Cold Brewing Coffee

June 2, 2011 at 8:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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This time I’m brewing coffee! Yes, I know, I’ve been a coffee lover for about a quarter century, but I’m trying something new this time, cold brewing. That’s toddy, for those of you not in the know.

As a guide to this new terrain I used several websites that Jenny sent me. You can find them on my delicious page, just search for “toddy” or “coffee.” I ended up using this method of making toddy in a french press. I used roughly the same ratio, but in a larger press, taking a gamble that I’d like the results.

I did. You betcha I did.

This is the first time I’ve ever made this. I’m not an expert, I’m merely synthesizing information from different websites and trying it out. It’s just that my first time yielded such good results, I had to share.

Large (48 oz/1500 ml) coffee press
Coffee grinder

2 cups (475 ml) of coffee beans
Filtered water (cold or room temperature)

Grind the coffee on a coarse setting. Add to the press. Fill it with room temperature or cold water. Stir to make sure all the grounds are wet. Wait 2 minutes. Stir again. Let sit 12 hours overnight. Plunge press slowly. Pour into a container and refrigerate. Either strain through a paper coffee filter, or do not pour the last bit of sludge. It will (supposedly) keep up to two weeks.

The result is essentially (pun intended) a coffee concentrate. For hot coffee, add one part concentrate to 3-5 parts boiling water. For iced coffee, add a similar amount of cold water and ice.

The result is coffee that is much less bitter, but, since you’re making a concentrate, you can make it as strong as you like. Folks who regularly add cream and/or sugar to their coffee will probably want to add less, if any.

Personally, I have been drinking my coffee black for over a decade. I used one part concentrate to about 4 parts boiling water. The result was a cup of coffee that was among the most smooth and flavorful as I have ever had, and I’ve had some really good coffee in my life. I plan on using the concentrate to make smoothies as well.

Next time, I am going to try doing it with about half as much coffee beans, and I’ll also try changing the brew time, perhaps to as much as 24 hours. I’ll post any relevant observations in the comments. I’d also love to hear about your experiences with cold-brewed coffee!


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  1. when i worked at the coffee house they would make cold brew in giant buckets. they would grind a whole(15-20?) lb bag of beans and put it in this huge filter, tie it up and then fill the bucket with water. it would usually go for about 20 hrs (until the next morning) they would take it out and divide the coffee into smaller pitchers to use.

    it was awesome, because there was always a bit left that wouldn’t fit into all the pitchers so i would occasionally get a free cold coffee.

  2. I love black coffee too! This I have to try, except, I don’t have a coffee press. Then again, Father’s Day is around the bend. Hmmm… 🙂

    Also, the smoothie idea sounds yummy. Or as an ice cream topping?

    • You don’t need a press. Read the web pages on my delicious page that I linked to above. You can do it in just a mason jar (or any wide-mouthed jar) and a sieve/filtering device.

      But if you want a press for father’s day, yeah, you need one. 😉

  3. … and you’re on the road to re-inventing instant coffee.

    Seriously, this kind of coffee concentrate was invented in the 18th century, and evolved in various forms until the modern powdered instant coffee was invented at the start of the 20th century.

    • Well, if that’s the road I’m on, I hope I stop before it starts to suck.

  4. […] my second batch, I used a modified version of the recipe in my previous post: only one cup of coffee beans instead of two, and I’m brewed for 24 hours instead of 12. […]

  5. Here’s a link that my cousin sent me about cold brewing coffee and tea. Thanks, Rob!

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