There’s no time like summer to learn how to make cold brew coffee at home. Luckily, it’s super easy, and we even have a trick for making sure it doesn’t get watered down.
Cold brew is not only the most refreshing way to enjoy coffee in warmer weather, it’s less acidic than conventional hot coffee. And the slow extraction of the cold brewing process results in a rich, smooth flavor. But buying cold brew can really add up.
Making it at home saves money, especially if you eschew fancy cold brew pitchers and machines. All you really need to DIY is a mason jar, a mesh sieve, and coffee filters.
As for the ingredients, good coffee beans are essential, of course, as is your water. (In fact, that’s the most important aspect of making the best cold brew, according to one expert. So filtered water is a good idea if you don’t like the taste of your tap.)
Here’s the easiest way to make cold brew at home:
What You Need to Make Cold Brew in a Mason Jar
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely ground coffee (dark roast)
- cold water (make sure it tastes good on its own); room temperature is also fine, just make sure it’s not hot water
- 32-ounce mason jar
- fine mesh strainer
- coffee filter (or a few layers of cheesecloth)
- large bowl
Ball Regular Mouth 32-Ounce Mason Jars, 2 for $16.98 from Amazon
An ever versatile piece of kitchen equipment.
Related Reading on CNET: The Best Coffee Grinders for 2020
How to Make Cold Brew in a Mason Jar
1. Place the freshly ground coffee in the mason jar.
2. Add enough cold water to fill the jar halfway. Stir.
3. Fill the jar the rest of the way with cold water. Stir again.
4. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. (Our video producer Olivia picked 16 hours as the sweet spot, but experiment with different times depending on how strong you like your brew.)
5. When the brewing time is up, place the mesh strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with a coffee filter. This is to keep the finer grounds from getting into the bowl.
6. Slowly pour the cold brew through the lined strainer. (You can use the coffee grounds in your garden.)
7. Rinse out the jar and pour the coffee back in. Put the cap back on and store in the fridge for up to a week.
You can adjust the above cold brew ratio to use slightly less coffee (1 cup instead of 1 1/2).
If you like, you can try adding things like brown sugar and cinnamon to your grounds during the steeping process, as in this Magic Coffee recipe.
If you have a nut milk bag, you can put your coffee grounds in that before adding to the jar, topping it up with water, and steeping (so you can skip the straining step later).
And this same cold brew process works in a 32-ounce French press if you already have one of those.
How to Drink Cold Brew
What you have here is a potent cold brew concentrate, meaning you probably don’t want to sip it straight; dilute it to taste with additional water, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla oat milk, or whatever else you like. (But dilute each glass rather than the entire batch at once, as that makes the flavor degrade faster.)
You can also add simple syrup or the sweetener of your choice to each serving. Liquid sweeteners are best since they dissolve faster.
Pro Tip: Make Coffee Ice Cubes Too
Using coffee cubes instead of regular ice is a simple but brilliant move that not only keeps your cold brew chill, but prevents it from getting watered down as the ice melts. Use silicone ice cube molds for easy release.
Silicone Ice Cube Trays with Lids, 2 for $13.99 from Amazon
For a little extra buzz.
With this cold brew recipe, you’re ready to face the rest of summer, but there are still other ways to enjoy it:
Header image courtesy of Olivia Geyelin