How to make cold-brewed coffee concentrate

If you’ve ever had iced coffee that was really bitter and acidic, it was probably brewed hot and served cold. I’m a huge fan of iced coffee, but never liked mine because I did just that. So when I heard of cold brewing as a method for cutting out the acidic sting I often find in my own iced coffee, I was excited but skeptical.

The recipe is simple enough and produces a concentrate that lasts for about 2 weeks in the fridge. And the taste … so much better than hot-brewed, really and truly!

I stored mine in an old wine bottle (I love repurposing wine bottles for storing and entertaining) and the taste remained sweet, non-acidic, strong, and clean for an entire 2 weeks.

*Recipe notes:

After trying some different varieties, I suggest a medium roast.

There are a ton of different water/bean ratios out there. It’s pretty subjective and because you dilute it, I don’t think it’s too important. So, I go the simple route with a 4:1 ratio – 4 cups water to 1 cup coarsely ground coffee. You can adjust with dilution to your desired strength.



  1. Grind your desired amount of coffee beans (set to COARSE – this is important!). I usually grind 2-3 cups for a large batch of concentrate.

  2. Place ground coffee in a large bowl or saucepan.
  3. Pour cold water (see ratio above) over coffee and stir to combine so all coffee is moistened.
  4. Cover bowl (I’ve used paper towels, cheese cloth, and regular lids – doesn’t have to be airtight.
  5. Steep for 12-15 hour.
  6.  Pour through cheesecloth set over a fine-mesh sieve into a container (pitcher works well). Discard solids.

  7. Place a coffee filter in the same fine-mesh sieve and slowly strain coffee though this – it may take a while. Do not stir or try to rush by pressing coffee. This ensures a clean, clear concentrate.
  8. Refrigerate in a covered glass contained for up to 2 weeks.

  9. The concentrate is strong – dilute with equal parts water or milk before serving. But don’t dilute the whole batch – if you do this, it only lasts 2-3 days.




3 thoughts on “How to make cold-brewed coffee concentrate

  1. Tiffany February 21, 2013 / 10:57 AM

    My husband is a cold brew drinker but he’s been looking for a way to make his stronger. Our general mix is 1 cup of freshly ground coffee to four cups of water and I’m wondering if you have an estimate regarding how many cups are in a pound of grounds. Have you ever tried using more or less coffee? Letting it sit for a longer period of time? We did a blind taste test this morning and he liked the container we let sit for 24 hours more than he liked the one we let sit for 12, it was stronger but now I’m wondering if more grounds would do the trick…

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