How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

By Kyra Auffermann, NCA


There are a lot of reasons to love cold brew. Unlike iced coffee, you can control the concentration so that you don’t end up with a diluted drink.

And since the grounds aren’t subjected to heat, cold brew has a different chemical profile than coffee made with hot water. This results in lower levels of acidity, which means a smoother cup that’s more mellow on the stomach.

Cold brew is popping up everywhere from local cafes to national chains, but it’s also easy (and cheap) to make at home. Just follow these simple steps, adapted from the food blog Food 52:

What You Neeed

Coarsely ground coffee. This is important. A fine, espresso-like grind will result in a cloudy and over-extracted cup. (Related: How to Grind Coffee)

A jar or large container. Plastic or glass, you don’t even need a lid – anything in your kitchen that can hold coffee and water will be fine. A French press or Mason jar are Instagram-friendly options, and there also specific contraptions for gadget enthusiasts.

Cold water. The ratio of coffee grounds to water is subjective and depends on personal taste – about 1/3 cup of ground coffee per 1.5 cups of cold water. (For a standard 32-ounce French press, Food 52 recommends 3/4 cup beans for 4 cups of cold water.)

Filter. Unless you are using a French press, you’ll need a coffee filter or a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.

What to Do


In your container, pour in the coarsely ground coffee.

Gradually add the water and stir gently, making sure all the coffee grounds are moistened.

Cover (using cheesecloth if your container doesn’t have a lid).


Let the coffee sit at room temperature overnight, or for 12 hours. Don’t rush this.


If you are using a French Press, simply press down on the plunger to move grounds to the bottom and pour.

Otherwise, strain your brew through a coffee filter or a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into a large pitcher (or bowl or whatever else you’d like to store your cold brew in).


Photo: James Ransom, Food 52

Strain a second time if needed. Discard the grounds (but they don’t need to go to waste – here are 14 ways used coffee grounds can make your life better).

Sip (and Savor)

That’s it! You officially have cold brew.

Over ice, mix coffee concentrate with water to taste. Add milk, sweetener, or other flavorings if desired. The concentrate will keep for up to 2 weeks covered and chilled in the fridge.

So easy, even my dad can do it.



See the full recipe at Food 52

Have any pro tips for a better cold brew? Share in the comments below!

Kyra Auffermann is the Digital Content Manager (and gif enthusiast) at the National Coffee Association.


7 thoughts on “How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

  1. Hello Kyra, this is Michael Corrado of…i am currently a member of NCA, and i read the article about cold brew. Very informative, i like it. Having said this, I do not have a better method to make cold brew, but i do have a better method to make iced coffee. I would love to speak to you about it if you have the time. I know these blogs are not for advertising or selling my product so i am curios of how i can show that we can make a better iced coffee….your comments are greatly appreciated.
    Michael Corrado


      • Hello Kyra,
        thank you for your response. My tips on making the best tasting iced coffee is by using my product called the Coldwave. Hot coffee remains the same, and a simple 3 step process and you will have non diluted refrigerator temperature Cold coffee in under 90 seconds. The taste will trick you as it tastes the same as the hot coffee and in some cases better due to the flash cooling where we trap the flavor. it is simple and inexpensive. Would love to explain more to you and I would also love to send you a complimentary one so you can try it yourself. For more information on the product you can go to
        thank you for your time and consideration.
        Michael Corrado


  2. Pingback: From Basic Boomers to Specialty Snowflakes: National Coffee Drinking Trends 2017 | The First Pull

  3. Pingback: 7 Delightful Coffee Recipes for Your Next Brunch at Home - Dirty and Thirty

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