Food & Drink

Three ways to save money and make cold brew coffee at home

so refreshing. Via Food52
Cold brew, so refreshing. Via Food52

Cold-brew coffee is delicious. It’s smooth and strong, less acidic and bitter than hot coffee, and somehow never tastes watered down. Once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to stomach hot coffee over ice. And with temperatures already soaring into the 80s now that it’s June, a steaming hot cup of joe doesn’t really appeal. Trouble is, standard price for cold brew is $3-$4 at the coffee shop, which would be ridiculous to pay every day. Making it at home can seem intimidating, but really all it requires is a little planning and know-how. 

The basic idea is you steep coarsely ground coffee with water, let it chill for 12 hours and then filter it. Here’s a few ways to do it:

1. Toddy Maker
This contraption costs the most up front–about $40 on the site, or you can buy it at one of these fine storefronts–but it comes with all the hardware you need to make cold brewing super easy and efficient. You fit the reusable filter and rubber stopper into the plastic container, and then fill it with 12 ounces of coarsely ground coffee and 7 cups of water. Stir to combine, and let the mix steep refrigerated for around 12 hours. The next morning, all you have to do is take out the stopper and let the coffee drain into a glass decanter. The Toddy folks call this mixture “concentrate” and suggest diluting it with milk or water, but at home we drink it straight. You might have to experiment a bit to see what level strength works for you. It lasts Dave and me at least a week and we drink one to two cups a day each.

2. French Press

If you have a French Press already and only want to make one to two servings of cold brew at a time, then this might be the best option for you. Coarsely grind 1/3 cup of coffee beans and add to your french press with 1 1/2 cups of water. Let it sit for 12 hours in the fridge, and then in the morning, press it.

3. Pitcher and cheese cloth

This method is the most low maintenance if you just want to use what you have lying around. You need a couple vessels: one to let the coffee steep in, and another to filter the mix into. Any kind of vessel like a pitcher or a mason jar, depending on the quantity you’re going for, will work. Fill your pitcher or jar with the grinds and water—7 cups of water to 12 ounces of grinds if you have a big enough container, or grind 1/3 cup beans and mix with 1 1/2 cups of water—and let sit for 12 hours. Then line a mesh sieve with a cheesecloth, and pour the mix of grounds and water over it into the container you’re going to keep the coffee in.

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