Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee
I’ve had a multi-summer obsession with cold brew coffee. The cold brew process makes it taste so much smoother than traditional drip coffee. But the pre-made cold brew concentrates you find in the store are either too spendy or they have a faintly metallic taste to them (at least to me!) So why not make your own cold brew coffee? It’s easy and mostly just requires patience.
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- Large glass jar or other container with airtight lid
- Ground coffee (the grind should be coarse rather than fine like you’d use in your drip coffee maker)
- Large bowl
- Flour sack towel or nut milk bag
Step 1 – Grind Coffee (if you need to)
I prefer the convenience of ground coffee, but more often than not I buy whole beans and grind them myself. I usually grind one week’s worth of beans at a time. I have an ancient little grinder that I just love. The trick to making great cold brew and saving yourself from silty coffee is to grind the beans on a coarse setting. The chunkier the grind, the easier it is to strain the grounds out of the finished coffee.
There is definitely a difference with cold brew and hot brew when it comes to the silty factor. I suppose it’s because the grounds steep in water for so long versus the relative quickness of pouring hot water over grounds, but the silt factor is a real thing. A little silt is fine by me, but not a lot.
Step 2 – Combine Grounds and Water
The trick here is the ratio of grounds to water. And quite honestly, it really all comes down to personal preference. I make my cold brew a very strong concentrate. When I actually use it to make coffee, I dilute it down with a bit of cold water. I think that’s the perfect blend.
I use one 24 oz mason jar (also known as a pint and a half jar) that is mostly full (see the picture above) of coffee grounds. My favorite jar is 64 oz (or about 8 cups). First, I add the grounds to the bottom of my jar. Then, I fill it up with water. Next, stir to get all those grounds wet and then top it off with a little bit more water so that the jar is completely full of water.
Now, place the jar with grounds on the counter somewhere. This should sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours before you remove the coffee grounds.
Step 3 – Strain the Grounds from the Water
Once your brew has sat and steeped you need to remove the grounds (unless you really like gritty coffee – yuck!) The simplest method of doing this is to get a large bowl and drape a flour sack towel over it. Pour the coffee + grounds directly on top of the towel and then grab each of the four corners and pull them together in the center to create a pouch. Squeeze gently to get the last of the remaining coffee out of the towel. Then, carefully transfer your coffee to the container you’re going to store it in.
Alternatively, you can drape a nut milk bag open over the top of a jar you’re going to store the coffee in and pour the coffee + grounds into it. Once you remove the bag, gentle squeeze it out over the jar and your coffee is ready to roll.
Look at this black gold! Cold brew coffee tastes really different than regular drip coffee. If you aren’t already doing this – give it a shot! The completed brew should be stored in the refrigerator for best taste.
To serve I dilute it with just a touch of cold water and ice and of course creamer…I like my coffee a little bit sweet.