How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Have you ever made cold brew coffee? Sometimes this is also called “cold brew coffee concentrate,” as it’s a much stronger version.

It’s meant to be served over ice, so as the ice melts into your coffee, it gets diluted to a level more like hot brewed coffee.

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Cold brew coffee is perfect for the warmer months because you can make a big batch and store it in the refrigerator so it’s ready anytime you need an afternoon up.

Cold brew coffee is not as acidic as making a hot brewed coffee and pouring it over ice, and it tastes about a hundred times better, too. I find that cold brew coffee often tastes more chocolatey than hot brewed coffees.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee – Equipment

You can make cool brew coffee in a Toddy Cold Brew System or KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker (these are my favorite two options).

The Toddy coffee system usually costs around $38, and I like that the filters are reusable, the entire system is easy to clean, and the jar the coffee concentrate is stored in has a spout (making it easy to pour).

The top of the toddy is on the larger side though, and can be a little awkward to store when not in use.

The Kitchen Aid Cold Brew Coffee Maker is usually around $100 and a similar system to the toddy. I like that the container sits nicely on a refrigerator shelf, and it has a tap to pour the coffee concentrate from. Fancy!

You can also make cold brew coffee in a French press or a mason jar.

The method for this is similar to the toddy, but you will need to strain the grounds from the concentrate through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth in order to avoid any grounds getting in your coffee.

It’s a little more involved, BUT if you already own a French press or large mason jar, it may be worth it to you.

Cold Brew Coffee Recipe – Coffee Ground-to-Water Ratio

  • 16 ounces* of coffee ground on coarse. This is very important! Ask your barista to grind it on coarse for you—don’t use a grinder at home because it won’t grind the coffee evenly.
  • 9 cups of water (cold or room temperature)

*Most of our favorite coffee beans only come in 12-ounce bags, such as the one we are using today. If you buy a 12-ounce bag of coffee, make sure and only use 6 3/4 cups of water instead of 9 cups.

Can I make cold brew with regular ground coffee?

Yes, you technically can. Your cold brew coffee will taste better (and be higher quality) if you use coarse ground, plus it’s easier to strain.

Smaller grinds can clog some filters too. But, if you already have some regular ground coffee, you can use it with good results.

You can infuse your cold brew with different flavors by adding ingredients to the coffee grounds before cold brewing.

Some ideas include: toasted coconut, spices, citrus rinds, dried fruit (like banana or mango) and empty (used) vanilla bean pods.

Toasted Coconut Cold Brew Coffee

How to Cold Brew Coffee in a Toddy

If you’ve never used a Toddy before, rinse your filter out a little bit. Place your filter in the bottom of your Toddy and insert the plug from the bottom of the Toddy (not inside).

You’ll need to be able to pull the plug when your Toddy is full of coffee. Next, pour your coarse grounds into the Toddy.

Toasted Coconut Cold Brew Coffee

Add your water slowly. I usually add two cups at a time and then pause a minute. Make sure all of your grounds are wet and that you don’t have any dry grounds on top.

Toasted Coconut Cold Brew Coffee

The next step is super easy. Simply cover it with plastic wrap or foil, and let it sit at room temperature. The actual time you need to let it sit is variable—I’ve heard some coffee shops allow theirs to sit for 10 hours, and some up to 24 hours.

We allowed our batch to sit for 15 hours, and it turned out great.

Toasted Coconut Cold Brew Coffee Toasted Coconut Cold Brew Coffee

Once you come back to your batch, hold your Toddy over your glass jar and pull the plug. Place the Toddy over your glass container and let it drain. It will take between 10-30 minutes.

If it looks like it’s having trouble draining, you might need to grab a spoon and stir the grounds around the filter area.

And you’re done! You now have a full batch of cold brew concentrate. Treat this concentrate like espresso—you can drink it as is, but take it easy, or you’ll get the jitters.

To make your iced coffee, just pour 1 part cold brew concentrate to 1 part filtered water and add ice. Leave a little room for cream or milk if you like.

Looking for more coffee recipes?

Have you tried any other infusions with your cold brew coffee? I love experimenting with our Toddy at home, and I’d love new ideas, so let me know what you try. xo. Sarah

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5 from 1 vote

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

step-by-step instructions to make cold brew coffee concentrate
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword coffee, cold brew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Brew Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 5 minutes
Servings 10
Author Sarah Rhodes

Equipment

  • 1 cold brew coffee maker optional
  • 1 Toddy cold brew system optional

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces coffee ground on coarse
  • 9 cups water cold or room temperature

Instructions

  • If you’ve never used a Toddy before, rinse your filter out a little bit. Place your filter in the bottom of your Toddy, and insert the plug from the bottom of the Toddy (not inside). You’ll need to be able to pull the plug when your Toddy is full of coffee.
  • Next, pour your coarse grounds into the Toddy.
  • Add your water slowly. I usually add two cups at a time and then pause a minute. Make sure all of your grounds are wet and that you don’t have any dry grounds on top.
  • Cover the top with plastic wrap or foil and let it sit at room temperature. The actual time you need to let it sit is variable—at least 10 hours is good.
  • Once you come back to your batch, hold your Toddy over your glass jar and pull the plug! Place the Toddy over your glass container and let it drain. It’ll take between 10-30 minutes. 

Notes

If it looks like it’s having trouble draining, you might need to grab a spoon and stir the grounds around the filter area.

Credits / / Author: Sarah Rhodes. Photography: Emma Chapman and Sarah Rhodes.

  • Love this! I am a huge fan of cold brew coffee! What I would love to know is where you got the glasses that are pictured in this post?? I want!!!

    • 5 stars
      Honestly, we were given two glasses like this when my husband ordered a pitcher of margaritas at a restaurant in town. Lol.

    • Going to the store TODAY to get dried banana cuz omg that sounds amazing in cold brew!

  • Hello I’m really excited about the reciepe can you please provide the coconut amount in grams per 100 ml? Thanks in advance !

  • Just bought a Toddy after seeing this post and so far, I am in love!! I was cold brewing using some giant tubs and an old coffee filter, and the Toddy just makes the process so much easier! Thanks for the tip!

  • I’ve never thought about this before! I love making cold coffee in the summer so I’ll definitely have to give this a try!

  • Seriously Thank You!!!!! I always have wanted to do this but I never knew what would be required or how to do it. Basically I knew nothing. I am so excited. I am buying everything this week and making my batch. Yay!!!

  • I bought the Toddy after reading this entry. Enjoying my first iced coffee right now. Absolutely delish!!! Thanks for sharing ABM

  • Hiya – this looks like a perfect coffee for this recipe I’ve used a couple of times. Better coffee flavour!
    http://www.justonecookbook.com/recipes/coffee-jelly/

  • Just tried this method of cold brewed coffee (hold the Toddy) and it worked great! Looking forward to trying out some different flavorings – thanks for the idea!

  • I’m so excited you guys used Madcap Coffee! They are located in my home city — Grand Rapids, MI! xo

  • Pretty awesome to see you using coffee from MadCap, which is one of our local coffee shops in Grand Rapids, MI! Yay. 🙂

  • I would love this if I actually was a coffee drinker!

    __
    The curated aggregation of the best luxury designer fashion on sale on www.thebrokecurator.com

  • Yum! How fun! My MIL just bought us a Toddy and I was like, “Uhhhhh…..” but now I’m really excited!!!! Hehehe.

  • OH WOW. I think my life just changed…need to try this as soon as I’m back in the states! Coconut is my everything…

  • As soon as I saw Toasted Cocoanut, I clicked on this post, this looks simple enough. I live in South Florida where drinking hot coffee during summer is no fun! (Yet it’s so part of my daily routine, I just sweat and bear it). What a great idea, I could not believe my eyes when I read it would last for a week, that sealed it for me, hook, line and sinker!

  • It definitely would. You would just have to use math and ratios to figure out how much to make per batch. 🙂 -Sarah

  • Wow, I have never heard of this! Maybe because I didn’t drink coffee in the 90s? I might have to get one of these guys for sure… The summer promises to be a hot one and I think I will need a lot of iced coffees.

  • Cold pressed coffee is amazing. Do you think this could be replicated using a french press? It obviously wouldn’t make as much, but using it would still filter out the grinds pretty easily.

  • This looks absolutely delicious! And I’m currently having a coconut obsession so this is a must!

  • I like to add to my cold-brew coffee a mix made from condensed milk, concentrate milk, a spot of vanilla, and some chocolate syrup or nutmeg. It is the only time I drink my coffee sweet!

  • This has been my favourite week so far on ABM. Loved all the tutorials and thanks for the photography tips. I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys have for us this weekend xo

  • Yess! You’re really going to love it then. Life changing. <3 -Sarah

  • YAY MADCAP! Thanks for supporting us Michiganders 😀 That is some great coffee!

  • Noemie, that Bruer looks AMAZING. Thank you for sharing that! It’s definitely going on my wishlist! -Sarah

  • I have my very own Bruer in the mail as we speak, can’t wait to try it! It was a Kickstarter project I just had to participate in. Check it out here : http://www.bruer.co I hope I’ll master the ins and outs of prepping the grounds just right though, sound almost scientific to me! I’ll definitely try it with coconut, though!

  • We lived in Phoenix the past 2 summers and we survived off of this!! There were seriously some days I don’t know if we would have made it through if not for our cold coffee supply. 😉 -Sarah

  • I always think you can make your own rules when it comes to coffee. Just do what you like! 🙂 -Sarah

  • I have been cold brewing my coffee in a long rectangle container. I add in a little caramel extract. I use a coffee filter and a really small strainer to strain it into a glass pitcher. Works great, and I love the hint of caramel. I am due to make another batch today, and I think I will try the toasted coconut, thanks for the idea!

  • Yep, I’m a latte girl! I’ve never tried cold coffee before and so I’d love to give this ago. It will be perfect for the summer. 🙂

  • mmm! This sounds delicious! I hate the acidic taste that hot coffee over ice leaves in my mouth, so this may be perfect! I would love to try a vanilla bean version! mmm!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • I’ve been looking for a way to make iced coffee without that bitter taste!

    nueyork.blogspot.com

  • I discovered cold brew when I moved to Minnesota from Virginia. It baffles me why such a cold place would have cold brew coffee in literally every coffee shop, but I have happily been the benefactor. I make mine at home now with a glass jug and after letting it sit overnight in the fridge, I strain it through a mesh coffee filter into another glass pitcher. Stays good all week if it makes it that long. I often make mine into a mocha with dark chocolate syrup or white chocolate syrup. A local coffee shop sells them with a bit of cream already mixed in. Delish!

  • Your recipe is delicious! Can’t wait to make it!
    http://fashion-soup.com/

  • I’m so curious as to how good this must taste. Looks delicious.

    Meg | Meghan Silva’s Blog

  • That sounds great! I love cold coffee and it’s perfect for hot summer days!

  • I never knew what a toddy was or that it even existed but I am so on the hunt to get one! I live in Phoenix, AZ and this would be the perfect thing to keep in the fridge at work during the summer!

  • i couldn’t even get to the recipe because i was stuck on WELCOME TO THE 90’S, MEESTER BONKS!!! ;D
    i can’t believe you just pulled that out of your back pocket 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  • What a great twist on cold coffee. And it looks so easy to make. I doubt I’ll find a toddy in Greece so I’ll have to rely on my french press. If you get flavoured ground coffee to begin with then you can make all sorts of interesting combinations with the coconut — my mind has instantly gone to chocolate macadamia coconut brew. YUM!

    Thanks Sarah!!

    Maria xx
    www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

  • Totally cool! Thanks darlings! I have coffee every morning– addict…– and am now using So Delicious coconut creamer. This sounds like an amazing recipe that I will totally have to try. xoxo
    http://livobeautiful.blogspot.com

  • “Welcome to the 90’s, Mr. Banks.” Bah! My dad says this all the time. Gotta love Father of the Bride.

    This coffee sounds amazing. Yum!

  • That Toddy looks awesome! I do cold brew but the hard way I guess; I put 1 cup of ground coffee in a quart jar and fill with water and give it a good stir. I let it sit overnight then run it through a filter. Slightly more work but not much, hopefully it helps people who might not try it because they don’t have the Toddy!

  • I love this post, especially because you’re using madcap coffee!! straight from my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan!! please come & visit….this fall we have Artprize which is a huge outdoor art festival, i think you would enjoy it. I love my city 🙂

  • “Welcome to the ’90s, Mr. Banks!” Ha! I love that quote and constantly hear it in my head. I live my life in Father of the Bride quotes.

  • Awesome – we just had our first real day of summer weather here (east coast of Canada), and I was DREAMING of iced coffee – can’t wait to try this.

  • Yay for Madcap! We love their coffee and their shop in Grand Rapids. 🙂

  • This is the second time now that I’ve heard of coconut coffee. Sounds yummy! I am going to have to give it a try 🙂

    Love and Luck,

    Laurali Star

    http://www.thesecretsurprisinista.com

  • Toddy coffee is the BEST. Adding coconut is such a great idea! I usually brew for 24 hours, but I like my coffee nice and strong. Try a large glass of Toddy over ice with a splash of cream and a shot of chocolate syrup! SO good.

  • Cold coffee seems strange to me… maybe I’ll have to give it a go

  • I’m gonna try this with some unsweetened coconut, reducing the amount to make it in my french press, and grind the coffee at home- breaking all the rules, lol. I bet it’ll be delicious though!

  • This makes it look a lot more easier than some of the coffee shops I go to, I must have a good search for a Toddy online. Delish!

    www.dancingthroughsunday.typepad.com

  • My favorite part of this whole thing was the father of the bride reference! Hilarious!

  • This sounds amazing!! I love coconut and coffee together. I usually use coconut oil instead of creamer and froth it up with a whisk. Very decadent. This is a whole new spin I must try!

    http://www.thelittleliongirl.com

  • I’ve heard of coconut oil in coffee before, and this method sounds so interesting to try! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca/

  • That sounds incredible. Looking it up now! Thanks Anne Marie! <3 – Sarah

  • There are certainly people more dedicated to their coffee craft and proud to call themselves coffee snobs who would heartily agree with you! For myself (a former barista) and my husband, we enjoy the coffee for a week so I promise I’m not lying – it doesn’t taste terrible. 🙂 It just depends on your preference, and most people aren’t as picky about coffee. But these are great tips for anyone who wants to really get the very most out of their coffee experience and who might consider themselves snobs / connoisseurs. 🙂 -Sarah

  • Never thought to infuse the grounds! I bought my husband the Toddy for Christmas and he hasn’t brewed a hot coffee since! I actually made him a few muslin bags with a draw string he’s been using instead of the filter and it’s working out great – he things it makes it even easier to clean when you’re done. I just made the bag just smaller than the inside of the white plastic.

  • Sorry to sound like a coffee snob, but coffee that is a week old is going to taste terrible! Cold brewing is good method, but it should be done daily for freshness. You can easily start a batch each night before bed and have fresh concentrate in the morning. Another key step is grinding your coffee at home, right before you brew. You should not have your barista grind them for you, you will lose freshness and compromise flavor. I’m not sure why you say that you can’t get a coarse grind at home, maybe you aren’t using a ceramic burr grinder? Even an inexpensive hand-crank grinder has an adjustable grind.

    • Actually, most roasted coffees are actually best when enjoyed about 5-7 days after roasting. It gives it time to release gasses and develop flavor. Coffee consumed within 24 hours of roasting will not be as developed and fully flavored as coffee that has “aged” at least a few days.

  • Hey Monica! Oh yes – you should always have your French Press coffee ground on coarse! 🙂 -Sarah

  • Um, heck yes! This sounds AMAZING! I love iced coffee in the summertime, it’s such a delicious treat. And anything with coconut is an A+ in my book. 🙂

    xoxo Mandy
    http://mandyleighblog.com

  • Oh. My. Goodness. I am going to try infusing my coffee with toasted coconut tomorrow!

  • That last picture looks phenomenal!
    Thank you for all of the informative tips and tricks in this post. For example, I always ask for fine grind, but getting a coarse grind would be so important in this case. I wonder if it’s the same thing when using hot water in a french press?

    M.

  • I’ve never infused my own cold brew, but love Chameleon Cold Brews mocha flavor! Blended with grass fed butter 🙂

    I have a toddy maker and am literally rushing home right now to try this coconut flavor. Love!

  • Good point, I left that out! You have to store it in your refrigerator. 🙂 Thanks Chelsea! -Sarah

  • Cold brew coffee is new to me! I just moved back to Toronto from London and have seen it everywhere – but had never heard tell of it in the UK. Thanks for enlightening me a little more. You’re always so informative on A Beautiful Mess. 🙂

  • Sounds a bit weird, but these are always the best things, right? 😀

    Lisa – AT LEAST BLOG

  • This is awesome. I’d love to just have that ready to make iced coffee instead of having to brew a ton and keep it in the fridge. I may have to invest in one of these. Does it really last a whole week??

  • Does the Toddy stay at room temperature through the week, or is it placed in the refrigerator?

  • Very true! We used to use a French Press, but we got way too lazy and bought a Toddy so we didn’t have to make it every day. 😉 It does work well, though! Thanks Cait! -Sarah

  • This sounds amazing! Just added a Toddy to my amazon prime cart. And toasted coconut? oh yes.

    P.S. Linking this on my Friday Finds list tomorrow. 🙂

    theroserecord.blogspot.com

  • I love cold-brew coffee, and it’s such a great idea to infuse it with another flavor! I use my French press, which may be an option for those who don’t have a Toddy, though for smaller batches.

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