By Barbara Bonner

Easy DIY: Cold Brew At Home

Did you know making your own cold brew/iced coffee is much easier than you think and only takes about 25 minutes of your time? We used to be so intimidated (why??) and thought we had to buy some fancy expensive cold brew maker to make it happen.

Not so! With the warmer weather more of us are going to want that delicious cold coffee, but it's expensive and not being able to use your own cup at the coffee shops right now means it's also bad for the environment. So learn how to make it from home! One bag of grounds ($10-15) will yield around two weeks of cold brew concentrate, which would be around $75 at that big green coffee chain.

In this blog post we'll walk you through three different ways to make your own cold brew at home with things you probably already have on hand! We're also sharing some of our favorite things to add to cold brew, and a short list of some of our favorite Black-owned and woman-owned roasteries.

    Let's get our cold brew on.

    This method makes a cold brew concentrate, so you'll want to add water to it for best results. Like your coffee black? Add one part cold water to every three parts cold brew concentrate (+ ice). Need some dairy to lighten it up? This concentrate works well with dairy products, creamer, and alternative milks. Add one part creamer to three parts coffee, plus ice. Want some flavor? Mix in your favorite syrup, like the rhubarb vanilla bean or blueberry lavender syrups from Simple Goodness Sisters, and enjoy in a gorgeous handmade ceramic mug from Forest Ceramic Co in rainbow drip, planetary, or seismic patterns.


    • Coffee beans from local roaster of choice
    • Large glass carafe or lidded container (Pro tip! Look for one in your local Buy Nothing group)
    • Piece of washed cheesecloth or paper coffee filter (unbleached recycled preferred)
    • Pasta strainer or mesh colander
    • Water

    That's it! If you buy your beans in a grocery store you can use their machine for a coarse grind or use a blade or burr grinder at home. If you purchase your beans from a local cafe you can ask them to grind the beans for you for free (ask for a coarse grind).

    The methods described below are based on three different supply lists so you can hopefully use what you have on hand.

    Cheesecloth Method

    1. Put the ground coffee in the cheesecloth, twist the top, and tie to secure.
    2. Place the bag of grounds in your carafe, cover with water, stir gently, put on the lid, and let sit for 12-24 hours.
    3. Remove the bag of grounds from your water, untie the cheesecloth, and empty the wet grounds into a container for composting or to add to your garden.
    4. Rinse the cheesecloth and place inside a pasta strainer/mesh colander.
    5. Gently and slowly pour the coffee out of the carafe through the filter into a large mixing bowl or other carafe.
    6. Move the colander and filter to the top of the carafe and pour the coffee from the bowl back into the carafe for an extra layer of filtering.
    7. Cover your carafe and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

    Filter Method

    1. Put your ground coffee directly into the carafe, fill with water, and stir well.
    2. Cover and let sit for 12-24 hours.
    3. Place your paper filter into a pasta strainer. If using a mesh colander, no paper filter is needed.
    4. Gently and slowly pour the coffee out of the carafe through the filter into a large mixing bowl or other carafe.
    5. Move the caught grounds into a container for composting or to add to your garden.
    6. Pour the coffee through the filter again from the bowl to the carafe. Repeat as needed (typically 3-4 filter pours does the trick).
    7. Cover your carafe and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

    French Press Method

    If you have a french press you can make cold brew concentrate in smaller batches with no extra supplies needed.
    1. Add your coffee and water to your french press like normal, but instead of sitting for a few minutes, put it in the fridge and let it sit for 12 hours.
    2. Gently push the plunger and pour your cold brew concentrate into a lidded container.
    3. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

    Extra Tips!

    Some pro-tips from the experienced person who has both poured all of her coffee down the drain, or ended up with it all over the counter....
    • Make sure you have a bowl or other carafe under your filter before you pour. Your brain will think you need to filter the beans out and get rid of the water, like we normally do for other foods. You will lose all of your coffee this way.
    • If your carafe has a tap on it that the tap is securely closed before you add your coffee grounds and water and then set it on your counter to soak.
    • Pour your coffee into the filter SLOWLY and gently. If you dump it out too quickly it will hit the filter like it's hitting a wall and splatter everywhere. Not fun to clean up.

    Looking for an indie roaster to support? Here are some of the best in the country, many of which use their profits to support social justice projects, including some local favorites: