Give your bank account a break from its caffeine fix and learn how to make your own cold brew concentrate! Mixed with water to make the iconic homemade cold brew, you need just 2 ingredients and you’ll have rich and delicious coffee for days!
Cold Brew Concentrate
As someone who starting drinking coffee from a very young age, I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for new ways to enjoy my favorite beverage. I’m very picky when it comes to coffee. I don’t really like adding flavors to it and have always enjoyed it black.
During the warmer months, I switch my hot cup of coffee for the iced variety which is essentially the same thing, except over ice. Recently, I was introduced to the wonders of cold brew coffee, and I’ve been immediately swayed.
What is cold brew?
Cold brew is a mixture of cold brew concentrate with iced or warm water. It has taken the coffee world by storm and is easily one of the most popular beverages at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and more. Now, cold brew coffee concentrate is NOT the same as cold brew. As the name suggests, the concentrate is similar to a shot of espresso, in which water or milk is added to it. It also refers to the process of brewing, which involves the ground coffee seeing the flavor and caffeine into the water.
Now, while the cold brew is incredibly delicious, it is also very expensive! Luckily, making your own cold brew concentrate recipe is SO easy to do and needs just two ingredients! No fancy gadgets or equipment is needed, but you’d never tell. The texture is smooth and it tastes pleasantly rich and ever so lightly sweet. The best part of making your own concentrate is that it makes SO much- You’ll be able to enjoy cold brew for weeks with just one batch!
I’ve loved how much money I’ve saved since making my own and if you take a look in my fridge, you’ll notice an always full pitcher of concentrate ready to make a glass of cold brew on demand!
How do you make cold brew concentrate?
- Ground coffee– Roughly ground coffee is the best texture for cold brew. This means the granules are a similar texture to coarse sugar or salt.
- Water– Filtered cold water, not tap or lukewarm water.
- Vanilla extract– Optional, but add this if you will add sugar or sweetener to your cold brew coffee.
Start by adding the ground coffee into a large pitcher. Add 2 cups of the cold water to it stir together until the coffee begins to dissolve. Pour in the remaining water and cover the pitcher. Let the pitcher sit at room temperature overnight, for at least 12 hours.
Now, strain the coffee through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Strain the coffee once more through a cheesecloth, ensuring no tiny granules of coffee remains. Pour the cold brew coffee concentrate back into the pitcher and refrigerate it. If adding the vanilla extract, whisk it through before refrigerating it.
Making the best homemade cold brew
Now that we’ve made the cold brew concentrate, you can use it now to make actual cold brew. The ideal ratio is one part cold brew concentrate to four parts cold or hot water. Obviously, this depends on how strong or weak your coffee is! Here are my tried and tested ratios-
- Strong coffee– Pour 1/4 cup of cold brew concentrate with 1/2 cup cold water.
- Standard coffee– Add 2 tablespoons cold brew concentrate with 1/2 cup of cold water.
- Flavored coffee– Combine 3 tablespoons cold brew concentrate with 1/3 cup of cold water. Add flavorings of choice.
- Milky coffee– Combine 3 tablespoons cold brew concentrate with 1/3 cup of cold water. Add milk of choice.
You may have noticed that many popular coffee shops have various flavors of cold brew. While the original tastes delicious on it’s own, here are some fun flavors for some variety-
- Salted caramel cream– Add some sugar free caramel sauce or caramel syrup into a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or plant based double cream. Using a hand mixer, beat together until smooth and fluffy. Pour over your homemade cold brew and swirl through with a straw.
- Vanilla sweet cream– Add sugar free or traditional vanilla syrup into a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of heavy or plant based cream. Beat together with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Pour over the cold brew and swirl through using a spoon or straw.
- Add chocolate– Whisk in 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup into the cold brew.
- Add milk– Almond milk, whole milk, oat milk, or your favorite milk of choice.
- Honey almond cold brew– Whisk in 2 tablespoons keto honey and 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk to the prepared cold brew.
Tips to make the best cold brew coffee
- Use filtered water, if possible, as it gives the coffee the cleanest flavor.
- You don’t want your coffee to be too finely ground, or else it can make the concentrate gritty (even when put through the cheesecloth).
- While it may seem cumbersome, straining the coffee twice (through a fine mesh sieve AND a cheesecloth) will ensure the cleanest and refreshing coffee ever.
Storing and freezing coffee concentrate
- To store: Coffee concentrate should be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks.
- To freeze: Pour the concentrate into a shallow container or sterilized jar and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, you can freeze them as ice block cubes for single serving coffee drinks.
Recipes to use cold brew concentrate in
Cold Brew Concentrate
- 3/4 cup ground coffee * See notes
- 6 cups cold water filtered
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- In a large pitcher, add the ground coffee along with 2 cups of the cold filtered water. Whisk together, until the coffee begins to dissolve. Add the remaining cold water, cover the pitcher, and set it aside. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
- After 12 hours, pour the coffee through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Next, pour the sieved coffee through a cheesecloth to ensure no excess coffee granules remain.
- Pour the sieved coffee concentrate back into the pitcher and refrigerate until ready to make cold brew coffee. If using vanilla extract, whisk it through the end.
- To make one cup of strong cold brew coffee, add 1/4 cup cold brew concentrate with 1/2 cup of iced filtered water.