How to Make Cold Brew Coffee


This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Jump to RecipeJump to Video

Cold brew coffee is amazingly simple to make at home. With my tips (and a quick little video) you’ll have the perfect glass of cold brew coffee and will never have to buy it from the store again.

Pouring cream into cold brew

On hot days I’m no longer brewing my Chemex coffee (though it’s still a favorite). Instead, I’ve switched to cold brew coffee for a cooling and refreshing caffeinated beverage.

You’ve likely had cold brewed coffee before, either at a local coffee shop or from the supermarket in packaged containers, for the best grab-and-go drink. But when you find out how easy it is to make at home (without refined sugar, funky additives, and colorings) you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it yourself all along.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

This is an important question. Because cold brew coffee is not the same as drip coffee or regularly brewed hot coffee that’s been cooled or served over ice. Nope.

Cold brew coffee never gets hot. Instead of brewing in just a few minutes, it’s slow-brewed and steeped over 12 to 15 hours. This translates to coffee that’s slightly less acidic and bitter. Instead, it’s sweeter, more full-bodied in flavor, and truly the best when it comes to iced coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Ingredients

There’s just two ingredients needed to make cold brew coffee:

  • Coffee: Use your favorite coffee beans from around the world!
  • Water: I recommend using filtered water for a clean, fresh taste.

If you’d like to add milk or creamer to your final glass of cold brew, that’s up to you!

Pouring cold brew into a cup of ice

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

It’s incredibly easy to make! Here are the simple steps:

  1. Grind your coffee beans to a medium coarse consistency. 
  2. Add the ground coffee beans plus four cups of water to a mason jar or other glass storage container.
  3. Steep this coffee for 12 to 15 hours on your countertop.
  4. Strain the coffee through a fine mesh sieve or nut milk bag.
  5. Pour the strained cold brew concentrate into a clean mason jar or other container and refrigerate.
  6. Enjoy the cold brew coffee over ice or with your favorite milk or creamer.

Helpful Tip: Here’s why you’re really gonna love cold brew coffee. You can make a batch on Sunday and enjoy homemade, cold brew coffee for the entire week. Yes, you can meal prep coffee. Awesome, right?

Pouring milk into a cup of cold brew

Remember to Dilute the Cold Brew Concentrate

One thing to keep in mind is that you’re actually making cold brew concentrate. And this is pretty potent stuff. Only drink this straight up if you want to feel jittery and buzzy for the rest of the day (which I don’t recommend).

Instead, what I recommend is serving this up over ice or diluting it 50/50 with water. I also recommend adding your favorite milk, like almond milk, cashew milk or oat milk, for a deliciously creamy, and definitely thirst-quenching beverage.

Cup of iced cold brew coffee

Tips for Making Cold Brew Coffee

  • Grind your beans at a medium coarse consistency. You don’t want finely ground coffee beans, which is what you’d use for drip coffee. I recommend this coffee grinder, if you’re looking to grab one.
  • You’ll brew at a ratio of 4:1. Four cups of water to one cup of coffee beans. If you want more cold brew, just double this. And if you’re using a mason jar (as I am in the video), you’ll need to use slightly less to get it to fit – 3 cups of water to 3/4 cups coffee beans. Just keep the ratio consistent.
  • You can steep the coffee in pretty much any container. I use a mason jar in the video below. But for a larger quantity, I love this cold brew coffee maker with a built-in filter. You could also use a French press.
  • Use filtered water for the cleanest cup of cold brew.
  • Steep for at least 12 hours. After that, you can play around with the flavor. If you’d like it stronger, brew it longer – up to 24 hours. But I find that 12 to 15 hours usually keeps most coffee lovers happy.
  • While the cold brew can steep on your countertop at room temperature, once you’ve strained it, keep the concentrate in the refrigerator.
  • Don’t forget to dilute the concentrate. As mentioned above, serve it with ice, water or some type of milk or creamer.

How Long Will it Last?

The cold brew coffee concentrate will keep fresh for a week or so in the fridge. You could go a little longer, but the flavor is best when consumed in the first week.

What to Pair With Cold Brew Coffee?

So many delicious options! But I highly recommend my:

A cup of cold brew and cream

Easy Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

5 from 27 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Making cold brew coffee at home is amazingly simple. With just a little prep, you can enjoy delicious cold brew coffee all week long. Watch the video below!



  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup coffee beans


  • Grind your coffee beans to a medium coarse consistency. 
    Grinding coffee beans for cold brew
  • Add the water and ground coffee beans to a mason jar or other glass storage container. Then, leave it on your counter to steep for 12 to 15 hours. 
    Making cold brew
  • Strain the coffee through a fine mesh sieve that's lined with a couple layers of cheesecloth over a large measuring cup or bowl. Alternatively, you could use a nut-milk bag or coffee filter on top of the sieve. 
    Making cold brew coffee
  • Pour the strained cold brew concentrate back into a clean mason jar and store in the refrigerator. 
  • To serve, pour the cold brew concentrate over ice, with water or with your favorite milk or creamer. 
    Pouring milk into an iced cold brew

Lisa’s Tips

  • The recipe makes approximately 3 cups of cold brew concentrate in a mason jar. If you’d like to double that amount, I recommend you purchase this cold brew coffee maker. It makes twice as much! Watch how I use that larger cold brew coffee maker on Instagram


Calories: 1kcal | Sodium: 16mg | Calcium: 10mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cold Brew, Cold Brew Coffee, How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted July 2017, but updated to include new information and tips. 

You May Also Like

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I’m confused.. am I grinding the beans then measuring or using the whole cup of beans? I’m looking on Ali express for a soya bean / plant milk maker – it grinds and warms *if you want it warm in the morning) quite a few to choose from. Can you use one of these to do cold coffee in?

  2. Life changing. And I used pre-ground coffee in this first try. I can’t wait to use fresh ground, bougie beans! Thanks!

  3. This was excellent for a girls weekend morning get together on my patio. Tastes like the ice caps you get at a cafe.5 stars

  4. After reading your post, and I tried the same way! The taste to me is so amazing!! Thanks for your sharing!5 stars

  5. I like the 4 part water ,4 cups to 1 cup of coffee makes a perfect cold brew concentrate ,i make mine in a 1 gallon glass jar 16 cuos of water to 328 grans of coarse ground coffee beans or if no scale 4 cups groung coffee, yeilds 3 quarts of cold brew just right, you dont want to small of a hatch

  6. Love this coffee and it’s so easy.  I make it once and it lasts for days,  no more watering down with ice,  I added vanilla and it’s great! Using almond milk also.  So smooth.  Thanks, this is great coffee! 😊5 stars

  7. You give the ratio of water to coffee beans as 4:1. What if my coffee is already ground? What would the proper ratio be? Thank you!

  8. wow, this is so delicious and lovely recipe of brew coffee. I love coffee and this article helps me a lot to know more way to make cold coffee. Thank you for sharing it.5 stars

  9. Its smooth and refresh my body and mind i have tried your recipe myself i am gonna keep this recipe .when i make this coffee the colour of the coffee look so yummy just its test like .5 stars

  10. Great article. For the newbee, you hit all the high points. I’d like to add a few items that people might enjoy.
    1. Buy a gold mesh filter that normally fits into your 12 cup drip coffee maker. Place this gold metal filter into a 2 cup measuring cup to filter your cold brew. This is fast, easy, and cheap.
    2. Try adding 25% blonde coffee (better known as “white” coffee”. This will give your cold-brew a slight nutty flavor. We love it.
    3. I mix about 1/2 cup of course ground medium roast to a 1 quart mason jar.
    4. It really helps to have a big funnel to pour the grounds into the mason jar.

    Love your article.5 stars

  11. Hi! I only have 1L jug. Could you please give me the best ground coffee to water ratio? Not the whole bean coffee because I only buy pre-ground coffee since I dont have coffee grinder. I want to make cold brew concentrate. Thank you very much.

  12. I love cold brew coffee, I love that I can make it with this recipe without having to hit the coffee shop.5 stars

  13. That is a delicious looking cold brew. My husband is a big fan of cold brew coffee in summer and I enjoy a cup once in a while. Your clicks are so inviting and tempting that I want to grab it from the screen ;-)5 stars

    1. Can never go wrong with prepping a batch of cold brew! Hope you two enjoy this recipe over the summer :)

  14. I am jumping out of my armchair to run to the kitchen to make it! Your pictures are so motivating! :)5 stars

  15. Oh my .. This cold brew coffee is to die for. Its been a while I have made. Now that the weather is getting hotter, I can’t wait to make some soon.5 stars

  16. Love this recipient. I probably soaked the coffee grounds for more like 24 hours and still delicious. Just a little stronger. Been looking for a good recipe for a while now, and this one was my favorite.5 stars

    1. Hi Ella – So glad you found a cold brew recipe that you loved! Definitely keep this on hand for the upcoming summer :)

  17. I literally have been meaning to research how to make cold-brew coffee at home, so this makes me VERY HAPPY. You’re basically the best.5 stars

    1. Hi James – So glad to hear that! Nothing beats like a cold brew coffee right in the comfort of your own home. Hope this method works out for you!

  18. Thank you very much for the excellent how-to video on cold-brew coffee. I will start my first batch immediately!5 stars

    1. Hi Karl – so glad you loved the Cold Brew Coffee video! Can’t wait to see how your first batch comes out :)

  19. I wanted to leave a thank you note: Your making me believe I can do this healthier lifestyle. :D Your clean white photos and videos are what drew me in at first. Now it’s a developing vision of what I want to improve in my diet and, how do I phrase this, self love by slowing down to enjoy and value the process.

    1. Thanks so much Sheri for your note! I really appreciate it and I’m thrilled you’re slowing down and enjoying the process. :)

  20. Hi Brittany – one cup of beans equals about one cup of ground coffee. :) Enjoy the cold brew recipe!

  21. Hey, I am using cold brew coffee beans that I get ground at the coffee shop beforehand. How much ground coffee should I use in comparison to 1 cup of beans? 5 stars

    1. Hi Brittany – one cup of beans equals about one cup of ground coffee. :) Enjoy the cold brew recipe!

  22. I always love getting the cold brew coffee at Starbucks; glad to have a recipe I can make from home!5 stars

    1. Yep, no more starbucks with this cold brew! Thanks for the kind comment, Sara! :)

  23. I am a coffee snob, and like my cold brew well done so I make it at home but you have great tips grinding is essential.5 stars

    1. Thanks Adriana! I appreciate the kind comment from self-identified coffee snob ;)

  24. Thank you for making this so easy! I was wondering how to make this for awhile and now I know just in time for summer!5 stars

  25. Great website for the single guy (me) who wants to better plan and refine diet and nutrition. One of the most useful websites I have come across with valuable information and very user friendly. Please continue to keep up the good work for all you subscribers. Would like to mention when giving nutritional break down, Calories, fats, carbs, etc; can you be more specific relative to serving size such as 1 cub, 8 oz, etc. This would be helpful for those that are watching macro break downs on daily consumption of food. Again, you are doing a great job keeping people informed and healthy.5 stars

    1. Hi Patrick – Thank you so much for your kind words and I’m so glad you love my site! Yes, I’m aware of the lack of “yield” on my recipes, I’m trying to get it fixed on the back end, so stand by. :)

  26. I only need 1/4 cup concentrate for an ice cream recipe. What ratio would I use to get close to that? Or can I freeze the rest of the concentrate? I can’t drink cold drinks. Thanks 

    1. You could divide the recipe and make a smaller quantity, about a cups worth if you divide by three. But it would be difficult to make a 1/4 cup of concentrate on it’s own.

    2. You don’t have to drink it cold. You can heat it up and drink it hot, assuming you like coffee :)

  27. Where are your straws from? I’ve been looking for reusable straws that don’t have those notches in the straw’s bend!

  28. I just made my second batch with 8 oz coarsely ground coffee in a one gallon container. Just put in the coffee, fill the container with water and let sit for 18-24 hours. Strained through cheesecloth twice. First batch lasted 2 weeks. Fabulously smooth!

      1. Hello I loved the breakdown of the recipe and I’m attempting to do it now, I have a 32 oz mason jar and I was wondering if that’s the same one you have in your video? If so I i would copy the recipe word for word if it’s something larger then I’ll manage to add some more coffee. :)

    1. If you use a thinner grind you might over extract on the coffee, which would actually make it more bitter. It’s best to use a medium/coarse grind for cold brew as it sits overnight. Hope that helps!

    1. Unfortunately, that type of store-bought coffee is finely ground and meant for drip machines. You really want a medium to medium-coarse grind for cold brew coffee. Some supermarkets have grinders where you can grind your own in store, so I’d recommend doing that so you can control the grind. :)

  29. It’s still cold here in Australia, but the moment it warms up I’m definitely going to make cold brew coffee – thanks for all the tips! I feel like it is so much easier than I thought it was!

    1. It’s definitely easy! And you might like my Chemex coffee (linked above) to help you warm up down in the southern hemisphere. :) x

  30. Never tried cold brew coffee and this one looks so enticing, it piqued my attention to brew one as well.

  31. I’ve started to drink cold brew coffee (store-bought) and I really like it! I can’t wait to make my own! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Store-bought is great but you’ll find making it at home is so much cheaper (and quite easy). Hope you enjoy it!

  32. I LOVE a great cold brew coffee! I seriously run on it. This looks great and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  33. I have never tried making my own cold brew, but you may have just convinced me to give it a go. And I LOVE your pour shot with the creamer – my mouth seriously watered!

    1. Thanks! That pour shot really does make you want to dive into this cold brew, doesn’t it? ;) x

      1. Thanks for sharing an Amazing Article! I LOVE an extraordinary virus blend espresso! I truly run on it. This looks extraordinary and I can hardly wait to attempt it. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing!