Easy Cold Brew Coffee




About: I'm a photographer by trade, which means I'm usually broke. So I'm always having to fix things cheaply. I'm also a Craigslist addict. I'm married and have four kids, but they're the kind that walk on four...

Once upon a time I was a barista at a little coffee house in New Orleans. They made their cold brew iced coffee by grinding five pounds of coffee into a a large filter bag then soaking it in five gallons of water for 18 hours. What I did is very similar to that, but on a smaller level and probably not up to food service standards.


Step 1: Gathering Supplies

First you'll need a few things to pull this off:

1.  Coffee (duh)  about 6-8oz for gallon sized container, adjust as needed for your container.
*I don't recommend using espresso grounds like I did here.  I wouldn't go with anything darker than French Roast

2.  Big filter, I used an old, but clean t-shirt

3.  String, used to tie off the bag so the coffee stays in.
*don't use twist ties, they will most likely rust.

4.  Container, I used a margarita mix container because I like margaritas and had a clean one handy

5.  Water, of course

6.  Room in your fridge

Step 2: Get Filter and Coffee Ready

1.Open up the filter (t-shirt) to allow coffee to be dumped in.  If you're using a t-shirt, make sure you have enough extra shirt on the sides to allow you to twist the shirt and tie it off with string.

2. Dump in coffee

3. Tie it up

4.  Brush off any coffee on the outside of the filter.

Step 3: Start Brewing

Inspect your filter/t-shirt for leaks.  If all is well put the filter in your container and add cool water.

Step 4: Let Chill (for a Long Time)

Now all you need to do is cover your container and let your coffee brew in the fridge.  I recommend letting it brew for 18+ hours.  That will give you a pretty strong pot of coffee.  If you like your coffee on the weak side stop after 10-12 hours.  If you want your coffee stronger brew it for 24+ hours.

You can always sample your batch during the brewing to see how much additional time is needed.

After you've waited whatever amount of time you've decided on, pull out your filter and enjoy.



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    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i did the same thing a few months ago using an old cleaned out creatine container to brew it in


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i too was a barista at one point. they did this at my shop and called it De -Acid coffee and heated it up with the espresso steam. it is good in the fridge for at least a week so don't worry about making too much . with the coffee if you like more caffeine use med roast if not so much use dark roast.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i do something similar using my french press. I fill it with water and coffee then leave it in the fridge over night. in the morning I stir it and press the grounds out. taste great and virtually no work.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That's cool, but I prefer to make mine in bulk. I'd forget the night before and end up having to brew hot coffee in the morning, and it's just too hot out for that right now. I'll probably end up getting a french press when the colder months come around.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I've just acquired a 2 pack of one gallon paint strainer bags from the Home Depot that I plan to use in a one gallon sun tea jar with a spigot. Upon researching multiple sites for cold brew methods, and having done it with 5x7 muslin bags in a 2 quart pitcher for several months, I plan on bigger -- and hopefully better -- brewing that is very close to your method.

    The reasons I got paint strainer bags are

    1- I found out that they're essentially the same as nut-milk bags

    2- They cost about 1/10th as much as said nut-milk bags

    3- They have a nifty elastic top edge to stretch over the top of the sun tea jar

    Once I fix my jar (the spigot leaks!), I plan to place one of these, seam side out into it with the elastic out around the neck. I use 1.5 to 2 cups of coffee for my 2 quart pitcher, so I figure 4 cups regular cheapie store brand should work here...just dump it into the bag in the jar. Add water to fill the jar and give it a quick, gentle stir. Put the lid on over the edge of the bag and keep it in the fridge. As the level of elixir is removed via the spigot, the level of coffee inside the bag should lower as well (to a certain point, of course) and any silt that gets through should stay in the very bottom of the jar where the spigot doesn't draw it out into your cup.

    It seems to have the same advantages as yours PLUS you don't have to worry about a t-shirt bundle unraveling, or having holes, or fishing it out when you're done. When the jar is empty just lift out the bag, give it a few gentle squeezes, then dump the grounds in the garden for the roses and tomatoes!

    I keep my homemade flavored simple syrups (mint, vanilla, cinnamon, etc) and a carton of half n half in the fridge next to my current pitcher...if this works out, I may have to start making larger batches of syrup!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    i am curious if this worked out for you, seems like a great idea and was going to make a bunch of ice coffee to freeze for a camping trip!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    A few months ago I took the pour spouts off of my box wine (yeah i'm wicked classy) when they were done because i thought i would find a use for them some day. Thanks to you, i have found that use. Sometimes being a pack rat pays off.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love your idea! Great way to repurpose a container with a spout. I would imagine that any kind of drink that you want to dispense cold would work. I can think of so many like Tea, Lemonaide, Kool-Aid to name a few. Now I have to go and find one of those buckets!