Cold brew coffee is the best way to have refreshing, smooth, never-bitter iced coffee drinks on-the-go, at home, and throughout that road trip.
Once you realize how easy it is to make your own cold brew coffee concentrate, you’ll wonder why you ever paid for store-bought.
The secret to the best iced coffee drinks (and iced tea, for that matter) is: COLD brewing. And you might be surprised how easy it is to make delicious cold brew coffee at home yourself.
If you’re looking to ditch the expensive coffee store concoctions, having your own homemade cold brew coffee concentrate in the fridge is your go-to base for all the delicious, smooth and creamy iced coffee drinks you crave.
Just cooling down left-over boiled coffee and drinking it later over ice with some creamer and/or sweetener, might be a less wasteful way to get rid off morning coffee, but it’s not the same as using cold brew coffee. No matter how cold it gets, coffee that’s been made with hot water, comes with a bitter taste. That’s because the cold brewing process brings out the natural aromas of coffee gently while it keeps acidity lower than the hot coffee brewing method. Therefore, cold brew coffee is less acidic and doesn’t just taste smoother, it’s also easier on your stomach.
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate Recipe
Ingredients and Tools
- GROUND COFFEE and COLD WATER at a 2:1 ratio.
- This means: if your container fits 6 cups, then use 2 cups of ground coffee (and 4 cups of water). For a smaller container, use 1 1/2 cups of ground coffee and 3 cups of water, etc.
- FYI: 3 cups of water + 1.5 cups of ground coffee makes about 2 cups of cold brew coffee concentrate. And 2 cups of cold brew concentrate will yield about 4 – 6 iced coffee drinks.
- TWO (glass) CONTAINERS: one for the brewing and one for storage.
- For the brewing (aka steeping), we use the glass pitcher of a French Press. Initially, we also used the French Press method to make the cold brew coffee concentrate. But we realized the agitation of pressing the coffee through the French Press plunger made the cold brew a little too bitter. We still use the pitcher with its lid for the steeping step, we just don’t push the filter plunger down.
- For at-home storage, we use a mason jar since it seals, and it lets you see when it’s time to make more.
- For on-the-go storage, we use a Happier Place double wall insulated stainless steel bottle.
- FILTER: The easiest to use is a coffee filter and holder from your coffee maker – as long as the coffee filter holder can just rest on your coffee pitcher (or other container) without needing the coffee maker itself. Or you can combine a sieve and cheesecloth.
Cold Brew Coffee Recipe Instructions
- Put 1.5 cups of ground coffee in a glass container.
- Slowly add 3 cups of cold water (ideally in a motion that gets all coffee grounds wet).
- If necessary, stir gently just to ensure all the coffee grounds are wet.
- Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours.
- Pour coffee slush through a coffee filter (or cheesecloth) into final container. Happier Hack: Use a spoon to hold back most of the coffee grounds as concentrate flows below.
- Keep refrigerated.
Now what? How to Drink Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
First of: Don’t drink cold brew coffee concentrate straight. It’s way too intense.
When you’re ready to enjoy your iced coffee drink: mix the coffee concentrate with water or milk (especially good with non-dairy oat or almond “milk”) to taste – and maybe add a sweetener (e.g. chocolate or caramel syrup, agave nectar etc.).
The rule of thumb is to mix equal parts coffee concentrate with water or milk – with most people preferring to add even more water or milk. Scott’s preferred ratio is about 1:1 concentrate to almond milk, Luci’s preferred ratio is 1:2 with oat milk and chocolate, naturally.
Happier Place Tips
Fill up your stainless steel bottle with your favorite coffee drink – and take it with you. This way you can enjoy a pick-me-up drink while having outdoor fun, and you can avoid stopping at a store to keep your brain fueled for the long drive ahead.
Especially during these Covid days, we’ve appreciated bringing our own bottles of caffeinated drinks on outdoor adventures and road trips without having to go to a convenience store or coffee chain (read: Starbucks). The Happier Place go-to Iced Mocha Recipe fits the Happier Place bottle perfectly.
We’ve played around with this recipe and tried numerous other tips. In the end, we fine-tuned the above method to make the smoothest cold brew coffee concentrate. Letting it steep in the refrigerator, or using more coffee, or pushing it through a French Press, or allowing the coffee grounds to soak longer… all made for cold brew concentrate that was too bitter for our taste. Taking additional steps, like filtering it twice didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
Let’s Inspire Each Other
Have you tried this cold brew coffee concentrate recipe? What did you think? If you use a different method or recipe – what’s the difference? Do you have any tips? And most importantly: if you have an iced coffee drink recipes to make with cold brew coffee concentrate, please share them!
Please share your recipes, questions, or comments in the reply section below.
Save the recipe on Pinterest…