Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Once you know how to make Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, you’ll never buy it again! With just two ingredients, it’s easy and budget-friendly to make with your favorite coffee beans.

Milk and coffee swirl together among ice cubes in a mason jar glass with a handle.

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Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate recipe

The cost of groceries is really going up, and I am trying to cut corners where I can.

One thing I’ve been doing a lot of lately is making cold-brew coffee at home instead of buying it pre-made at the store.

It’s sooo much cheaper and more delicious! My husband is a bit of a coffee snob, so we always have great-tasting beans on hand.

I love how easy it is, too. I just put coffee grounds and water together in a jar and let it sit overnight. By the next day, we have ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee. It’s great on its own or you can use it in cocktails like Iced Irish Coffee.

Why you’ll love this recipe

The brewing process for making your own cold brew concentrate is so simple and it tastes SO good. You aren’t going to go back to buying it pre-made!

  • With just two ingredients, it’s easy to make and cheaper than store-bought and the coffee shop.
  • Drink it black or customize each cup with your favorite sweetener and creamer.
  • Cold brew coffee tastes less bitter than coffee that’s prepared hot.

This is the BEST cold brew coffee recipe and it makes such good, strong coffee.

You can keep it in the fridge to enjoy every day. It’s also a great way to serve iced coffee to a crowd of people, say for a breakfast or brunch.

Ice cubes chill a mason jar glass of dark brown cold brew coffee with a striped blue and white straw.

What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground coffee beans in cold water for 6-12 hours. No heat is required to make it.

It has a less bitter and acidic flavor than regular coffee because cold water makes the coffee take longer to oxidize.

Cold brewing makes incredible iced coffee, which you can then sweeten, add milk or drink plain. You can also use it in baking recipes and cocktails.

A hand pours milk into a glass of iced coffee. A striped blue dish towel rests in the background.

Ingredients

Who doesn’t love a short ingredient list? Here’s everything you need to grab at the grocery store to make cold brew coffee:

Coffee beans

Ground coffee beans are what you need for cold brew coffee. The coarser the coffee grind size, the better.

Pre-ground coffee will work just fine. If you are grinding whole beans at the store or at home with a coffee grinder, set it to the coarsest setting.

You will need about 1 cups of grounds for every 1 quart of water for a strong cold brew concentrate or ½ cup grounds and 1 quart of water for cold brew coffee.

Water

Fresh, filtered water is perfect for making cold brew coffee. You can also use distilled water from the store or boil water to get rid of impurities.

It may seem silly to take these extra steps, but this is actually the best way to ensure there are no bacteria in your coffee, which is more likely to build up when using tap water.

Use cold or room temperature water to make cold brew coffee.

Additions

Don’t forget to grab your favorite coffee mix-ins:

  • Heavy cream or half-and-half
  • Milks such as whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk or skim milk
  • Non-dairy milks such as almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk or soy milk
  • Flavored creamers
  • Sweeteners like simple syrup, flavored syrups or Sugar substitutes like Stevia or sugar-free syrup
Coffee beans in a white and blue bowl on a marble slab with more coffee beans scattered about.

Best coffee beans for cold brew

The best coffee beans for cold brew are typically medium roast or dark roast coffee beans.

When coffee is cold brewed, it’s not as acidic and bitter as hot brewed coffee. You can really appreciate the flavor a lot more and these stronger roasts will really shine.

You can even pick up some pre-bagged cold brew beans, like Grady’s Cold Brew brand, for coffee that’s designed for cold brewing.

A filter for cold brew coffee rests in an empty mason jar.

What you need to make cold brew coffee

I recommend a glass, food-safe container such as a mason jar, pitcher or a large bowl that has a lid.

Whether you use tea bags or tea leaves, you can use a pitcher or jar that is designed for cold-brewing. I use this cold-brew jar that has a strainer. You can also use it to make cold brew tea.

Disposable cold brew bags can also help to contain the coffee grounds, and you can simply throw them away or compost them after. They are sort of like a coffee filter in bag form. Less mess is always a great idea in my book!

Alternatively, you can also use a French press, which is great if you don’t have tea bags or a strainer, because you can just push it down.

If you don’t have any of these, you can put them in a stainless-steel strainer that you rest in the water, or you can simply add the grounds loose in the water and strain them out later.

A glass of iced cold brew coffee sits with a blue striped dish towel.

How much coffee for cold brew

In short: The more grounds you use, the stronger the coffee will be. However, it’s important to use the proper coffee to water ratio.

If you are making cold brew concentrate, which is a stronger brew that can be diluted with water and milk, you’ll want about 1 cups of grounds for every 1 quart of water.

For regular cold brew coffee that’s drinkable straight out of a pitcher, use about ½ cup grounds for every 1 quart of water.

Coffee is cold brewed in a jar.
A mason jar with lid contains rich, dark cold brew coffee.

How to make cold brew coffee

Cold brewing coffee is very easy to do!

  1. First you will need to grind your coffee beans if they’re not already ground. (I have this coffee grinder.)
  2. Then to a large pitcher, mason jar or another container, add your coffee grounds to a tea ball strainer, into disposable tea bags or put them in loose.
  3. Top the grounds with cold water. Cover it to avoid any other flavors seeping in! Then place it in the fridge or on the counter to let the coffee and water do their thing. Steep for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature or 24 to 48 hours in the fridge.
  4. After the allotted time, remove the strainer or bags holding the coffee grounds. If you put the coffee grounds in loose, use a fine mesh sieve to remove the grounds.

Then you can enjoy your cold brew coffee. If you made concentrate, add one part concentrate and one part water to a glass. It can be hot or cold water — up to you! If you didn’t make concentrate, you can just pour it right into the glass. Then you can add ice, sweeten the coffee or add milk if you desire.

Keep it stored in the fridge. Cold brew coffee will stay fresh in the fridge for 7-10 days.

How to make cold brew concentrate

You can make a stronger cold brew called cold brew coffee concentrate.

If you drink a lot of iced coffee or if you have multiple people in your household who like their coffee at varying strengths, a delicious cold brew concentrate might be just the thing for you.

That’s because the concentrate is stronger, so you’ll want to dilute it with water or milk for each cup of coffee. You can adjust it until you find the right balance for you.

Use a 1:1 ratio of concentrate to hot water (for hot coffee) or cold water (for iced coffee).

An iced coffee sits in a mason jar glass with a striped blue and white straw.

How to drink cold brew coffee

Cold brew is refreshing when served cold over ice, but you can also warm it up in the microwave to make hot coffee in a pinch. Either way, you’ll get your caffeine fix!

You can sweeten it or add your favorite milk, half-and-half or coffee creamer. Drinking black coffee is fine too!

If you’re in the mood for something fancier, you can serve it with whipped cream on top.

You can also make cold foam to go on top and blend into the drink, like we do in this pumpkin cream cold brew.

For an adult treat, add a shot of liqueur. This Baileys iced coffee is perfection.

several jars of different color simple syrups

Cold brew coffee sweeteners

Sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold beverages, so it helps to use your favorite sugar substitute or a homemade simple syrup.

Plain simple syrup is made with just sugar and water, but you can also add flavors. Try one of these common coffee syrups:

a gold spoon, a gold jigger and two Irish coffees

Uses for cold brew coffee

Drinking cold brew as iced coffee is a classic, but you can use cold brew in so many ways.

Mix the cold coffee with club soda to make iced coffee drinks like the coffee soda, which is a refreshing summer pick-me-up.

Use the concentrate instead of fresh espresso to make an espresso martini.

Blend it up into a mocha smoothie or use it in baking recipes that call for rich coffee, like this chocolate cake.

And if you have any left over, did you know you could use coffee to water your plants?!

More coffee recipes

Milk and coffee swirl together among ice cubes in a mason jar glass with a handle.

Cold Brew Coffee

Yield: 1 quart
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 10 minutes
Cold Brew Coffee is a delicious way to enjoy a cuppa. Make a cold brew concentrate or ready-to-drink coffee, then flavor it with your favorite syrups and milk if desired. Serve it hot or cold.
4.92 from 48 votes
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ingredients

For cold brew concentrate:

  • 1 cup ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups cold water

For cold brew coffee

  • ½ cup ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups cold water

instructions

  • To a large pitcher, add coffee grounds in disposable coffee filter bags or a strainer. (You can also put them in loose, but it requires an extra step of straining.)
  • Top the grounds with cold water. Cover it to avoid any other flavors seeping in.
  • Place it in the fridge or on the counter. Steep for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature or 24 to 48 hours in the fridge.
  • After the allotted time, remove the strainer or bags holding the coffee grounds. If you put the coffee grounds in loose, use a fine mesh strainer to remove the grounds.
  • Cold brew coffee and cold brew concentrate will stay fresh in the fridge for 7-10 days.
  • To make coffee with cold brew concentrate: Use a 1:1 ratio of concentrate to hot water (for hot coffee) or cold water (for iced coffee). You can also use milk.

notes

Cold Brew Ratios

This recipe can be easily multiplied if you follow the proper ratio.
Ready-to-drink cold brew coffee: This is a perfectly-balanced cold brew that’s drinkable straight out of the pitcher. Use about ½ cup grounds for every 1 quart of water.
Cold brew concentrate: This is a stronger brew that must be diluted with water or milk to make a cup of coffee. Because of this, you end up with more cups of coffee than the ready-to-drink method. You’ll want about 1 cups of grounds for every 1 quart of water.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 quart

amount per serving:

Serving: 1oz Sodium: 95mg Calcium: 57mg
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