How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

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 How to Make Cold Brew Coffee is a super easy make-at-home, no-machine-needed method for enjoying iced coffee all year long. Watch the video showing you how to make cold brew coffee, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home.

glass mug of cold brew coffee with cream swirling around in it

I wrote a post quite a few years ago sharing how to make iced coffee, and it was a big hit.  That method is the super simple way of making iced coffee without much effort involved.  And I totally enjoy drinking my iced coffee that way too.  But I recently started making cold brew coffee at home and keeping in the refrigerator for my whole family to enjoy.  It’s especially nice to have in the summer months when it’s sweltering hot outside.

plastic pitcher of water

How to make Cold Brew Coffee:

Start with a one-gallon pitcher.  I just use a cheap, plastic pitcher that I picked up in my market’s “summer section” for about $3.00.  Fill your pitcher with bottled or filtered water.  Room temperature is just fine.  If your tap water is decent, it’s okay to use that too.

adding coffee grounds to a plastic pitcher of water

Put two cups of coffee grounds directly into the water in the pitcher.  As for the type of coffee used… choose a kind of coffee that you enjoy.  And it’s okay to use either regular or decaf.

pitcher of cold brew coffee with coffee grounds marinating in the pitcher

Stir the coffee grounds into the water.  Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight (or for 24 hours).  This is the “cold brew coffee” process.  The coffee will have a chance to brew into the water and give it great flavor!

pitcher of cold brew coffee sitting next to glass bowl lined with cheesecloth

Next you’ll need to set up a way to strain the coffee grounds.  I used a bowl with a strainer set inside and then a double layer of cheesecloth inside the strainer.  If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use paper towels or a coffee filter.  

straining coffee and grounds through cheesecloth into a bowl

You will probably need to strain the cold brew coffee twice to make sure you are not leaving any coffee grounds behind.

pitcher of cold brew coffee displayed with a wooden background

Then you’ll discard all of the grounds and pour the strained cold brew coffee back into a clean pitcher.  Now you can keep it in the refrigerator to be enjoyed for up to two weeks!

mug of ice displayed with a wood background

How to serve Cold Brew Coffee:

Serve it over ice, of course!  If you’re really energetic, you can make some ice cubes out of some of the cold brew so you’re pouring your cold brew over cold brew ice cubes!  Then there’s no chance of it getting watered down with regular ice cubes.

glass mug of cold brew coffee with a wooden backdrop

It’s ready to drink… UNLESS you’d like to add some additional ingredients to make this cold brew iced coffee extra awesome.

Milk for Cold Brew Coffee with a wood backdrop

I suggest adding a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk and a splash of milk.  That’s how I like to drink it anyways.  It will be perfectly sweet, and the milk mellows out the strong coffee flavor a bit.  Sweets lovers might wish to add TWO spoonfuls of sweetened condensed milk.  It will taste like dessert.  Buy the FAT FREE sweetened condensed milk if you want it to be a little less indulgent.

glass mug of cold brew coffee with cream with a wood backdrop

Stir it up with a spoon or a straw.  You’ll see that the condensed milk settles at the bottom of your glass, but if you give it a few vigorous stirs then it will mix into the coffee just fine.

Cold Brew Coffee in a glass mug with a straw sitting on a wooden table

And now it’s time to enjoy your cold brew coffee!  It’s the best iced coffee around.  Note:  I found these stainless steel straws on Amazon and I’m obsessed with using them for everything now!

hand holding a mug of glass mug of cold brew coffee with a backyard pool scene behind it

Happy Summer!

Here are a few more “How to Make” posts that you might be interested in:

Cold Brew Coffee in a glass mug with a straw sitting on a wooden table
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5 from 7 votes

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

You can drink iced coffee at home all summer long using this easy method!
Cook Time 1 day
Servings 16 cups
Calories 1kcal
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword cold brew coffee, iced coffee


  • 2 cups coffee grounds (okay to use regular or decaf)
  • cheesecloth, paper towels or coffee filters
  • 1 gallon (16 cups) room temperature water
  • sweetened condensed milk, optional
  • milk, optional


  • Add coffee grounds to the water in a large pitcher. Refrigerate overnight (or 24 hours).
  • Place a fine sieve in a large bowl (or another pitcher) with a double layer of cheesecloth, paper towels or coffee filters inside the sieve. If you don't happen to have a sieve, use the finest strainer you have, and line the strainer with the same things. Pour the cold brewed coffee through the lined sieve/strainer. The coffee grounds should be left behind with the cheesecloth/paper towels/coffee filters catching them. If you still see grounds after straining, go ahead and strain a second time. Store the strained cold-brew coffee in a large pitcher in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Serve cold brew coffee over a tall glass of ice. If you're really motivated, you can make some ice cubes from the cold brew coffee and use those so your iced coffee doesn't get watered down at all.
  • Add ins: Cold brew coffee is delicious with a tablespoon or two of sweetened condensed milk and a splash of regular milk too.



  • Adding sweetened condensed milk and/or milk to your cold brew coffee will change the nutritional information.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 1kcal | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 15mg
Coffee Cakes to Eat with Your Iced Coffee...
Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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  • Shona wrote:

    What is the difference between cold brew coffee and making standard/regular hot coffee and letting it go cold?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      It’s cold brewed instead of hot. Some people way when made the other way (letting hot coffee go cold) lends a bitter flavor to the iced coffee.

  • Terry Rigsby wrote:

    Wondering how much of a flavor to use for my Iced coffee?
    Can you give me an idea of what Brand to use for Mocha, and how much to use of it.
    Thank you.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      It totally depends on your preference! You’ll just have to play around with it a little bit to see what you like.

  • Chell wrote:

    I have been making my own cold brew at home for ages and I love it. I get the flavored syrups to switch things up and use half and half for the creaminess. If you go on Amazon they have fine mesh tubes you can put in a 2qt jar and you get your coffee without the hassle of straining! Cold Brew Coffee Maker, Iced Coffee & Tea Maker Infuser for Mason Jars | Durable Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Coffee Maker Filter (Stainless Steel – Straight, Fits 64 oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars)

    • Lori Lange wrote:


  • Becky Hardin wrote:

    Cold Brew is my favorite way to drink coffee. Yum!

  • Ashley F wrote:

    This is one of my favorite summer drinks! This version is delicious!

  • Krissy Allori wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I look forward to trying this.

  • Suzy wrote:

    This is so refreshing and easy to make! Will definitely be sipping on this all summer long!

  • Ken Leeseberg wrote:

    I have made cold brew for 40 years, not to use as iced coffee but to keep the acids from the coffee hurting my health.
    As an experiment put the coffee grounds from the cold brewing on the garden and watch it kill the flowers…that
    that is what is going into your body when you hot brew coffee.I am very healthy at 87 years and I owe it to cold
    brewed coffee.Try it for yourself and see how good you feel. You can ow heat it after it is brewed and make it
    into a healthy coffee..thanks for letting me tell you my story… works

  • Anna wrote:

    My favorite way to make cold brew coffee! Perfect on a hot summer day!