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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee – Ultimate Guide

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Make cold brew coffee by adding 1:4 coffee-to-water ratio to a cold brew device, then let it sit for up to 24 hours. Afterward, refrigerate it to maintain freshness. Keep reading to learn more about how to make the best cold brew.

I love cold brew and want to make the best cold brew possible. That inspired me to write this guide.

I’ll explain everything you need to make cold brew coffee and how to make it using different methods. I will also cover the best ways to store your coffee and how to serve it.

Here is an overview:

Let’s dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • Use dark roast beans for cold brew.
  • Ensure you grind beans to an extra coarse grind consistency.
  • Let your cold brew drink sit for 12–24 hours.
  • Store in an opaque, airtight container to preserve freshness.

Best Coffee Grounds for Cold Brew

Dark roasts are the best coffee beans for cold brew due to their dark, chocolatey flavors. You’ll want to use an extra coarse grind setting when grinding these beans. Meaning they’ll come out in large, uneven chunks.

Some specific dark roast coffee beans that are popular for cold brew include:

  • Sumatra: Known for its bold, earthy flavor & low acidity.
  • Ethiopian: Has a complex flavor profile with notes of fruit, chocolate, & spice.
  • Colombian: Known for its smooth, balanced flavor & medium acidity.
  • Brazilian: Has a nutty, chocolatey flavor & low acidity.

You can also use blends of dark roast coffee beans for cold brew. Using them is a great way to experiment with different flavors.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee With Ground Coffee

Time to make: 12–24 hours

Cold brew concentrate recipe & equipment:

  • 4 cups cold, filtered water
  • Coffee grinder or pre-ground beans
  • 1 cup extra coarse grind coffee
    • ¼ cup coffee per 1 cup of concentrate
  • Cold brew device
  • Filter: If required for device
  • Sweetener (optional)
  • Creamer (optional)

Steps to make cold brew coffee concentrate:

  1. Grind the coffee beans to a coarse grind.
  2. Add coffee beans to your brewing container.
  3. Pour water over top.
    1. Cold brew ratio: 1:4 coffee-to-water
  4. Let coffee sit on the counter for 12–24 hours.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Don’t have a cold brew maker? No worries. Here’s a method that only requires a mason jar and cheesecloth.

How to Make Cold Brew With a Mason Jar

What you’ll need:

  • 4 Tbsp. coarsely ground coffee beans
    • Add 4 Tbsp. coffee grounds per cup of water.
  • 1 cup cold, filtered water
  • Mason jar
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • Rubber band

Steps to make:

  1. Add the coarsely ground coffee beans to the mason jar.
  2. Pour in cold water until the jar is full.
  3. Stir the coffee & water to combine.
  4. Cover mason jar with cheesecloth or a coffee filter & secure it with a rubber band.
  5. Place mason jar in the refrigerator & let coffee steep for 12–24 hours.
  6. Strain the coffee through the cheesecloth or coffee filter into a clean, airtight container.
  7. Discard the coffee grounds.

Here’s another creative way to make cold brew (kind of).

How to Make Cold Brew With Espresso

You could make a cold brew-like drink with espresso, but it won’t have the same smoothness and lack of acidity. Do this by using a manual espresso maker and pre-infuse your coffee for 30 minutes.

Pre-infuse means you apply 0.5 to 4 bars of pressure to your coffee grounds, instead of the 9 bars typical espresso machines apply [1]. Otherwise, you’d time your shots like normal and would want to use cold water.

Ensure you use a dark roast, since most people will use dark roasts when brewing espresso. That way, you’ll get a similar taste to espresso.

Now that making cold brew is out of the way, learn how to store it.

How to Store Cold Brew

To maximize your cold brew’s lifespan, store it in an opaque, airtight container without additional ingredients. By ingredients, I mean sweeteners, creamers, and other additives (e.g., lemon slices).

Storing it in an airtight container will prevent oxygen from speeding up the degradation process of your drink. Ensuring the container is opaque will prevent UV rays from reducing your cold brew’s lifespan.

Let’s expand on the lemon slices example.

They contain enzymes that encourage fermentation, which could make your cold brew last for a couple of days. Sugar, or additives with sugar, could also shorten your beverages’ lifespan to a few days. Since it sustains bacteria.

You could also make cold brew ice cubes. Pouring your beverage into an ice cube tray and freezing it at 0 °F could keep it fresh for up to 2 months. It’ll also make for a perfect drink to serve on a hot day.

When you’re ready to serve, place the ice cubes in a cup, add your milk and sweetener, then let the ice melt.

How long will your stored cold brew last?

How Long Does Cold Brew Last Refrigerated?

Cold brew should last for around 2 weeks when stored in a refrigerator with temperatures between 30 and 40 °F [2]. Temperature above 40 °F will lead to mold growth and could shorten your cold brew’s lifespan to days.

Find the best ways to enhance your drink’s flavor.

How to Serve Cold Brew

Most people will serve cold brew over ice. From there, they’ll add sweeteners or creamers. But what are your options? The following sections will provide a bunch of examples of additives you could use.

Let’s begin with sweeteners.

Best Sweeteners for Cold Brew

The choice of sweeteners for cold brew coffee is a matter of personal preference, and the best one for you depends on your taste and dietary considerations.

Here are some common sweeteners used with cold brew:

  • Honey: Adds natural sweetness with a unique flavor that compliments the mellow taste of cold brew.
  • Maple Syrup: Offers a rich, distinct sweetness & a subtle maple flavor.
  • Agave Nectar: A lower-glycemic sweetener, making it a good option for those looking to manage their sugar intake.
  • Stevia: A natural, calorie-free sweetener that’s a suitable option for those who want to avoid sugar.
  • Monk Fruit Sweetener: Another calorie-free choice with a sweet taste.
  • Flavored Syrups: Such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut, can add sweetness & unique flavor to your cold brew.

When choosing a sweetener for cold brew, start with a small amount and add more to taste. Cold brew already has a sweet taste. Adding too much of a sweetener could make your drink overwhelming.

Here’s another additive you’ll need to consider when adding flavor to your drink.

Best Creamers for Cold Brew

Dairy Creamers:

  • Milk: Whole milk, 2%, 1%, or skim milk can make your drink creamier.
  • Half-and-Half: A mixture of equal parts milk & cream, half-and-half is richer & adds an even creamier texture.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is the richest dairy option, providing a luxurious & velvety texture to your cold brew.

Non-Dairy Creamers:

  • Almond Milk: A popular non-dairy alternative, offering a mild, nutty flavor & a creamy consistency.
  • Coconut Milk: Can provide a unique tropical twist to your cold brew.
  • Oat Milk: Known for its creamy texture & neutral taste, making it a versatile option for cold brew.

Or you could opt for flavored creamers. Various brands offer flavored creamers, such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut, that can add a sweet twist to your cold brew.

Did you read this whole guide without knowing what cold brew is? Let’s change that.

What Is Cold Brew?

image 4
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee - Ultimate Guide 2
Caffeine Content205 mg
Recipe1 gram of coffee for every 8 g of waterWaterCreamer/milk (optional)Sweetener (optional)
Cup Served inGlass that’s narrower at the bottom

Cold brew is a coffee-making method that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in water for 12–24 hours.

Unlike traditional hot coffee brewing methods that use hot water and produce coffee quickly, cold brew relies on time to extract the coffee flavors gradually.

The long extraction time gives it a smoother, less acidic taste. This beverage has gained popularity for its refreshing and mellow flavor, particularly during hot weather.

Still have questions about making cold brew? I’ll answer them in the next section.

FAQs for Making Cold Brew

Read on to find frequently asked questions about making cold brew coffee.

Can You Make Cold Brew with Instant Coffee?

You cannot make cold brew with instant coffee. Since instant coffee is already brewed, attempting to cold brew it would do nothing.


Cold brew coffee requires a 1:4 ratio of coffee to water in a cold brew device. However, the way you brew will vary by device. Upon finishing, refrigerate your beverage at a low temperature to maintain freshness.

Find more recipes by exploring our massive list of coffee drinks.

Photo of author


Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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