Cold Brew Coffee

coffee-millLike everything else in my life, I like my coffee to be simple.  I usually have it black.  When I want to splurge a little bit, I like it with cream and sugar (especially if it’s cold).  I buy my grounds in the big can from a discount store.  I know that all you coffee snobs out there will be judging me, but that’s fine with me.  One day I will buy my organic beans in bulk, roast them myself and grind them with a beautiful hand cranked coffee mill.  But I’m not there yet.  When I do, I plan to still brew it the same way.

There seems to be a million ways to make coffee!  I can’t believe how many ways there are to make a simple beverage that has been around forever.  Personally, I have made mine with a normal electric coffee maker, percolator, a coffee cone, french press and now the cold brew method.   I haven’t heard of many people using it, but it is not new and we think it makes a pretty good cup of coffee.

A friend of mine turned me on to the cold brew method several months ago.  She told me that it was a healthier way to brew coffee because it is much less acidic than coffee brewed with heat.  It is easier on your stomach and teeth.  It also has more flavor.  You can actually taste the real flavor of the coffee instead of the acid.  When you brew coffee with heat, the oils from the beans are released and turn into acidic compounds that make coffee taste bitter.  This is the reason why most people need to add cream and sugar (or some fancy flavored syrup or fake milk/sugar product) to enjoy their morning cup.  With cold brew, the oils remain intact and so does all the flavor.

Living off-grid, I had most recently made my coffee in a percolator.  While I always enjoyed my morning cup, it seemed that I could never make the right amount.  Sometimes my husband wanted one cup, sometimes he wanted two, and sometimes none at all.  On days when everyone wanted coffee, I ended up having to discard grounds, load it up and make more.  Inevitably part of the second pot was thrown out.  Who wants to drink cold coffee?  It turns out that as hot brewed coffee cools, your taste buds are able to distinguish more and more of that acidic/bitter flavor.  It’s no wonder that very few people drink cold black coffee.  I do not have that problem with cold brewed coffee.  It makes a concentrated coffee “syrup” that you add to water (cold or hot).  You can add as much or little as you want for the strength you prefer.  It’s pretty simple.  You can keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks or on the counter for a day or two, no need to make a fresh pot.

cold-brewThere are lots of fancy devices to make cold brew coffee.  They range in prices from around $300 for the Yama to $14 for the Ronco.  If you want to make cold brew coffee and buy a device to do it, there are many to choose from.  I don’t need another gadget in my kitchen!  And I really like my kitchen equipment to do double duty as much as possible.  Here’s what I do.  I use a 1 quart stainless steel saucepan.  You could use a bigger one, but I like this size because it makes enough to use in one day.  I don’t like to have to refrigerate it, so this works for us.  I also like that I can filter all of it in one pour.  You’ll see what I mean.  I mix 1/2 cup of coffee grounds per 2 cups of water.  I mix it all together in my pot and put the lid on.  You need to let this soak for 12 hours or more.  I usually filter one batch and fill my pot with my next batch at the same time, so it’s all one step.  This is easier for me and ends up being around 24 hours.  When I’m getting breakfast ready, I set a coffee filter in my cone over a pint mason jar.  I pour my cold brew mixture into it.  When all the water has filtered through, it is ready.  Here’s when each person can decide how they like their individual cup.  Put the coffee “syrup” into your cup and add hot or cold water.  Start with 1 part syrup to 3 or 4 parts water.  Adjust to your preference by adding more syrup or water.  I’ve also added cold milk instead of water.  Anyway you do it, it’s delicious!  When I make my coffee cold in the summer, I don’t even have to heat water which means I use no fuel (propane or wood for me) whatsoever.  That’s a win win!

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About JaimieB

Jaimie lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead known online as An American Homestead. They live with their two sons and her parents Tim and Joann on 50 acres located deep in the American Ozark Mountains.

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  1. Can’t wait to try this so I can make coffee ice cream! (I’m a tea drinker!)

  2. Jaimie,
    I love reading all about what you’re up to! Shortly after we moved to Costa Rica, I took a coffee tour and learned so much about coffee. I really had no idea that I was doing it all I now use a French press and have learned the trick to making coffe so that it isn’t bitter is to boil your water and then let it come off the boiling point before pouring over the grounds. Water that is too hot makes your coffee bitter. Now my coffee is fantastic and tastes the same whether hot or cold. I had no idea coffee could taste so good after sitting in my cup for awhile…lol. I am interested in trying this method as well! Who would have thought it could be cold brewed! I will have to give it a try.


  3. I can’t believe I never heard of this before. We tried it this week and it was wonderful. I love that we only have to heat up one tea kettle of water for the tea drinker and the coffee drinkers instead of wasting energy percolating the coffee. The taste is fantastic! We all agreed that it is the smoothest coffee we have ever tasted. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. I made this last night. Delicious!!

  5. Good idea; thanks! And it looks like you have the Melitta ceramic cone. I found one at a yard sale, for $.25, so no more plastic, and I’m using the brown unbleached filters. Turns out you can also make reuseable filters from unbleached muslin; maybe someday. 🙂

  6. gonna try this and give the keureg a rest!

  7. Thank you so much for this recipe. I didn’t realize how “bitter” my coffee was until I prepared it this way. Wonderful! Good bye Mr. Coffee!

  8. It seems one could use their french press to make this-put the water and coffee in,put the top on but don’t press, let sit 24 hrs then press. No filter needed so more savings! I’ll be trying it that way!

  9. I was doing the cold brew method for a couple months and I really do like it, but straining out the coffee was a hassle, so I won’t be returning to it until I can get a cold brew filter. Lehman’s makes one I’m looking at. (Sure I could make one, but I trust Lehman’s seams made with a cover machine more than I trust my hand stitched seams currently.)

  10. I’ll have to try that! To keep the bitterness at bay, we’ve always made ‘egg coffee’. Simply smash a whole raw egg (shell and all) into the grounds with a fork before brewing. It neutralizes the acid.

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