Mar 19, 2020

ManMade Guide: How To Make the Best Cold Brew Coffee at Home

You can buy cold brew coffee at a coffee shop. But, if it happens to be from a certain Seattle-based java-serving monolith named after a Melville character, or an pink and orange East Coast chain known for selling fried rings of dough for, uh, "placing" into your coffee, then what you're actually getting is cold coffee...that is, hot coffee that's been iced down.

How to make the best cold-brew coffee

Cold brew is an entirely different beast altogether. And with the weather warming up, it's time to cool our coffee down. Or, more accurately, never heat it up to begin with.  If you're not familiar, here are a few nerdy facts about it:

  • Cold-brew is - as the name says it - coffee that's made with cold water. Yep, no boiling, no heating, nada. Just water and quality beans.
  • It tastes different than your regular cup of coffee; it's less acidic, less bitter, and contains less caffeine, so it's waaay more enjoyable and easy on your gut.
  • It's super easy to make and perfect for summer and outdoor events....hello, camping trips!

Totally hooked, right? Ok then, let's get to it..

How To Make The Best Cold Brew Coffee

How To Make The Best Cold-Brew Coffee

Ingredients and tools needed:

  • 1 1/2 cups freshly fine ground coffee. Try a dark roast if you're going for richness. Always use freshly ground coffee beans!
  • 5 cups of water
  • Large French press or big mason jar and fine mesh-sieve/cheesecloth.
  • Ice (optional) - TIP: If you're going to use ice, make some coffee ice cubes to avoid diluting the brew.


  • Pour water in the French press and add ground coffee. Stir stir stir.
  • Cover with french press lid (but don't plunge it!) or cover with a small plate.
  • Let is sit at room temperature for at least 10 hours, but up to 16. (Okay...1 day max). Make it after dinner, go to bed, and it'll be ready the next morning.
  • Once it's ready, carefully plunge the press, or strain through a sieve and cheesecloth. Pour liquid in a clean container. This liquid will be your cold-brew concentrate.
  • Use a 1:1 ratio of cold-brew concentrate and water, or modify the ratio depending on how strong you like your coffee.
  • Refrigerate or add ice cubes, add sweetener if needed (recommended: honey or agave syrup) and serve. Done!


How to make the best cold-brew coffee


Easy peasy, right? Now, let's try a few variations, 'cause you know, variety is the spice of life...and coffee.

Add milk and a couple drops of vanilla, and a couple drops of almond extract.
Like one of those fancy barista flavoured lattes, but at a 1/3 of the price! And made at home. How modern and foodie is that?

Boil the water with cinnamon, cardamon, and 1 star anise.
Boil the water that you're going to use for the brew with the ingredients mentioned above (easy on the star anise! Use the smallest one you can find). Let it cool down, and then use it to make the concentrate. The result: a chai-like brew that's Taj Mahal tasty (er..you get the idea).

Add a bit of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.
This combo is also called Thai Cold Coffee, and even though it has extra sugar added, it's totally worth it. Best summer treat!

Take the plunge and make you're own brew! Serve it at your next shinding or enjoy it while kicking back in your backyard. Yep, you're welcome.


 This ManMade post was originally published on June 23rd, 2013.


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Nick on Jul 06, 2020:

My favorite ground coffee to use in my french press is Bizzy Dark & Bold.

Art Denney on Mar 22, 2020:

I make "Sun coffee" just like making Sun Tea. I put decaf in a jar of water (all the appropriate measures), set the jar in a sunny location, and go to work. When I come home, my evening coffee is ready. Just as smooth as cold brew coffee.

steve on Mar 20, 2020:

does this work with tea?

DM on Apr 23, 2019:

I know this is an older post, but I have a couple of comments - The CB at SBux is not just iced-down hot coffee. And, I've always heard that it should be coarse ground, not fine, for CB. I shall experiment...

Josh on Apr 25, 2016:

I've been doing my own cold brew for a while now. It's much better than buying it for 4$ a drink. I've found that a ratio of 1:3 coffee grounds to water works best for me. Besides adding heavy cream and water for my main drink it is also really good to add the cold brew concentrate to your post workout protein shake.

Phillip Stone on Apr 22, 2016:

Very cool (pun intended)! I've been snubbing my nose at cold coffee for years simply because when I make it, it tastes like old coffee haha. Looking forward to trying this technique!