Cold Brew Coffee

A Coffee Brewing Guide: Cold Brew

By Coffeenated Stories | 14 min read

Updated On: FEB 02 2024

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In the world of coffee, a brewing method that has been steadily gaining popularity and capturing the hearts of coffee enthusiasts: cold brew. While traditionally, hot brewing methods have reigned supreme; cold brew offers a refreshing and unique alternative that has taken the coffee world by storm.

There's a certain magic to cold brew coffee that sets it apart from other brewing methodsIn essence, cold brew is a brewing technique that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold or room temperature water for an extended period, typically ranging from 16 to 24 hours. This slow extraction process brings out a unique flavor profile and creates a coffee concentrate that can be enjoyed in various ways.

Cold Brew Coffee
Cold Brew Coffee
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One of the defining characteristics of cold brew is its smooth and mellow flavor. Unlike hot-brewed coffee, which can sometimes be characterized by acidity and bitterness, cold brew possesses a remarkably gentle and balanced taste. The prolonged steeping in cold water extracts fewer of the compounds that contribute to acidity, resulting in a beverage that is often described as smoother and less harsh on the palate.

The reduced acidity of cold brew is a major draw for those who find acidic coffees difficult to digest or prefer a less acidic coffee experience. This feature also allows the other flavor nuances of the coffee beans to shine through. Cold brew often exhibits notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuttiness, creating a rich and indulgent taste profile.

It's worth noting that cold brew is not just a method for making iced coffee. While iced coffee typically involves brewing hot coffee and cooling it down, cold brew is a distinct process that uses cold-water extraction to create a unique flavor profile. Cold brew is also typically concentrated, meaning it needs to be diluted with water or milk before consumption to achieve the desired strength and flavor.

Cold Brew Diluted with Water
Cold Brew Diluted with Water
Cold Brew Diluted with Milk
Cold Brew Diluted with Milk
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/OPDy4nYsIQU
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/tU97-ceagL4

The beauty of cold brew lies in its versatility. The concentrated nature of cold brew allows for flexibility in preparing various coffee-based beverages. We can dilute it with water or milk to create a refreshing iced coffee or use it as a base for specialty drinks such as lattes or even cocktails.

Cold Brew Concentrate
Cold Brew Concentrate
Photo by Ata Ebem: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-person-pouring-a-cold-brew-in-a-glass-of-iced-lemonade-10673542/

Before we proceed with the steps for brewing Cold brew coffee, it's important to consider the different equipment options available. These are designed to make the process of creating cold brew coffee simpler and more convenient in your home.

Cold Brew Equipment

When brewing cold-brew coffee, having the right equipment can enhance your brewing experience and help you achieve delicious results. Here are some popular options to consider:

Cold Brew Makers: Cold brew makers are specifically designed for the cold brewing process. They typically consist of a pitcher or carafe with a built-in filter or infuser. Cold brew makers simplify the brewing process by providing a convenient way to steep and strain the coffee grounds. They often come in different sizes and materials, such as glass or BPA-free plastic, allowing you to choose the one that suits your needs.

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Cold-brew Coffee Makers

Cold Brew Pioneer
Toddy Cold Brew System

Toddy Cold Brew System

Discover the original cold brew pioneer and elevate your coffee experience with the Toddy Cold Brew System.

  • The set includes a brewing container with a handle, a glass decanter with a lid, 2 reusable filters, one silicone stopper, a set of instructions, and a new brewing container lid.
  • The Toddy Cold Brew System is made of BPA-free materials, providing peace of mind for health-conscious users.
  • Its cold water filtration process extracts the true flavor of coffee beans while reducing acidity, resulting in a remarkably smooth and delicious brew.
  • The coffee concentrate stays fresh for up to 2 weeks without any flavor changes, allowing you to get more out of your coffee grounds.
  • When purchased from an authorized reseller, the system comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty, ensuring quality and durability.
Most Popular
Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a convenient and efficient choice for making incredibly rich and smooth cold brew coffee at home.

  • The Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker is designed to be hassle-free, with easy-to-use components, dishwasher-safe parts, and durable glass construction.
  • With a capacity of up to 6 cups (52 ounces), it provides plenty of smooth and delicious cold brew coffee to enjoy throughout the day.
  • A slow-brewed cup of cold brew coffee from the Primula Burke Deluxe is the perfect way to start your day, and this coffee maker makes the process simple and affordable.
  • Primula is an industry leader with over 30 years of experience, delivering high-quality, award-winning products that are patented, thoroughly tested, and highly reviewed.

Immersion Brewers: Immersion brewers, such as French presses or large mason jars, are commonly used for making cold brews at home. With immersion brewing, you combine coffee grounds and cold water in a container, allowing them to steep together. After the steeping period, a separate filtering step is required to separate the grounds from the liquid. French presses, particularly, are popular due to their built-in filtration system.

Coffee Lover's Delight

Mueller French Press

Mueller French Press is an exceptional choice that will exceed your expectations.

Mueller French Press
  • Triple-layered filter structure: This innovative design ensures that no sediment enters your cup while allowing the delicious coffee oils to pass through.
  • Matching travel canister: This convenient addition allows you to carry enough coffee beans or grounds for two whole batches, ensuring that you can enjoy your favorite brew even on the go.
  • Double-layered stainless steel: This coffee maker not only does it retain heat exceptionally well, keeping your coffee hot for a remarkable 60 minutes longer than thinner steel and glass models, but it is also drop-proof and rust-proof.
  • Versatile: It serves as a handy appliance for brewing tea, creating pleasant MCT oil coffee, indulging in hot chocolate, experimenting with cold brew, frothing milk to perfection, and even making infused beverages with almond milk, cashew milk, or fruit infusions.
  • Excellent gift choice: Whether it's a housewarming, wedding, birthday, or any celebration, this coffee maker will impress coffee and tea lovers alike.

Filtration Methods: Filtration is an important step in the cold brew process to remove the coffee grounds and obtain a smooth liquid. Various filtration methods can be employed. You can strain the cold brew with a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Alternatively, you can use nut milk bags, reusable cloth filters, or even paper filters.

Editor's choice

No Mess Cold Brew Coffee Filters

The easy-to-use No Mess Cold Brew Coffee Filters make brewing cold brew coffee a breeze. Simply put the coffee grounds into the filter bag, brew with cool water, and steep in the fridge overnight. It's as easy as that!

No Mess Cold Brew Coffee Filters
  • Natural and Durable Material: The filter bags are made from natural commercially compostable fine fiber that is super-strong and resists tearing while filtering, similar to paper. The reinforced seams ensure that the bags won't separate during the brewing process.
  • Versatile: The bags are great for use with common cold brew systems and most cold brew coffee makers. Not only can they be used for cold brew coffee, but they also work well as an extra-large tea bag infuser pouch, lemon citrus, hot tea & fruit water infuser, home brewing, dry hopping, hop bag, or spice sack for soups and boils.
  • Less Chunks, More Flavor: The ultra-fine mesh of the cold brew coffee bags means that there will be less sludge fines ending up in your coffee compared to plastic, cloth coffee socks, or metal cold brew filters. The drawstring on each bag closes tight, retaining all fine and coarse coffee grounds better than metal or plastic cold brew coffee makers.

DIY Methods: Cold brew can also be made using readily available kitchen items. A large jar or container with a lid can serve as your brewing vessel. After steeping, you can strain the cold brew using a fine mesh sieve or multiple layers of cheesecloth. DIY methods offer flexibility and can be a cost-effective way to get started with cold brew.

When selecting cold brew equipment, consider factors such as convenience, brewing capacity, ease of cleaning, and the desired brewing method. Choose equipment that fits your lifestyle and preferences, whether it's a purpose-built cold brew maker or a simple DIY setup.

Remember, the most important aspect of cold brew brewing is achieving the right grind size, steeping time, and coffee-to-water ratio. Your chosen equipment should facilitate brewing and help you achieve consistent and delicious cold-brew coffee.

Brewing Cold Brew Coffee: Step-by-Step Guide

Brewing your own batch of cold brew coffee is a rewarding and straightforward process. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a delicious and refreshing cold brew concentrate at home:

  1. Select Your Coffee Beans: Start with high-quality coffee beans that align with your flavor preferences. While the choice of beans depends on personal taste, medium-dark and dark roast beans are often preferred for cold brew concentrate due to their rich and robust flavor profiles. The lighter roasts are best for ready-to-drink cold brew coffee with a higher, usually 1:12 to 1:15, coffee-to-water ratio. Experiment with different origins and blends to discover your favorite combination.
  2. Grind the Coffee: Coarsely grind the coffee beans specifically for cold brew. The coarse grind allows for optimal extraction during the steeping process. Using a burr grinder or seeking the assistance of your local coffee shop to achieve a consistently coarse grind is recommended.
  3. Measure the Coffee-to-Water Ratio: Determine the desired strength of your cold brew concentrate. A common starting point is a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:5 to 1:7. For example, mix a dose of 200g (7 ounces) of coarsely ground coffee with 1L (33 ounces) of cold water. Adjust the ratio according to your taste preferences and desired strength.
  4. Combine Coffee and Water: Combine the measured coffee grounds and cold water in a large container or brewing vessel. Stir gently to ensure all the coffee grounds are saturated. Make sure to use filtered water for the best flavor.
  5. Steep the Coffee: Cover the container and let the coffee steep at room temperature or in the refrigerator for an extended period, typically no less than 16 up to 24 hours. Steeping time affects the strength and flavor of the cold brew. You can experiment with different steeping times to find your ideal brewing duration.
  6. Filter the Brew: After the steeping period, it's time to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. Place a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a pitcher or jar. Slowly pour the cold brew through the sieve to strain out the grounds. You will need to repeat the process again by running the once-sieved coffee through a paper filter for extra filtration.
  7. Dilute and Serve: The resulting brew is a concentrated cold brew that needs to be diluted before consumption. Cut the cold brew concentrate with equal parts of water or milk, depending on your taste preferences. You can adjust the dilution ratio based on your desired strength. Serve the cold brew over ice, or enjoy it as is.

Remember, brewing cold-brew coffee is an opportunity for experimentation. Feel free to adjust the grind size, steeping time, and water-to-coffee ratio to discover the flavor profile that suits your taste preferences best. With practice, you'll refine your brewing technique and develop your unique cold brew recipe.

Serving and Enjoying Cold Brew Coffee

Now that you have brewed a delicious batch of cold brew concentrate, it's time to explore the various ways to serve and enjoy this refreshing beverage. Here are some tips and ideas to elevate your cold brew experience:

Dilution Options: Cold brew concentrate is stronger than regular brewed coffee and is typically diluted before consumption. Experiment with different dilution ratios to find your preferred taste. Start by diluting the cold brew concentrate with an equal amount of still, sparkling water or milk. Adjust the dilution based on your desired strength and flavor preferences. Remember, dilution is a personal choice, and you can tailor it to your liking.

Cold Brew Coffee with Milk
Cold Brew Coffee with Milk
Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/F0Wd4djYvSA

Serve Over Ice: Cold brew is often enjoyed over ice, making it a perfect choice for a chilled and refreshing coffee experience. Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour your cold brew over them. As the ice melts, it gradually dilutes the cold brew, creating a well-balanced and thirst-quenching beverage. Use large ice cubes, or consider using coffee ice cubes to prevent excessive dilution.

Cold Brew Coffee with Ice
Cold Brew Coffee with Ice
Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/8yeEOA1G7TQ

Serving Vessels: Choose a vessel that complements your cold brew experience. Mason jars, tall glasses, or insulated tumblers work well. Opt for a vessel with a wide opening to capture the aroma of the cold brew, or choose a vessel with a lid if you prefer to take your cold brew on the go. Get creative and find a vessel that adds to the enjoyment of your cold brew moment.

Flavor Enhancements: While cold brew is delicious on its own, you can further enhance its flavor with various additions. Consider adding a splash of flavored syrup, such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut, to sweeten and personalize your cold brew. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder for a touch of warmth and depth. These simple flavorings can elevate your cold brew and cater to your taste preferences.

Garnishes and Accents: A visually appealing presentation can enhance the overall enjoyment of your cold brew. Garnish your cold brew with a slice of citrus fruit, such as orange or lemon, to add a bright and refreshing twist. Add a sprig of fresh mint or a cinnamon stick for aromatic accents. These simple touches can make your cold brew experience even more delightful.

Cold Brew Coffee with Lemon and Mint
Cold Brew Coffee with Lemon and Mint
Photo by Daniela Díaz on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/vHrO8PQCPjM

Beyond the Glass: Cold brew is not limited to a simple glass of iced coffee. It can be incorporated into various recipes and creations. Use cold brew as a base for coffee cocktails, such as espresso martinis or coffee-infused liqueurs—experiment with adding cold brew to your favorite smoothie recipes for a caffeine boost. You can even use cold brew in dessert recipes like ice cream, popsicles or as a unique ingredient in baked goods.

Cold Brew Cocktail
Cold Brew Cocktail
Photo by Valeria Boltneva: https://www.pexels.com/photo/iced-coffee-with-rosemary-and-lime-7474152/

Remember, the beauty of cold brew lies in its versatility and adaptability. Feel free to experiment and customize your cold brew experience to match your preferences and creative instincts. The options are endless, whether you enjoy it over ice, try different flavor combinations, or incorporate it into culinary delights.

Storage and Shelf Life of Cold Brew Coffee

After brewing a delightful batch of cold brew coffee, it's important to understand how to store it to maintain its freshness and quality properly. Here are some key considerations for storing and extending the shelf life of your cold brew:

Refrigeration: Cold brew should be stored in the refrigerator to maintain its flavors and prevent the growth of bacteria. Transfer the cold brew to a sealed container or jar before refrigerating. That helps preserve its taste and protect it from absorbing any strong odors in the refrigerator.

Recommended Storage Duration: Cold brew is best consumed within one week of brewing for optimal flavor. As the days' progress, the flavors may gradually change, and the brew may lose some of its vibrancy and freshness. To fully enjoy the nuances of the cold brew, consuming it within the first few days after brewing is recommended.

Sealed Containers: Store your cold brew in airtight containers or bottles designed for food storage. That helps prevent exposure to air, leading to flavor degradation and oxidation. Ensure that the containers are clean and properly sanitized to maintain the freshness of your cold brew.

Batch Size Considerations: If you anticipate consuming only part of the batch of cold brew within a week, consider making smaller batches. That gives you a fresh supply of cold brew throughout the week and ensures each serving retains its flavors and quality. If you make a larger batch, divide it into smaller portions and store them separately to minimize exposure to air and maintain freshness.

Use Your Senses: While the recommended storage durations serve as guidelines, it's important to trust your senses and use your discretion. If your cold brew develops an off odor, mold, or a noticeable change in taste, it's best to discard it and brew a fresh batch. Always prioritize safety and quality when consuming stored cold brew.

By following these storage practices, you can prolong the freshness and enjoyment of your cold brew coffee. Remember, while cold brew can be made and stored in advance, it is best enjoyed when fresh.

Cold Brew Variations

Cold brew coffee provides a versatile canvas for creativity and flavor experimentation. Here are some exciting variations to take your cold brew experience to the next level:

Nitro Cold Brew: Nitro cold brew is a popular variation that infuses the cold brew with nitrogen gas. This process creates a smooth and creamy texture similar to that of a stout beer. Nitro cold brew is often served on draft or from nitro cans, giving it a mesmerizing cascading effect when poured. The nitrogen enhances the mouthfeel and adds a luxurious touch to the cold brew experience.

Pouring Nitro Cold Brew
Pouring Nitro Cold Brew
Photo by Ryan Spaulding on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/3Ff9E-KF8gs

Flavored Cold Brew: Cold brew is an excellent base for incorporating additional flavors. You can experiment with various flavorings to create unique taste profiles. Consider adding a dash of vanilla extract, a sprinkle of cocoa powder, or a pinch of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg. These flavor additions can complement the natural flavors of the coffee and add depth and complexity to your cold brew.

Cold Brew Mocktails: Cold brew can be transformed into refreshing and non-alcoholic mocktails. Combine cold brew with flavored sparkling water, fruit juices, or even herbal infusions to create delightful and vibrant mocktail concoctions. Garnish with fruit slices, herbs, or a touch of sweetness to elevate the presentation, and enjoy a mocktail that provides a burst of flavor.

Cold Brew Mocktail
Cold Brew Mocktail
Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/AG3lIxAtbUg

Cold Brew Frappé: Beat the heat with a cold brew frappé. Blend cold brew concentrate with ice, milk (or a non-dairy alternative), and a sweetener of your choice. The result is a creamy and frosty cold brew treat perfect for hot summer days or as a delightful coffee-infused dessert. Customize it further with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a drizzle of caramel for added indulgence.

Cold Brew Frappé with Cream and Oreo
Cold Brew Frappé with Cream and Oreo
Photo by Victor Rutka on Unsplash - URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/Uz50EpCIS-I

Custom Creations: Don't be afraid to let your imagination run wild with cold brew. Get creative by incorporating cold brew into recipes beyond the traditional glass. Use it as a base for coffee-infused sauces, marinades, or dressings. Add cold brew to smoothies or milkshakes for a caffeine kick. Use it in homemade ice cream, popsicles, or even baked goods like cakes and cookies to infuse them with a unique coffee flavor.

These variations offer endless possibilities to enjoy a cold brew in exciting and unexpected ways. Feel free to explore, experiment, and tailor the flavors to your preferences. Let your taste buds guide you as you create your signature cold brew variations.


Cold brew coffee offers a distinct and refreshing alternative to hot-brewed coffee. Its smooth and mellow flavor profile, lower acidity, and versatility make it a beloved choice among coffee enthusiasts worldwide. Whether you prefer a classic iced cold brew, a decadent nitro infusion, or a creative cold brew mocktail, there is something to suit every palate.

Remember, the key to a great cold brew lies in the details. Pay attention to the grind size, steeping time, coffee-to-water ratio, and storage practices. These factors influence your cold brew's flavor, strength, and freshness. Don't be afraid to experiment, adjust, and personalize your brewing technique to discover the flavors that resonate with you.

As you continue your cold brew journey, remember that the process is not only about the end result but also the experience. Savor the aroma, appreciate the craftsmanship, and enjoy the moments of tranquility that a good cup of cold brew can provide.

Whether you're lounging by the pool, relaxing on a sunny afternoon, or seeking a pick-me-up during a busy day, cold brew coffee is there to invigorate your senses and delight your taste buds. Embrace the art of cold brew brewing, unleash your creativity with flavor variations, and share the joy of this captivating beverage with others.

We hope this coffee brewing guide has inspired you to explore the world of cold brew and experiment with your own unique recipes. So, grab your favorite coffee beans, brew a batch of cold brew, and embark on a flavorful journey that will awaken your senses and elevate your coffee experience.

Cheers to the wonders of cold brew coffee!

Read Next: A Coffee Brewing Guide: The Pour-over Technique