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 a 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. It’s been gaining a ton of popularity in recent years as the big coffee chains have mastered how to make specialty cold brew drinks, but you don’t need to pay $5 for a coffee that will kick you into gear. 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 of drops of vanilla, and a couple of drops of almond extract.
Like one of those fancy barista flavored 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 ( 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 your own brew! Serve it at your next shindig or enjoy it while kicking back in your backyard. Yep, you’re welcome.

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