Despite having read about how easy it is to make my own cold brew concentrate for years, I had yet to give it a go. In general, my desire for instant gratification prevents me from making recipes that call for an overnight soak, rise, chill, etc. (In fact, a recent experiment of mine confirmed that cookie dough does not, thankfully, benefit from 24 hours in the fridge). But I’ve recently made an exception, and I really think you should, too.
Cold brew coffee is worth the DIY treatment for multiple reasons. For one, it tastes better. You have full control over your coffee grounds, meaning you can make it with your favorite hazelnut or vanilla blend, your local coffee shop’s house blend, or even a decaf if you’re cutting back on caffeine. You can also make it as strong or as weak as you like, based on how much water you use to dilute the concentrate. And lastly, it’s much, much, cheaper than buying cold brew every morning. More on that in a minute.
What you’re really creating when you make your own cold brew is the cold brew concentrate. It’s the at-home version of what is now sold in many grocery stores (some, including Trader Joe’s, even have their own line). To make your own, all you need is course-ground coffee. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, check your local grocery store: often times they’ll have one. If not, ask your local coffee shop if they’ll sell you a bag of coarsely ground coffee.
Then, mix your grounds with cold water and let sit, covered, overnight at room temperature. I’ve found that mixing two cups of ground coffee with nine cups of water is enough for at least 12 servings. In the morning, you’ll simply pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer. When you’re ready to make a glass, mix ¾ cup concentrate with ½ cup cold water. Serve over ice, and if you’re like me, add a splash of almond milk.
RELATED: What's the Difference Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew?
Not convinced? Think of it this way: I spent $5 on my bag of ground coffee. That gets me at least 12 glasses of delicious cold brew, averaging $0.40 a glass. That’s much, much cheaper than a) buying a cup of cold-brew from a coffee shop every morning (about $4 each), or b) buying a bottle of pre-made concentrate, which, at an average of $8 per 16 fluid oz., averages to about $1 a glass.
If you're more of a tea person, try our method for cold-brew iced tea.