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This cold brew coffee recipe is easy to make in just a few minutes of hands on time: then just wait overnight! Here’s how to make cold brew coffee.

Cold brew coffee
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Cold brew coffee: it’s ultra smooth, perfectly chilled, and guess what? It’s beyond easy to make at home! Over here we make pour over coffee every morning, but cold brew is something different altogether. The great thing about a cold brew coffee recipe: it requires virtually no special equipment and takes very little hands on time! It also makes a big batch of concentrate that you can keep in your fridge for days. With so many benefits, why not give it a try? Here’s how to make cold brew coffee.

Why make cold brew coffee?

What’s cold brew? Cold brew coffee is coffee made by soaking the grounds in water at cool temperatures. It’s different from drip or brewed coffee that’s made by percolating hot water over coffee grounds in a filter. Cold brew has become very popular at coffeeshops because of its deliciously smooth flavor. It’s great for summer, but you can drink it all year round! Here’s why to make cold brew coffee at home:

  • Smooth flavor. The top reason for drinking it? It has a deliciously smooth, refreshing flavor.
  • Makes a big pitcher. This recipe makes a big pitcher that you can drink off of for days! After hot coffee in the morning, it’s amazing to have a pitcher in the fridge for a quick afternoon coffee: which takes no time at all to make!
Cold brew ratio

Best coffee for cold brew?

What’s the best coffee for cold brew? Dark roast coffee. Light and medium roast is great for drip or pour over coffee, but cold brew tastes the best with dark roast coffee. This gets just the right bitter flavor when it’s cold. Some brands recommend: Starbucks Espresso Roast or Intelligentsia Black Cat.

Equipment you need

To make cold brew coffee, you’ll need a few pieces of gear. But they are things that you’ll most likely already have in your kitchen! In contrast to making pour over coffee, making this recipe requires no special equipment. Here’s what you need, and links to what we use ourselves and show in the video.

  1. Coffee grinder or mill: To grind the coffee to a medium coarse grind. We use this Bodum electric burr grinder. It’s easiest with an electric grinder since you’ll need quite a bit of grounds! Or you can use a handheld coffee mill does the trick — it just takes much longer.
  2. Filtered water: Filtered water has the best flavor; we use this water filter pitcher.
  3. Large jar or pitcher
  4. Strainer
  5. Clean towel (keep in mind it will get stained from the coffee — see the video!)
How to make cold brew coffee

The cold brew ratio

Last thing before we start: let’s talk ratios. What is the cold brew coffee ratio? There are two main ratios:

  • Grounds to water ratio: 1:4. For making coffee, use a 1:4 ratio of grounds to water. That means 1 ½ cups coffee grounds and 6 cups of water. (Unless you’re using a French press to make cold brew: see below!)
  • Cold brew concentrate to water ratio: 1:1. After you make cold brew, you’ll end up with cold brew concentrate. To drink the finished brew, use a ratio of 1:1. In other words, fill your glass with 1 part concentrate and 1 part water (or milk). Drinking concentrate on its own is much too strong.

How to make cold brew coffee

This cold brew coffee recipe is a very easy and forgiving method. Just make sure to make it 24 hours before you’d like to drink it! Here are the major steps in our cold brew coffee recipe (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Grind 1 ½ cups of dark roast coffee. Grind the coffee to a medium coarse grind.
  2. Add 6 cups filtered water and mix. Add filtered water to the coffee grounds in a large jar or pitcher, and give it a little stir.
  3. Refrigerate and wait 24 hours! Here’s where the brewing magic happens: and you don’t need to do anything! Just wait while the coffee brews.
  4. Filter the coffee. Pour the coffee into a strainer with a towel or cheesecloth placed inside, and filter it into a separate container. Then, your cold brew is ready to drink! It makes 9 servings: water it down with equal parts cold water and coffee concentrate.

Alternative method: French press

Here’s an alternative method: you can also make cold brew coffee with a French press! The advantage of this method is that it’s slightly cleaner and easier. The French press contains the coffee, and makes it easy to strain: no need to dirty your dish towels or cheesecloth. The ratio for cold brew is slightly different with that method. Go to French Press Cold Brew.

Watch this video first!

To show you how easy it is…we made a video! Before you start, watch this video of me showing you to how to make cold brew in our kitchen.

More coffee recipes

Are you a coffee lover? We’ve got a series on how to make coffee using all sorts of gadgets, and all the best coffee drink recipes:

This cold brew coffee recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Iced coffee

Cold Brew Coffee (Easy Tutorial!)

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4.8 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours
  • Yield: 4 ½ cups (9 servings) 1x
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This cold brew coffee recipe is easy to make in just a few minutes of hands on time: then just wait overnight! Here’s how to make cold brew coffee.


  • 1 ½ cups dark roast coffee, medium coarse ground
  • 6 cups room temperature filtered water
  • Equipment: Large covered jar, strainer, clean towel or cheesecloth


  1. Grind the coffee: Grind the coffee to a medium coarse grind. 
  2. Mix coffee ground and water: Place the water in a large jar. Add the coffee grounds to the water. Twist on the top of the jar, and mix by shaking the jar a few times.
  3. Refrigerate 24 hours: Refrigerate the cold brew coffee for 24 hours. 
  4. Strain the coffee: Place a strainer over a clean jar, and line it with a clean towel or cheesecloth. Strain the coffee into the clean jar. Discard all coffee grounds. Place the cold brew concentrate back into the pitcher and refrigerate. Store refrigerated up to 1 week.
  5. Serve: To serve, dilute ½ cup cold brew concentrate with ½ cup water. If serving with ice, use the ice with ½ cup cold brew concentrate with ¼ cup water. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Cold Brew
  • Cuisine: American

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. MAGGIE says:

    Please list ingredients by weight/grams as well as cups.
    Measuring by weight is so much more accurate.

    1. Ronald G Barnes says:

      I too like having weights for any coffee recipes since cups are confusing and can be misleading. Measuring cups are 8 fluid ounces, whereas coffee uses 6 fluid ounces as the standard. Coffee is served in 1oz, 2 oz, 4oz, 6oz, and 8 oz CUPS. Cups become meaningless in coffee recipes. Weights are much more reliable and accurate.

  2. David McCleave says:

    Love the recipe but that’s not how ratios work. 1:4 means 1 fifth the amount of coffee to water not a quarter.

    1. Mckenzie Baker says:

      I will admit that I am no mathematician, but I read a lot of recipes and this recipe is written correctly. For every 1 unit of grounds, you use 4 units of water. That is how I have read and write every recipe. 4 is your multiplier. So if you want 6 cups of concentrate, you divide 6 by 4 and get 1.5 so that is how much ground coffee you need. Vice versa, if you unfortunately realize you only have .5 C grounds, you can still make 2 cups of concentrate. (.5×4=2).

      So in a 1:4 ratio, yes there are a total of 5 parts. So yes, you need 1/5 of those parts to be grounds, and 4/5 of those parts to be coffee.

    2. Elle says:

      Actually your understanding of ratios is incorrect – the author of this page is correct. The only place where a fifth is involved is the amount of coffee you use is 1/5 of the combined product, and 4/5 of the combined product is water. It isn’t 1/5 of the amount of water, that doesn’t make sense.