DIY Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

Pre-COVID19 (aka Coronavirus), we were both hooked on Starbucks cold brews. During the “Great Lockdown of 2020”, where we listened to the guidelines from the CDC and stayed home, we obviously couldn’t fulfill our Starbucks cravings. Instead of what seems to be popular “I learned to bake my own bread!”, we chose “I learned to make my own cold brew!”.

Just to be clear – we are by no means culinary geniuses, in fact, we’re usually pretty culinar-ily challenged. Conveniently, my sister-in-law (Lindsey) and her husband (Miguel) are the complete opposite, so they help us along. We have been trying to get them to go on Masterchef for years! Miguel coached us through the general process, which sounded like delicious magic when he described it, so we just ordered everything on Amazon and couldn’t wait to start!

Once the boxes all arrived from Amazon (the next day for the win!), Kirsten and I looked at each other waiting for the other one to magic up some cold brew. Since it didn’t make itself, we stumbled through the first batch together with multiple calls into Miguel. A day later, sipping the first cup, we realized how easy and delicious making your own cold brew can be!

Ingredients (aka Shopping List)

We’ll break this down into the generic item, and then the specific brand / product that we use.

  1. Half gallon mason jars – Ball brand wide mouth (set of 2)
  2. Large pitcher – Rubbermaid 3 quart Seal N’ Saver Pitcher
  3. Large metal strainer – LiveFresh Premium Fine Mesh 5 1/2 in Strainer
  4. 8-12 cup coffee filters – Natural Unbleached 8-12 cup Basket Coffee Filters
  5. Coffee grounds – Cafe Bustelo Espresso Ground Coffee (10 oz brick)
  6. Water – cold from our refrigerator with inline charcoal filter

cold brew ingredients
Ingredients teed up and ready to brew!

How-To (step by step)

Starting with the quick notes version, followed by the detail version with pictures. Meaning if you’ve never done this, probably best to read the detail version and then reference the quick notes on subsequent batches.

  1. Put dry coffee grounds in jars
  2. Add equal part water to the jar
  3. Shake vigorously
  4. Store in refrigerator
  5. Remove from fridge, shake
  6. Pour through strainer into large pot
  7. Pour back into jar, repeat this and step 6 as needed
  8. Pour back into jar, add coffee filter to strainer
  9. Pour through filter into large pot
  10. Do not reuse filter, but repeat steps 8 + 9 until entire jar is filtered
  11. Carefully pour from pot into pitcher, add water as desired
  12. Return to refrigerator or serve and enjoy!

Now for more detail and specifics for how we do it (with pictures!):

  1. Put approximately half of the brick of Bustelo into each mason jar. mason jar coffee grounds
  2. Add filtered water doubling the volume of just grounds. mason jar coffee grounds
  3. Shake / swirl vigorously (approx. 10 sec)
    Keep swirlin swirlin swirlin
  4. Store in refrigerator (approx. 24 hrs, shaking every time we remember or open the fridge). cold brew coffee
  5. Remove from fridge, swirl / shake to get grounds mixed that settled on the bottom of the jar, get your pot / strainer / filters ready to go. We do this first thing in the morning on a day when we will be home for several hours so we don’t rush.
    Keep swirlin swirlin swirlin
  6. Pour through strainer into large pot – make sure the pot is tall enough for the strainer not to touch the liquid or the bottom of the pot. This step takes 1-2 minutes and the solution will initially go right through but will get thicker as you empty the jar, resulting in what looks like brownie mix in the strainer! Helps to tap the strainer on the pot to shake up the grounds and get as much liquid out as possible. homemade coffee
  7. Swirl liquid in pot to get the grounds off the bottom, then slowly pour back into a mason jar, only need one at this point. Discard the grounds remaining in the strainer (aka brownie mix), repeat this and step 6 until minimal grounds are left in the strainer. We usually need to do this strainer only filtering 3-4 times.
    homemade coffee
    First round coffee grounds (looks like a brownie!)
    Final round in just the strainer, barely any grounds caught
  8. Pour back into the mason jar, add a coffee filter to the middle of the strainer – which will be puffed up and look odd, spread it out so you have an easy target for the next step.
  9. Slowly pour from the mason jar through the coffee filter, being careful not to overflow the filter, which will flatten out as you pour. homemade coffee
  10. Do not reuse coffee filters, but repeat step 9 until the mason jar is empty and you have filtered all of your coffee through the coffee filter. We usually use 3-4 filters at this step, and it can take 2-3 hours per filter.
    homemade coffee
    Make sure you don’t overfill the filter!
    homemade coffee
    After two hours of filtering
  11. Carefully pour from the pot into the mason jars, add filtered water to double the volume of just filtered coffee solution (this part can vary based on the strenght you like your coffee). homemade cold brew coffee
  12. Pour from jars into pitcher, return to refrigerator or serve (over ice, half large cup full) and enjoy (with 2 tbsp creamer)!                                                                                       

homemade cold brew coffee

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