June 18, 2014 3 min read

I was excited when Alana asked me to guest blog for her. She knows I’m as passionate about coffee as she is about Etta + Billie. She also knows I don’t have a lot of time to spend doing fancy things with fancy equipment. So, when I say making your own cold brew is easy – it’s EASY. It requires no fancy equipment and it is practically no-fail. Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty grinds!

Why cold brew? Cold brewing gives you a wonderful, delicious cup of coffee without the bitterness and acidity that heating the grounds imparts. You’ll start to enjoy coffee for all the nuances and ‘notes’ your beans have. If you are sensitive to the acids in coffee this is a way to enjoy your favorite beverage again. If you love iced coffee it’s the way to go, incredibly convenient. I’ve even heard that some people will make an extra strong batch then add boiling water to make a hot cup. I haven’t tried it this way yet, but it’s an interesting idea.

For a basic set up you need beans, some sort of filter to put them in (like a nut milk bag, here’s the one I have; or disposable filter bags for tea), a 2 liter pitcher, and a refrigerator. I also like to use a mesh strainer to capture some of the sludge. Here’s a shot of mine.

Today I’m using a nice dark roast from Paramo Roasters, Shadowplay. I’ll use enough beans for about 1.5 cups at a medium to coarse grind. Finer and you’ll have a lot of sludge. Here’s the beauty of all this, just about nothing you could do is wrong. You can’t really do too much or too little! If you make it too strong then you have a concentrate that you can then add water to taste.  Too little and no need to dilute, you can just drink it straight. Well, I suppose you could make it too weak, but that’s subjective.

The how:

  1. Grind your beans. (or get the shop to do it for you, even easier!)
  2. Scoop into filter bag. (use at least 1.5 cups for a 2L pitcher)
  3. Place in pitcher.
  4. Add water.
  5. Place in refrigerator overnight (or longer).
  6. In the morning remove the bag and give it a good squeeze.
  7. Set grounds aside for use around the house. (more on that later)
  8. ENJOY! – Add water, sugar, and/or milk to your preference

Some final notes:

If it lasts that long, cold brew will be good for up to a week-and-a-half in the refrigerator. If you run out of time the next morning and have to decide between catching the bus or straining your coffee grounds – go get that bus. Trust me, your cold brew won’t be ruined if left longer – I’ve done it, it’ll just be just more concentrated! I keep repeating myself on this, but there’s just about nothing you can do to cold brew to make a bad batch!

Some people think you should only use espresso roast. I disagree, I say use what you have on hand! This will work with just about anything. Do you have family who love you and know you love coffee but know nothing about it themselves? This could be the only way to salvage that nearly undrinkable bag of beans they gave you. Cold brew requires no special equipment. Some sort of filter bag if you want, but even then some people put the grounds straight into the pitcher and filter through a fine mesh strainer afterward. Can you get fancy equipment? Sure, but I say go lo-fi and spend the money you saved on something wonderful like Etta + Billie Ritual Roasters Coffee Soap or Mint Coffee Scrub!

What to do with all those coffee grinds:

  • Use the them in your plants. They’ll love the nitrogen, especially starter plants.
  • Use them as a natural pot scrub. Used grinds are great for scouring pots and pans. Just put a scoop on your sponge.
  • Also scrub your hands when you need a little extra power. They’re great if you’ve been chopping garlic or onions, too.

There you have it, cold brew coffee in a few easy steps.

About Dawn:

Coffee and chocolate are my two favorite food groups, the darker the better!  I can talk a lot about both, but prefer not to get overly snobby and pedantic about either. When I’m not discussing the finer points of ground cacao or coffee I am hanging out with my honey and two fantastic kiddos in the gorgeous Bay Area. You can follow my coffee adventures at Grounds for Review.


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