Cold brew iced coffee is so easy to make at home and with a cold brew maker — it’s completely foolproof!
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Homemade Cold Brew Coffee
The easiest and best way to make iced coffee at home is to cold brew it. It’s the only way I make iced coffee at home.
Cold brew is smoother and mellower than regular iced coffee (hot coffee that has cooled down) due to the slow steeping process.
It’s low in acidity so it’s not as harsh on your stomach. Because there is no hot water involved, the coffee is less bitter.
Starbucks makes their cold brew by steeping coffee in cold water for 20 hours. Dunkin’ makes theirs by steeping 12 hours.
To make cold brew at home, all you need to do is combine ground coffee and cold water and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?
Iced coffee and cold brew may seem similar since they are both iced drinks but the difference is in how they are made.
Iced coffee is coffee brewed hot and then served over ice. Iced coffee can be made quickly and by the cup.
Cold brew is coffee steeped in cold water for a few hours. Cold brew is usually made in batches and cannot be made immediately.
My Trick to Making Cold Brew
I’ve tried many, many times to make cold brew coffee at home and none of them ever turned out nearly as good as the ones I’ve had at coffee shops.
Until…I started using a cold brew coffee maker.
What You’ll Need
- Coffee: Medium-coarse/French press grind is best.
- Filtered water: Use the best quality water possible for a better tasting cold brew.
- Cold brew coffee maker: Basically a pitcher with a fine mesh filter inside. Get the 1000ml sized pitcher to make 4 cups.
Here’s a quick overview of the steps. For full ingredients and instructions, scroll to the bottom.
1. Grind coffee.
Use medium-coarse grind, which is what you would use to make coffee in a French press. If you have the Barataza Encore coffee grinder, set it to #24.
You can also buy ground coffee and use that to make cold brew.
Barista’s Tip: The one thing you should splurge on to improve your coffee experience at home is a burr grinder.
2. Put ground coffee into the strainer.
Put the coffee into the cold brew maker’s strainer first, then place it into the pitcher to make sure you don’t accidentally put any of the ground coffee into the pitcher.
3. Pour room temperature water on top of the ground coffee.
Use filtered water if possible since water quality can make a huge difference in how the cold brew tastes.
4. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
After at least 12 hours in the refrigerator, the coffee will be nice and dark.
5. Remove filter and pour coffee into a cup with ice.
No need to dilute the coffee with water — adding the cold brew into ice dilutes it perfectly. But if you feel the cold brew is too strong for you, feel free to add some cold water.
Serve with milk or half & half and sweeten with quick simple syrup.
Add vanilla extract if you want to add extra flavoring to your cold brew.
- Grind coffee medium-coarse, which is the same setting as for brewing in a French press.
- I found 15 hours to be the sweet spot for making cold brew with medium-coarse coffee.
- Only have pre-ground coffee for a drip coffee machine? That works too! Just brew it in the refrigerator for 8 hours instead of 12 – 15 hours.
Questions You May Have
No. The recipe doesn’t require it to be watered down before drinking.
I usually do but it’s not necessary since the coffee is already chilled from being in the refrigerator.
I haven’t had as much success making cold brew coffee without a cold brew maker since the filter is key. A fine mesh filter makes sure all the tiny coffee bits don’t go into the drink, which means the coffee will come out clearer — no more cloudy coffee!
Iced coffee and cold brew can seem similar since they are both iced drinks but the difference is in how they are made. Iced coffee is coffee brewed hot and then served over ice. Iced coffee can be made quickly and by the cup. Cold brew is made using cold water and takes much longer. Cold brew is usually made in batches and cannot be made immediately. Iced coffee retains much more of the flavor of a hot coffee, whereas cold brew is distinctly less bitter.
- Decadent Iced Coffee
- Easy Home Coffee Setup
- Cold Brew Tea
- Easy Iced Brown Sugar Coffee
- Simple Homemade Syrups for Coffee and Tea
Cold Brew Coffee Made Easy
- 1 cup coffee beans
- 4 cups filtered water
- Grind coffee medium-coarse.Medium-coarse is the same setting used to brew coffee in a French press. On the Barataza Encore coffee grinder, set it to #24.You can also buy ground coffee and use that to make cold brew.
- Put ground coffee in the filter of a cold brew coffee maker.Put the coffee into the filter first, then place it into the pitcher to make sure you don't accidentally put any of the ground coffee into the pitcher.
- Pour room temperature filtered water on top of the ground coffee.The better the water, the better the coffee so use water that tastes great.
- Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
- Remove filter and pour coffee into a cup with ice.Optional: Serve with milk or half & half and sweeten with simple syrup. No need to dilute the coffee.