into use today!

See Also:
HOW TO MAKE DIFFERENT COFFEE ROASTS AT HOME?
HOW TO MAKE COFFEE TASTE GOOD WITHOUT CALORIES
HOW TO BREW COFFEE WITH A SIPHON – BEGINNER GUIDE

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