Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee




Introduction: Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

It's getting warm in the Bay Area. Time to put away the coffee maker and switch to iced! It seems silly to pour hot coffee on cold ice. How inefficient! Let's cold brew instead.

Step 1: Gather Your Stuff

Go to the store and get some coffee. Or maybe you already have some; that's cool too. I usually buy some bulk french roast beans from my local branch of a Superman-themed national grocery store chain (I like to pretend that's what the logo means), and use their grinder on its coarsest setting (if you're into that sort of thing, coffee with chicory also works quite well). Either way, gather up the following:

- coarse ground coffee (freshly ground is best)
- fresh water - pot with lid
- spoon to stir
- fine mesh strainer
- container for the finished product (I used an empty iced tea jug)

How much coffee, you ask? That's up to you. How much coffee do you want to make? Whatever amount you choose, use the following ratio:

1 part ground coffee : 16 parts water by weight
(remember that for water, 1 liquid oz. = 1 oz by weight, and 1 mL = 1 g).

I used 2 gallons (256 oz) water and 1 lb (16 oz) of coffee in my first attempt...which was a little excessive. Now it's 1 gallon (128 oz) water to 1/2 lb (8 oz) coffee.

Step 2: Mix Ingredients

Grab your pot with its lid. How big a pot should you use? That depends on how much water you're using, now doesn't it? You need a pot big enough to hold that plus some (too big is better-and less messy-than too small). Dump your coffee grounds in, then pour the water over the top. Stir it, cover, and set it aside.

Step 3: Wait

This part sucks, I know, but you need to let it sit for at least 8-12 hours. Longer is fine (my last batch sat for about 24 hours and turned out great). Besides, what's your hurry? No, not in the fridge! Don't let the name fool you, it should be sitting at room temperature.

Step 4: Strain

This part's pretty easy. Pour your coffee through a strainer (I pour it into a large mixing bowl with a spout, which I then use to pour into my jug. You could pour directly into a pitcher, if that's what you're going to use). f you used coarse-ground coffee like I told you to, this should be sufficient. If you were silly and used either fine-ground or pre-ground coffee, you might want to add a layer or two of cheesecloth to your strainer. The spent grounds make excellent compost.

Step 5: Chill and Enjoy

Put your coffee in the fridge. It should last for a few weeks if you keep it in a closed container (although mine's usually gone by then). I like my coffee black, so I simply pour it over ice into a mason jar with a plastic lid, and I'm out the door. Much faster than waiting for the coffee-maker to brew! If you like your coffee adulterated, you might add some milk, cream, simple syrup, etc. If you want to be extra fancy, a spoonful or two of sweetened-condensed milk is a nice addition.  

However you like it, iced coffee is a great way to get your summer caffeine fix, and cold brewing is the only way to go for great iced coffee!

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    7 years ago

    I tried putting the coffee in a sock as a sort of "tea" bag, and twisty tied it very tightly. and left it in a cold jar of water the fridge. it wasn't strong enough, so I tried it again with coffee grounds loose in the water. then poured it through a paper strainer in the morning.. very good!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    As an update, I have a new favorite coffee to use for this: New Mexico Pinon Coffee, which is available at Trader Joe's, if you're lucky enough to live near one. I don't love it when brewed hot, but it plays really well in this cold-brewed setting.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sun tea jug is a good idea, and a great thing to use if you have it (provided it's glass, not plastic, which could leach some flavors). A clean, non-reactive pot (like the stainless steel one I use in the picture) shouldn't impart any flavors, though (and I certainly haven't noticed any in all the times I've done this).


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Instead of a steel pot ( which may impart weird flavors) I use a glass 'sun tea' jug when making a gallon of cold brew, my storage pitcher holds 2.5 quarts, so once I pour through a strainer lined with a regular coffee filter, it's just big enough to hold the results...minus that one big glass I just gotta have right away!

    Using the strainer + filter method takes some time, but don't rush it by changing out the filter or letting grit/grounds through just the wire mesh. You can still easily spread the used grounds in your garden.