How to Make Cold Brew

Say yes to smooth, mellow cold brew! We’re sharing the ins and outs of how to make the best cup of cold brew coffee, how to serve it, and more.

Image of a mason jar filled with coffee grounds and water steeping to make cold brew. There's text over the jar that says "How to Make Cold Brew"

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Summer is here and honestly the thought of a hot cup of coffee in the morning or, dare we say it, as a late afternoon pick-me-up while the world around you positively swelters (seriously, are the windows melting?!) is just…not great. Like, is it possible to sweat on the inside of your body?… 

So, no no hot coffee and yes yes smooth, subtle cold brew. If you’ve never made cold brew coffee before, fret not! We have all the tips and tricks for you. You don’t need any fancy gear (although if you already have it, fun!), a simple mason jar and some coarse grounds of your favorite bean will do. And then, kick your feet up and get ready for the cool mellow caffeine boost that awaits you!

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

  1. Grind the beans on the coarsest setting on your coffee grinder. If you grind your beans at the grocery store, make sure to choose the French Press-style or coarse setting. We like this grinder* if you’re doing the grinding yourself.
Coffee grounds in a jar for cold brew coffee

2. Combine the coffee grounds and the water into a covered large jar or cold brew maker*. Make sure the grounds are completely saturated in the water.

Water being poured over coffee grounds in a mason jar for cold brew coffee

3. Let the coffee steep for ideally 18 hours. Less than that and the cold brew might taste a bit too watered down. More than that and the beans could get bitter-tasting. Your cold brew can be steeped at room temp on the counter or you can toss it in the fridge.

Ground steeping in water for cold brew coffee

4. Strain the beans. If you’re doing the jar method, put some cheesecloth over a fine-mesh strainer and strain the coffee into a clean jar. If you have a cold brew maker, things are super easy and you’ll just need to discard the soaked grounds.

Cold brew being filtered into jar

5. Store your freshly made cold brew in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Cold brew in a measuring cup

How Should I Serve My Cold Brew?

Cold brew coffee with coffee ice cubes in a glass

Lots of different ways to shake things up! You can add ice to a glass with a splash of your favorite cream and a swizzle of honey, or for a completely undiluted version, make coffee ice cubes (!!) and toss those in your cup with your cold brew.

Whoa, Wait! How Do I Make Coffee Ice Cubes?

Coffee ice cubes on a sheet pan

This might be the shortest and simplest recipe to ever exist on Pinch of Yum. Just pour coffee (hot or cold, whatever you have on hand) into ice cube trays* and freeze. Or, even better, make your ice cubes fancy*. That’s it – DONE! Level-up your cold brew by coffee by making an iced latte with coffee ice cubes. Put a few coffee ice cubes in a glass and top with your favorite creamer – your forever warm-weather sippin’ bev.

How Much Coffee Should I Use To Make Cold Brew?

We like using a ratio of 3/4 cup whole beans to 4 cups cold water.

Can I Make This Decaf?

Sure can! Just use decaf whole beans. These beans* are really good!

Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee To Make Cold Brew?

Coarse grind coffee beans for cold brew coffee

The best type of grind for making cold brew is a coarse grind (or French Press-style). Pre-ground coffee is usually a fine or espresso-style grind and doesn’t work super well for cold brew.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

Cold brew actually has a smoother and more mellow flavor than regular hot coffee.

Is Cold Brew The Same As Iced Coffee?

It’s a little bit different actually. Iced coffee can literally be made by plopping ice cubes in a hot cup of coffee brewed at double strength and letting it chill (a good option in a pinch), but if you have the time, cold brew coffee is so much more. It’s a bit lower in acidity, it’s steeped cold rather than hot brewed, tastes a little sweet depending on the beans you pick, and has a smoother taste compared to iced coffee. Fair warning, there’s usually a bit more caffeine in cold brew, too (wheeeeee!!). The caffeine order from most caffeine to least caffeine here is hot coffee, cold brew, and then iced coffee.

Are There Other Products I Can Use To Make Cold Brew?

Absolutely! Here are a few of our favorites.


Need Some Breakfast Inspo to Pair with Your Cup O’Joe? Check out our best life-changing healthy breakfasts!

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24 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    joan

    Add 2 T brown sugar and 1 t. cinnamon to your coffee grounds and it’s an even better treat!!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    janet Rouillard

    Never heard about this. Don’t quite understand it
    I usually go to Google or Facebook

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Jennifer

      This post is perfect timing. I was just telling my husband how I want to premake some iced coffee for vacation. Question though…the beans I have are already grounded, how much do i use? I see in the instructions to use 3/4 cup whole beans.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Joan H Broome

    Hi PUM! Could you give us the name of the grinder you recommend…no page found on your link. I have been needing a coarse-grind coffee grinder but am uncertain which to get. If you fix the link, problem solved! JB

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Debbie

    I bought a cold brew pot from Primula that makes it so easy to make cold brew. It has a reusable mesh basket to put your grounds in and you can keep it in the fridge. When I make a glass, I add cold brew, ice, a splash of Italian Creme coffee creamer, and a few pumps of Salted Dark Chocolate Espresso from Skinny Syrups. Very good!!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jennifer

    This post is perfect timing. I was just telling my husband how I want to premake some iced coffee for vacation. Question though…the beans I have are already grounded, how much do i use? I see in the instructions to use 3/4 cup whole beans.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Courtney

    I just bought the OXO cold brew maker about a month ago and I love it!! I make it almost twice a week and its perfect at the 18 hour mark. If you want it to taste close to Starbucks cold brew try their Komodo dragon roasted coffee. A tip from my stepdaughter who works there.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nancy

    Could you give the amount to use in grams or ounces. I buy pre-ground and weighing is always more consistent. Thanks

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Sabine

      I make 1 gallon of cold brew at a time for the whole family. I use a gallon container and add 6 ounces coffee grounds and then fill with filtered water. I let it sit for 24 hours then strain into several jugs and keep in the fridge. It only lasts about 3 days since several of us drink it. It is not concentrated but is used like regular coffee,

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Chip Houze

    Why not use a french press to make cold brew? Use cold water instead of hot, and let it steep the same time and you have a built in strainer. Yes smaller amounts but should work. Or even use the french press as a strainer only, might have to do batches but hey that’s what it does well.