Easy "cold Press" Iced Coffee





Introduction: Easy "cold Press" Iced Coffee

About: Check out my blog about healthy eating. ClevelandWhiteout.wordpress.com FYI The image I'm using for my persona is a stained glass piece made my friend, artist, Shane O'Brien. He is the proprietor of Quiet...

It's summer time and my morning jones for java requires a temperature modification! I used to work at a popular national chain coffee shop that charged $2 - $3 or more for just a cup of cold press coffee. In this instructable I will show you how to use the exact same procedure but on a smaller scale for at-home consumption.

Step 1: The Grind

At most grocery stores or coffee shops you can buy your beans in bulk and grind them on the premises. I find that this is the best way to get the right grind. I used to have a small coffee grinder but found that I never could get the right balance between too coarse and too fine of a grind. The coffee shop I worked at would grind beans for cold-press on the "metal filter" setting. At home, when we make hot coffee we use a french press so the coffee I use for this recipe at home is ground on the "french press" setting on the grinder at the grocery store.

For those of you grinding at home, below I have posted an up-close pic of perfectly coarse coffee grounds for this recipe. I put the grounds next to some Grape Nuts cereal for a size comparison.

Step 2: Measure the Coffee

Measure out about 2 mugs full of ground coffee. For those of you who are into precision, that's 8oz or a half pound of ground coffee.

Now, just dump your coffee grounds into the 1 gallon pitcher.

** You can add another mug or two of ground coffee to the same amount of water to make a concentrate not unlike Toddy .

Step 3: Just Add Water!

Now you have a 1 gallon pitcher with dry coffee grounds in the bottom. Fill the pitcher up with cold water. The coffee shops use filtered water but I just use good old Cleveland municipal water!

Step 4: Wait 12 Hours

Put a lid on your jug or cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight (12 hours or longer). I left this batch in the refrigerator for 18 hours. Its also just fine to leave it on the counter. Refrigeration is not necessary. I just like mine to be nice and cold when it's done so that I can drink it!

Step 5: Drain It

Here is where the metal filter and the big mixing bowl or second 1 gallon pitcher come in.

Slowly pour the steeped coffee through the metal filter into the second container. Some of the grounds will be floating on top and kind of frothy looking. Some of the grounds will have settled to the bottom of the original pitcher. Most of the grounds will be mixed in with the liquid.

There is no need to empty out the metal filter mid way through. Just keep pouring slowly and steadily and all of the liquid will make it through.

Step 6: ENJOY!

Return the filtered coffee to the clean pitcher. Pour yourself a cup and enjoy!

I like mine with ice and plenty of soy milk.

This is my first Instructible. Please give me feed back.



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    I love fresh Juices


    I love fresh Juices


    Good Instructable, I will try this tonight. Go Browns!

    Thanks for these instructions they are very clear, and I got my setup running tonight for the first time, so I get to taste the coffee in the am - yeah! I think you did a great job illustrating the process, and I have only one small suggestion. In step 1, you use GrapeNuts to help the viewer see what size of coffee grind is best for cold pressing. But it's been 10 yrs since i've seen a GrapeNut that up-close and personal, so I don't really remember how big they are! A more standard object, like a ruler or a pencil would be a better size reference, just for your future work, which I hope is plentiful in these instructables, as I was so impressed I signed up. Thanks again for giving me the info I needed to try this!

    I like to boil down the coffee with sugar after I get it concentrated enough to make it into a syrup which I then add to milk. Tastes pretty good.

    I'm in Michigan, and I drink iced coffee year round (hot coffee too). I already have 3 coffee pots, so the idea of buying a french press was pushing the limit. I like this concentrated coffee idea. I usually just drink it black (hot or cold), but have been known to add cream, or cream and sugar. I am also going to try using the concentrated coffee to flavor homemade ice cream - I usually use instant for that, but this would be even better! And I like the "good old Cleveland municipal" comment. Makes you more real. Thank you!

    Gonna have to give this a try im using a filter i took out of a old kettle


    Nice! I'll have to give this a try.

    This is your first Instructable? Really? It's quite good, and I can't wait to try this out. I might suggest in the last step, in the picture where you're pouring coffee back into the pitcher, that you take the picture from a direct angle, perpendicular to the wall. The same applies to a few of the other pictures, for the reason that it makes you seem more professional. There's nothing wrong, it's just a though.

    my wife and i are big time coffee junkies, and iced coffee is one thing that i love to have on summer days. i appreciate this recipe, i can't wait to get home and give it a shot. thanks! nick

    I like the idea. I usually make the hot sort and chill, but this is a method I'd like to explore. Of course, it's 11:30 at night, so I know better than to do it now.

    Very similar to my method, only I used coffee filters to filter the grounds. I'll be converting it into an instructable soon ..

    My web version here: http://rabblog.com/

    My uncle makes excellent cold-brew coffee that makes for great coffee in the summer. I know he uses a special pitcher for it and everything, and I believe the process is somewhat similar to your own, but he once told me he used light to "activate" something in the beans. I've got to ask him exactly what he does. Lately I've been addicted to iced coffee, and I think I'm going to have to try your method immediately. Thanks for the great instructable!

    3 replies

    I am very interested to learn about how and why your uncle uses light in this process! Please let me know. I'm glad you like my first instructable. I'm doing my next one on how to make homemade stock using the scraps of veggies that most of us throw away when preparing a meal. I hope you'll check it out. -Beki

    I went ahead and asked him, and he said he only uses a particular type of glass pitcher with a strainer attached to a rod in the lid (I believe this is called a french press?). Anyway, he takes very cold water, just about to freeze, and essentially carries out everything just as you've done. However, he leaves the pitcher on the windowsill in the sunlight for a few hours. Apparently if you leave it in the sun for too long it warms the water too much and you don't get the cold-brew goodness, but if you get light in there it somehow helps the coffee particles release their umami. Since the particles are darker than the water they absorb the light and this aids in some particular chemical reaction that doesn't normally happen in cold water. He had no scientific basis for any of this so it may be pure perception, but he's been playing with coffee making since before I was borne so I'm assuming he knows what he's doing and is capable of ascertaining the difference in taste by methodology. He also said he's been playing with putting cold packs and ice in the water when he puts it in the light so the water will stay cooler longer and the brew can sustain more light. This whole thing also reminds me of why the Japanese are putting OLEDs in certain refrigerator compartments: the light prevents bacterial growth and enhances the flavor of meats and vegetables. Perhaps I should create an OLED enhanced "french press" thing and see if it makes really good coffee.

    Wow, that is so interesting! I will have to try the sun method tomorrow. I use a french press but only to make hot coffee. I posted a picture of one in the instructable for cold press just as an aside. Thank you for sharing all of the interesting info with me!

    do you need to use that much coffee? cuz i have a small sampler type bag i got from the store i believe its about 1 oz or 2 but im thinking it should be enough for a decent amount of cold press right?

    1 reply


    Yes, you can certainly make smaller batches than what my recipe calls for. Or bigger batches for that matter. For 1-2 oz you are looking at about a 1/2c. -1c. of grounds so I'm guessing that you can use 1/2 - 1 liter of water. It depends on how strong you like your coffee. I must confess I don't know a lot about making that small of a batch. Let me know how it turns out.

    this is an honest question, but whats the point of this? isnt just making coffee in a coffee maker and throwing it in the fridge the same thing? im just curious if this effects the taste at all

    1 reply

    @darkinertia: Good question! It's all about flavor. Many people develop a taste for coffee the way people develop a taste for wine or bourbon or food. If you have had a lot of various coffee beverages made the traditional way (Italian cappuccino, Cuban espresso, Turkish coffee, or even English tea & Indian chai) then coffee made the quick way is less enjoyable. (Think of the difference between cooking food on the grill vs. microwave) I know I sound like a coffee a snob - Ha! I just worked for a coffee shop for several years and got in the habit of making and drinking coffee, espresso and teas in a certain way. Also, the comment from Qadupae is absolutely correct. :)