Instructables

Cold Coffee Drinks Without Special Equipment

Getting tired of paying $5 a pop for a cold coffee drink, I set about learning how I might make my own. The only issue was, I had no espresso machine, nor do I particularly want one. Casting about on the web, which consisted of asking an online friend who owns a coffee shop in Fort Worth, TX, I learned of something he called "toddy", or cold-brewed coffee. Let's make some!

The things we'll need:

  • Some coffee beans (you should be able to use pre-ground coffee as well). I used 3/4 cup of whole beans this time around, but I think I'll use a full cup next time.
  • Some water, about a half-gallon (8 cups, or two quarts, or four pints, or...)
  • A pitcher that can hold that much liquid with some room to spare.
  • A blender (more on this later).
  • Some time.
  • A mesh strainer, a large bowl, and a paper towel.
  • The aforementioned pitcher again.

A note on the amount of coffee if you're using already-ground beans: Whole beans lose about a third of their volume after grinding, so 3/4 cup whole would be 1/2 cup ground, give or take. This is based on my best guesswork, and I have yet to test it, so YMMV.

You probably see where I'm going with this. On to the first step...
 
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Step 1: The Daily Grind, or, How I learned to stop worrying and love my blender.

First off, we need to grind up the beans, unless you're using ground coffee, then you can skip this step. Since we need a large amount of coffee, a regular grinder would require us to work in batches, which is a pain in the rear, and, let's face it, boring.

Enter the blender.

But... Will it blend? Click through the pics below to find out.

You don't need to crush them to a fine powder, but the granules should be about typical pre-ground coffee size.
ekabuggo1 year ago
how can i get download for procedures
Bramael23 years ago
I'm not certain how "safe" paper towels are for filtering, but I know coffee filter papers are produced with pouring liquids through it in mind.

I also use my french press (1L) to brew in, slightly smaller ground to water ratio, it works for me.

I use my aero press to filter the cold brew through, stack 3 or so filter pads in the end, just a precaution, and voila perfect filtered liquid.
gallifreyan3 years ago
If you get the Toddy press, they recommend 9 cups of water to 1 pound of coarse-ground coffee, and let it sit out (doesn't need to take up half the fridge) for 12 hours or so. Then it's 3 parts water to 1 part concentrate to make regular coffee. Sometimes I'll go 14-16 hours to make it a bit stronger, freeze it in bottles, and then thaw it when I'm ready to use more. I suspect the same would go for a home-brew (so to speak) filter system.

You can freeze it "indefinitely" or keep it in a cold fridge for up to 2 weeks. Don't leave it out or it will go really really bad. You can even freeze it in ice trays to chill hot coffee (or tea! really!) without diluting it like frozen water ice does.
PCfreak3 years ago
u could also try using the flavored liquid coffee creamer thats what i use in stead of regular half and half but i recently discovered a new kind of liquid CC thats based on H&H but is flavored
hg3414 years ago
....i might try this
as i the magic of cold bleaned has not yet come to me in all its full(i tryed to make a frappuccino and FAILED....badly)
ShallMaBear4 years ago
I love my cold brew coffee, I put my grounds in my coffee press add water.. Go to bed and in the AM I have my cold brew coffee.. YuMmmmm.. (I also put the brewed coffee in my blender on low, add sugar and powdered milk, come back after I get my face on, add just a few ice cubes, and Enjoy a $4.89 'Frap' for pennies.....
KittyF4 years ago
If you look online for the instructions for cold brewed coffee I think they use a whole pound per half gallon of water.  Not sure though so check before you try that. 

Regarding flavorings for coffee, I'd imagine orange would be a lovely flavor for coffee, since I love to sweeten mine with orange juice.  YUMMMY!!  
Does anyone have any different recipies besides the rasberry one? I don't have any of that syrup stuff!
dmlandrum (author)  austinburke.5 years ago
Any flavor of syrup would work fine. I used raspberry only because it was the only one I could find that wasn't artificial. It was, however, still loaded down with HFCS.
wow. thats embarrassing. i spelled "raspberry" wrong.. with a spellchecker!!
daniel!5 years ago
will it blend? yes, it blends! mmm i-smoke
chrisbaker6 years ago
We normally drink 1% milkfat milk, so that's what I used the first couple times I made this. Most recently, I used half and half (half whole milk, half cream), and there's a tremendous difference. So much better with this than the watery milk!
Xial6 years ago
Wow.

I had some left over coffee that I had bought a couple of *months* prior to reading this 'ible and doing it. Made a one quart batch last night in a 32 ounce bottle, and been drinking from it all day today.

Normally for an 8 ounce cup, I use about 5 to 10 packets of sugar, but for this 32 ounce bottle, all I've used was 5 packets of sugar. This came out great.

Thanks!
asda6536 years ago
I just started a 1-cup tupperware experiment with cold coffee. Well I probably already messed it up, but will this work with instant coffee? I tried it anyways.
with instant, i just make a huge batch, add my cream and sugar and than stick it in the freezer overnight. by morning, it is solid, so i break it/cut it and throw it in the blender. Its awesome.
dmlandrum (author)  asda6536 years ago
Instant coffee is not ground coffee beans, but instead is coffee which has been brewed in the normal manner, and then freeze-dried to create those crystals that will dissolve in hot water. I would say that no, this process will not work with instant. One thing I haven't tried, though, is making a cold coffee beverage simply by mixing instant coffee with cold water. Maybe I'll give that a shot today, as I have some instant coffee handy (it's useful stuff for making coffee-flavored foods, like ice cream).
mr mime6 years ago
I tried this the other day, 1 cup ground coffee in 8 cups water, and my coffee came out weak, but still bitter and oily tasting. Is one type of coffee better for cold-brewing than another?
dmlandrum (author)  mr mime6 years ago
For the bitterness, you might try a different level of roast. I haven't experimented too much in this area (I usually keep medium-roast coffees around). As for the weakness, I can't really explain that one. I've never had that issue.
reeding6 years ago
the best part about "cold brew" coffee is it doesn't go stale. when you brew hot coffee it gets coffee oil and the oil gets rancid. cold brew also tastes better
Asbestos6 years ago
A couple of random answers to some questions above, since I've just been making this for a few weeks now. The flavor of the coffee is really good -- tastes like coffee without the acidity and bitterness. It's pretty smooth too. It has less caffeine in it than hot-brewed coffee, but I don't know how much, so don't guzzle down gallons of it. Since it is much less bitter, it can be drunk without sugar or with just a little bit. Making a syrup is of course best if you want your sugar to dissolve in cold coffee. It can also keep much longer than hot-brewed coffee. Hot coffee has had all the bitter alkaloids extracted, which end up in the coffee. These keep getting more and more bitter as time goes on (drip coffee left on the hot plate becomes undrinkable for me after an hour or so, and if left cold becomes undrinkable after a day or so). Cold-brewed coffee won't become more bitter, and so can survive happily in the fridge for over a week. Finally, I find that 12 hours is about right to brew it, but the flavors keep getting more intense if you let it brew longer. The bitterness and caffeine content increase as well, of course.
srcskier7 years ago
Yummm and so much cheaper than buying a coffee machine or espresso machine (which I was seriously considering until now!). One question though, how long would you say it keeps in the fridge? couple days?
I tasted some coffe that had been sitting in my coffee pot for 2 weeks (I dont use it often) and it was the stalest thing I have ever tasted in my life (aside from being one of the most bitter things I've tasted - sugar didn't help much, it tasted really bitter and really sweet all at once)
dmlandrum (author)  srcskier7 years ago
I honestly can't say. I've never had a batch last longer than a week. :) When I make my next batch (I have to go buy some more coffee yet), I'll set some aside for an experiment to see how long it takes before it goes bad.
Cheesecake6 years ago
mmm. That raspberry coffee looks might delicious at 3:54 am!
callmeshane7 years ago
Hmmmmmm all the "packet + machine = coffee" mentality.....

You can make perfectly good coffee by simply spooning some ground coffee beans into a cup and adding boiling water.

Or a saucepan... for later processing...
X_D_3_M_17 years ago
yay im out of frappucinno, i need this. how to make frappucino...
mailleman7 years ago
I wonder who else caught the Strangelove reference..
I did.
Nice tutorial. Here's a little heads up: to make simple syrup might be an easy non-fake flavoring way to go. Probably cheaper too. Equal parts sugar and water for a simple syrup, heat until it boils and then immediately take it off of the heat and stir. Let cool, and mix. You can add some vanilla for vanilla, or if you really want raspberry, buy a little container and heat them in a small pan until they are all mushy-gushy (or blend them in the blender beforehand and add to the sugar/water. I have never tried raspberry, but its something to start with. :)
dmlandrum (author)  biggreenfeet7 years ago
I've given a great deal of thought to making my own flavored syrups, and I even did some experiments some time ago to make lemon and orange ones. The lemon one turned out better than the orange, but lemon mixed with coffee just doesn't work for me. ;-) I might yet make flavored syrups the subject of a future Instructable. You're spot on about simple syrups, though, and they're very handy to have around.
Bran7 years ago
You say that you use about a cup of beans. I use Instant ground coffee, do you know how much a cup of beans ground down is? Would you say, maybe, 1/4 of a cup? I don't want to over-power the coffee. Thanks, and nice Instructable.
dmlandrum (author)  Bran7 years ago
Thank you for the compliments! You lose about 1/3 of your volume going from whole to ground beans, so the 3/4 cup I did use (sorry for the confusion, I was saying that I would increase that to a cup for next time) would become about 1/2 cup ground, give or take. The ground equivalent of 1 cup of beans would then be 2/3 cup. The thing in your question that trips the bells in my head, though, is the phrase "Instant ground coffee." Instant coffee is not coffee beans pre-ground, but rather, brewed coffee which is then evaporated and freeze-dried, to be later dissolved in hot water. I'm assuming you meant that your coffee was simply pre-ground, in which case I would try 1/2 cup and then adjust according to your taste after you've tried it once. If you want to experiment, you can simply scale the ingredients back linearly for smaller batches at first. I suppose it would be possible to get instant coffee crystals to dissolve in cold water, though, and mix up a drink that way. That may be worth a try. Looks like it might be time to update this Instructable again. :-)
lemonie7 years ago
What are the differences (caffiene, taste, colour) between cold-brewed coffee and cooled hot-brewed coffee? L
dmlandrum (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Cold-brewed coffee doesn't extract so many of the bitter alkaloids that hot-brewing does. Some people like the bitter flavors, so this is a matter of taste, I think. Caffeine is one of those alkaloids, so less of that gets extracted during a cold-brew as well. I've not noticed any color differences between the two methods, given a similar amount of coffee.
saites20017 years ago
I was honestly just thinking about how this could be done. I think I'll do this tomorrow.
dmlandrum (author)  saites20017 years ago
I'm glad to see I inspired someone. :-) Depending on how strong you like your coffee drinks, I think I would go for a full cup of beans for the eight cups of water. It's a matter of taste, really.
dmlandrum (author)  dmlandrum7 years ago
In fact, I just updated this Instructable to reflect that. Thanks!