Cold-Brewed Coffee

  • 01 of 06

    Cold-Brewed Coffee Ingredients

    An image of filtered water and whole coffee beans, the two ingredients for cold-brewed coffee.
    The ingredients for cold-brewed coffee aren't different from those for regular hot coffee, but the flavor of the final product is much smoother with cold-water extraction. Marko Goodwin

    Cold-brewed coffee only became popular in the U.S. around 2005. It’s not a new way to drink coffee, though, and many countries have created their own version of the drink. However, most methods use either coffee that's brewed hot (such as Thai and Vietnamese iced coffee) or instant coffee (like Indian cold coffee).

    Cold brew should not be confused with iced coffee, a drink in which hot or chilled coffee is served with ice, sometimes with milk and syrup. With cold brewing, coffee grounds steep...MORE in room-temperature water for up to 24-hours. This produces a concentrated coffee which is then diluted with water, usually by half, and then served chilled.

    History of Cold-Brewed Coffee

    The first truly cold-brewed coffee, made with cold water, originated in Japan. Kyoto-style coffee, which comes out of Kyoto, Japan, was the cold-brew coffee that dates bak to the 1600s. The Japanese may have learned the process from Dutch traders, who made cold-brewed coffee to take aboard their ships.

    Over time, Kyoto brews have become an art form. The coffee is brewed drop by drop, rather than submerging grounds for hours. A single bead of water is released through the coffee grounds, one at a time, a process that's fascinating to watch. 

    Preparing Cold-Brewed Coffee

    Ease of preparation and a smooth flavor make cold-brewed ​coffee a hot-weather hit. Cold brewing coffee is easy -- simply brew it overnight in a large batch.

    Great cold-brewed coffee begins with one cup good quality, whole coffee beans and one quart (four cups) cold or room-temperature filtered water. You'll also need a quart-sized pitcher, jar or pot, some cling film and a refrigerator.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Grinding Cold-Brewed Coffee

    An image of coffee beans being ground for cold-brewed coffee.
    Grind the beans in several batches if necessary. Marko Goodwin

    As with hot coffee, fresh-ground beans result in the best-tasting coffee. Coarse-grind your coffee beans. If you're using a smaller grinder (like the one pictured) grind in several batches.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Stirring Cold-Brewed Coffee

    An image of coarse-ground coffee beans mixed with water for cold-brewed coffee.
    Adding water slowly and stirring well moistens all the beans and aids in brewing. Marko Goodwin

    Place the coffee beans into the pitcher. Slowly add cold or room temperature filtered water, stirring as you go. Stirring well moistens the beans, ensuring an even and flavorful brew.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Brewing Cold-Brewed Coffee

    An image of coffee ready to be cold brewed.
    Covering your brewing vessel prevents contamination from unwanted fridge odors. Marko Goodwin

    Cover the brewing vessel with cling wrap (such as Saran Wrap) or with a lid. Place it in the fridge overnight (or for roughly 12 hours).

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Filtering Cold-Brewed Coffee

    An image of how to filter cold-brewed coffee.
    Pour slowly to avoid overflow of coffee as the grounds filter. Marko Goodwin

    Use any type of coffee filter to separate the grounds from the cold-brewed coffee. Pour slowly to avoid overflow.

    Some people prefer to use a wire mesh sieve to remove large particles of coffee before filtering finer grounds with a paper or metal filter.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Serving & Storing Cold-Brewed Coffee

    An image of cold-brewed coffee in a glass coffee cup.
    Add ice cubes, coffee ice cubes or liquid sweetener if desired. Marko Goodwin

    Once it has been filtered, cold-brewed coffee is ready to serve. Add ice cubes, coffee ice cubes or a liquid sweetener if desired.

    Cold-brewed coffee will stay fresh up to two weeks if covered and refrigerated.

    Makes four cups, or approximately six servings.