Cold Brew Concentrate


5 from 94 votes
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If you love cold brew, then learn how to make your own cold brew concentrate! Mixed with water to make the iconic beverage using just 2 ingredients. 

cold brew concentrate

For the longest time ever, coffee came either as a hot coffee or cold coffee. 

These days, cold brew coffee has taken over the world and has become one of the most popular ways to enjoy coffee. If you love a good nitro brew, you’ll love its origin. 

What is cold brew concentrate?

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 like a shot of espresso that we add water and/or milk to. It also refers to brewing, which involves the ground coffee seeing the flavor and caffeine into the water. 

Why you’ll love this cold brew coffee concentrate recipe

  • 2 Ingredients. All you need is ground coffee and water, and that is it. 
  • Affordable. A standard cold brew starts at around $5 for a small cup. Making your own homemade version costs less than 20 cents! 
  • Easy to make. 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 a 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!

Ingredients needed

This recipe has such a simple ingredient list that you surely already have in your pantry. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 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.

How to make cold brew concentrate

While this recipe may look a little time-consuming to make, it makes plenty of coffee concentrate so it will last for months! 

Step 1- Combine ingredients

Start by adding the ground coffee into a large pitcher. Add 2 cups of the cold water to it stir together until the coffee dissolves. Pour in the remaining water and cover the pitcher. Let the pitcher sit at room temperature overnight, for at least 12 hours. 

Step 2- Strain coffee

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 remain.

Step 3- Refrigerate concentrate

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 an 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. 
cold brew coffee

Flavor variations

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– Use the concentrate in the base and make this caramel cream cold brew.
  • 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 recipe

  • 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 instructions

  • 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. 
cold brew coffee concentrate

Recipes to use this in

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drink cold brew concentrate straight?

Unless you enjoy extremely bitter coffee, it’s not recommended to drink the concentrate straight. Besides its bitterness, it also contains excessive amounts of caffeine.

Is cold brew concentrate better than cold brew?

The concentrate is part of a cold brew, so is required for it to be made.

Is concentrate strong?

Yes, cold brew concentrate is very strong. Per 30 ml, there are around 100 mg of caffeine.

cold brew concentrate.

Cold Brew Concentrate Recipe | 2 Ingredients

5 from 94 votes
Learn how to make a cold brew concentrate and have an instant and homemade cold brew! Made with just 2 ingredients, it's cost effective and tastes delicious- Better than Starbucks!
Servings: 24 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes


  • 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.


* Coursely ground coffee, NOT finely ground.
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. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 1kcalCarbohydrates: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 1mgCalcium: 1mgNET CARBS: 1g
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Can you put the grounds into a filter bag and submerge that in the water or does it need to specifically be loose in the pitcher?

  2. 5 stars
    I make my own cold brew often. I use paper towels as filter. 12 oz coffee and 7 cups water. Sit at room temp24 hrs. Drain through sieve. Dilute as to strength you like. Yummy. By the way I love your recipes. And have made several. Keep up good work

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe & have made this 5 times in 2 months following the recipe as I read it.
    However, I do have questions & they are:
    Wait for coarsely ground coffee to dissolve???
    Are the cups of water regular 8oz or the coffee cup version of 6 ounces?

  4. How much coffee do you add when you say “add the coffee to pitcher”?
    I don’t see measurements.
    Thank you!