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Grab a cold one.

April 21, 2012

A cold brewed coffee, that is.

I apologize for this not being a cupcake post, or any kind of edible post. It’s a drinkable recipe. I hope you still enjoy it!

I guarantee most of you have heard of cold brewed coffee by now. It’s the “latest trend” in coffee; a bandwagon I’ve avoided like the plague. But, like The Hunger Games, I caved in. Especially after reading about it’s ultimate deliciousness. The coffee, not The Hunger Games. Here’s a little background from our friend Wikipedia:

Cold brew or cold press refers to the process of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature water for an extended period. It is also sometimes referred to as Toddy coffee which is a trademarked cold brewing system.

The cold-press process requires grinding coffee beans at a relatively coarse setting (typically as fine as possible to still be filtered[1]) and soaking those grounds in cold water for a prolonged period of time, usually 12 hours or more. The grounds must be filtered out of the cold water after they have been steeped using a paper coffee filter, a fine metal sieve, or a French press. The result is a coffee concentrate that is often diluted with water or milk, and can be served hot, over ice, or blended with ice and other ingredients such as chocolate.

Cold brewed coffee naturally seems sweeter due to its lower acidity. Because the coffee beans in cold-press coffee never come into contact with heated water, the process of leaching flavor from the beans produces a different chemical profile than conventional brewing methods.[2]

Cold brew coffee is a type of iced coffee, but this latter term also refers to coffee that is brewed hot and then chilled.

Thanks to The Daily Beast & America’s Test Kitchen & some other websites, I learned the 411 on why I should be drinking cold brew. Less bitterness & acidity as well as reduced oil content are two of the pluses, as well as the fact that 90% of the flavor and the exact same amount of caffeine come through. That sold me. See, I love my coffee. And despite the fact that I add sugar & milk, I find a lot of it to have a gross bitterness. I’ve figured out exactly what brands I enjoy and thanks to my Keurig it’s made it way easier to avoid the highly acidic or bitter “bold” roasts. But when I brew my own ground coffee I do find that most of it is too bitter for me- like old diner coffee. Or worse yet: coffee that tastes like burned sludge. Ugh. Again, Keurig helps avoid that issue without resorting to instant coffee. But still. Another plus of a cold brew? It’s apparently way stronger than hot brewed coffee. So strong it has to be diluted. Sign me up! And get this:

[…] the flavor of cold-brewed coffee won’t change over time. Cold-brewed coffee has never been hot, so its chemistry doesn’t change as it cools. As soon as you filter out the grounds, you’ve got a stable solution. With temperature change comes change in taste, but because cold-brewed coffee eliminates most of that temperature change, flavor is locked in. In other words, your day-old cold-brew won’t taste stale like day-old coffee.

The Daily Beast

Again- sign me the hell up. Another benefit? All of that makes it the perfect type of coffee to use in baking or dessert-making. So the next time you’re making something like chocolate stout cupcakes, or bittersweet chocolate cupcakes, or mochacchino cupcakes… you’ve gotta brew up some of this to use.

After pouring the water into the grounds.


Cold brewed coffee takes much more time than hot, obviously. The main reason people even use hot brew is because it’s quick. That’s all. However, on the other side of the coin, cold brew takes more than 24 hours from start to finish. It’s a very easy process, but it takes quite a while to “brew.” And of course, it’s not hot. It’s room temperature, and you add ice cubes to it. So it’s more iced coffee than anything.

But I love me some ice coffee.

After waiting 10 minutes, stirring the grounds & waiting again.

And then… you wait. And while you wait, you write up the recipe. Because yes- they do sell cold brew coffee machines. But why do you have to buy one when you can use things you already own just as easily? And how much crap can we really cram in our kitchens anyway?



  • 5 tablespoons ground coffee (preferably good quality & freshly ground)
  • 4 cups room temperature filtered water (I used Poland Spring because my tap water ain’t all that, even when filtered)
  • French Press, large Mason jar or other glass container
  • Coffee filters
  • Sieve


  1. Put the grounds in a French Press. If you don’t have a French Press- get one. If you can’t run out and buy one right now, then put them in a large Mason jar or other large container (preferably glass).
  2. Pour the room temperature water over them. Wait 10 minutes. Don’t touch it for 10 minutes. Seriously.
  3. After 10 minutes, stir. I stirred somewhat vigorously, creating a mini-whirlpool. Then just walk away and leave it alone for another 10 minutes.
  4. Once the 10 minutes is up, cover it with plastic wrap (or the jar lid) and keep it at room temperature for 24 hours.
  5. Once the time is up, “press” the grounds (if using a French Press). Then place the sieve over a large glass measuring cup or glass bowl & place a coffee filter in it. Pour the coffee slowly into the filter. You might have to help push it through with a rubber spatula every now and then. If you’re not using a French Press, you’ll need to do this process two or more times. When it’s finished, dilute it with water at a 1:1 ratio (trust me on this- cold brewed coffee is STRONG). Remember when choosing your containers that you’ll end up with roughly 8 cups of coffee.
  6. Fill a glass with plenty of ice. Pour coffee in and enjoy!
Straining the coffee...

I’d recommend using a French Press for this. Not only does it make the filtering process easier, it’s just handy to have around. I love my French Press, and I don’t use it much anymore since getting my Keurig last year, only when I run out of K-cups, so I was excited to break it out again. Now it has a new job: making cold brew coffee!

Okay so for all you coffee drinkers that, like me, hate the acidic or bitter taste of most coffee… you’ll adore this method. You barely need sugar, seriously. I added it anyway because I like a little coffee with my sugar. But you really don’t need it. Especially if the only reason you take it isn’t so much for the taste/sweet tooth but just to cover the strength of the coffee. If you like the bitterness, you may not like this at all. Mainly because it really is much milder, tastier and sweeter. You really get a true coffee taste without any extra stuff or without an aftertaste. I kind of feel like this is the way coffee is supposed to be.

Just remember to store your cold brew in the fridge. And if you’re worried about diluting your brew with the melted water from ice cubes, pour some coffee in an ice cube tray and freeze it, then use those. And yeah, I drank mine in a jar. How else?

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  1. Yes, cold brew! My grandma used to make a cold-brewed coffee that was super strong–almost like a syrup–and keep it in the fridge to just mix with water and milk for a cup of perfect iced coffee anytime. One of these days I must figure out how she did it…

  2. Eileen- in my research on the internet, I saw a lot of people talking about that. I bet if you Googled it you could find out how. As a matter of fact, someone said that the syrup’s even better to use for baking purposes too!

  3. I’ve tried this recipe twice-the first time without a french press and the second time with one- and both times the results have been a coffee-flavored water. This definitely didn’t make a strong coffee concentrate. I ended up tossing both batches because it came out nasty. Are the measurements in the recipe correct? Maybe it’s suppose to be TBSP and not tsp? Because following the recipe to a T didn’t produce what was promised.

  4. Hey Erin-

    The second time I attempted this I used an espresso and it didn’t quite come out right either. It was actually undrinkable. My original attempt was excellent, though, so I chalked it up to the coffee type I used on the second try (I also tossed whatever was left in that tin). It was older coffee, not at all brand new, fresh grounds, that had been sitting in the tin for a few months. I’m not exactly sure why it didn’t work but it could’ve been either or those things… or neither of them. Maybe it was my water, too. My tap water taste changes a lot, they’re always digging up the lines around here & they tend to make it a bit too chemical-y at times, so maybe that was it. I had two friends try it after I posted this & both of them were in love, so I have no idea.

    Maybe my recipe wasn’t right for your coffee? Maybe some coffees need more, well, coffee? Maybe my first try was just dumb luck? Bon Appetit says “Cold brewing coffee is a forgiving process. All you need to remember is the ratio of 9 cups of water to 1/2 lb. of ground beans. Then, just add water, wait, and strain.”

    Read More

    The original idea & basic outline is here:
    Another recipe is here:

    Those links there use more coffee than I say I did in this recipe, so you might be right. This was a few months ago so I can’t really remember whether or not I got the measurements wrong. Unfortunately. If so, then it’s entirely possible that was the issue.

    I’m going to update the recipe to tablespoons, and I’m going to give it another go in the name of science. If you happen to want to try it again and you use tablespoons, could you please let me know how it worked out for you, too?

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