By: Jason Guanso

May 6, 2023

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How to Make Cold Brew at Home (4 Methods)

Making cold brew at home is an excellent way to save money while enjoying your favorite coffee drink. You can use various methods depending on the equipment you have available.

In this post, we look at four different methods for making cold brew at home:

  1. Using a french press
  2. Using mason jars
  3. Using a nut milk bag
  4. Using specialty cold brew makers

We also cover some general guides/tips for making and keeping cold brew.

How to Make Cold Brew at Home (4 Methods)

Using a French Press

If you have a French press, it’s a great tool for making cold brew. We wrote a post on how to use a french press to make cold brew.

Mason Jar Method

If you don’t have a French press, you can use a mason jar or any large glass container with a lid.

  • Coarsely grind your coffee beans (1:8 coffee-to-water ratio).
  • Add the coffee grounds and cold water to the mason jar.
  • Stir to make sure all the coffee grounds are saturated.
  • Seal the jar with a lid and place it in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
  • After steeping, use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.
  • Store your cold brew concentrate in the fridge and dilute with water or milk before serving.

Using a Nut Milk Bag

A nut milk bag is a reusable, fine-mesh bag designed for straining nut milk but can also be used to make cold brew.

  • Coarsely grind your coffee beans (1:8 coffee-to-water ratio).
  • Place the coffee grounds in the nut milk bag and tie it closed.
  • Put the bag in a large container and pour cold water over it.
  • Stir the water to make sure the coffee grounds are saturated.
  • Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
  • After steeping, remove the nut milk bag and squeeze out any remaining liquid.
  • Store your cold brew concentrate in the fridge and dilute with water or milk before serving.

Regardless of the method you choose, you can experiment with the coffee-to-water ratio and steeping time to find the perfect cold brew for your taste. Remember to use good-quality, fresh coffee beans for the best flavor.

Use a Cold Brew Maker

Several specialized cold brew makers on the market are designed to make brewing cold brew coffee more convenient and consistent. Some popular options include:

  1. Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot: This cold brew maker features a built-in mesh filter, making it easy to brew and strain cold brew without any additional equipment. The Hario Mizudashi is available in different sizes and is made of high-quality, heat-resistant glass.
  2. OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker: This cold brew maker uses a unique “rainmaker” system to evenly distribute water over the coffee grounds, ensuring a consistent extraction. The OXO Good Grips maker also features a switch for easy filtration, allowing you to filter the concentrate directly into a glass carafe.
  3. Toddy Cold Brew System: The Toddy system uses a reusable felt filter and a rubber stopper to create a simple, no-mess brewing experience. This system is designed to minimize acidity in the final brew, making it a great option for those with sensitive stomachs.
  4. KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker: This cold brew maker is designed with a stainless steel steeper and a compact footprint, making it an attractive and functional option for those with limited counter space. The KitchenAid maker also includes a built-in tap for easy concentrate dispensing.
  5. Filtron Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewer: The Filtron system combines a paper filter and a reusable felt filter to create a smooth, sediment-free cold brew. This system produces a concentrate with low acidity and a rich flavor.

Each of these cold brew makers offers a slightly different approach to the brewing process, so consider factors like capacity, ease of use, and available counter space when selecting a cold brew maker. While specialized cold brew makers can make the process more streamlined, remember that you can still make great cold brew coffee with simpler methods like using a French press or mason jar.

Tips and Guides for Making Cold Brew at Home

How Long to Brew Cold Brew (Steeping Time)

The brewing time for cold brew coffee can vary depending on your personal taste preferences and the flavor profile you’re aiming for. The standard steeping time for cold brew is usually between 12-24 hours, but you can experiment within this range to find the ideal brewing time for you.

  • Shorter steeping time (12-16 hours): A shorter steeping time typically results in a lighter, less concentrated, and less bitter flavor. This can be a good starting point if you prefer a milder cold brew or if you’re using beans with more delicate, nuanced flavors.
  • Longer steeping time (18-24 hours): A longer one will produce a stronger, more concentrated, and slightly more bitter flavor. Those who enjoy a robust, bold cold brew often prefer this. The longer extraction time allows more of the coffee’s flavor compounds to be extracted, resulting in a richer taste.

Remember that steeping for more than 24 hours may lead to over-extraction and an undesirable, overly bitter flavor. The brewing process can be fine-tuned by adjusting the coffee-to-water ratio, grind size, and steeping time. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the perfect cold brew to suit your taste preferences.

How Long Cold Brew Lasts

Cold brew coffee concentrate can last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but the quality and taste will be at their best if consumed within the first week.

During the first week, you can expect your cold brew to retain most of its original flavor, but after that, it may start to lose some of its freshness and taste a bit stale. To help maintain the quality and taste of your cold brew, store it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Keep in mind that once the cold brew concentrate is diluted with water, milk, or any other additives, its shelf life will be significantly reduced. It’s best to dilute the cold brew concentrate on a per-serving basis, rather than diluting the entire batch at once, to ensure maximum freshness and taste.

Diluting Your Cold Brew Concentrate

When diluting cold brew concentrate, the ideal ratio will depend on your personal taste preferences. Here’s a general guide to help you find the right dilution ratio for your taste:

  1. Mild: If you prefer a lighter, less intense coffee flavor, start with a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of cold brew concentrate to water or milk (e.g., 1 part cold brew concentrate to 3 or 4 parts water/milk).
  2. Balanced: For a more balanced taste that’s not too strong or too weak, try a 1:2 ratio of cold brew concentrate to water or milk (e.g., 1 part cold brew concentrate to 2 parts water/milk).
  3. Strong: If you enjoy a robust, bold flavor, use a 1:1 ratio of cold brew concentrate to water or milk (e.g., 1 part cold brew concentrate to 1 part water/milk).

These ratios are just starting points. Feel free to experiment with different ratios to find the one that suits your taste preferences best. You can also adjust the strength of your cold brew by tweaking the initial coffee-to-water ratio when brewing the concentrate.

Additionally, consider factors like the type of roast, the origin of the beans, and the freshness of the coffee when determining the dilution ratio. These factors can all impact the final flavor of your cold brew. Keep in mind that you can always add more water or milk to your cold brew if you find it too strong, or add more concentrate if you’d like a bolder flavor.

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