Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Update 4/2014: Be sure to check out my new, improved cold-brewed iced coffee tutorial with step-by-step instructions and lessons learned since first posting about cold-brewed iced coffee.  

I started making my iced coffee this way a couple of years ago, thanks to this New York Times recipe that convinced me to do so. You add coffee grounds to cold water and let it sit at room temperature for several hours. Then you strain it through a coffee filter, and the result is a deep, rich, dark, and caffeine-packed glass of iced coffee. It’s a concentrate, so you’ll want to dilute it with water unless you’re in need of a serious buzz. And trust me – this stuff can pack a serious wallop.

I use a ratio of about 2/3 of the concentrate to 1/3 water, stir in a spoonful of sugar and some half-and-half, and finally I plop in some coffee ice cubes. Then I smile because life just got a little sweeter.

And a lot more energized.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
Recipe Type: Beverage
Author: Kare
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 12 hours
Total time: 12 hours 5 mins
Serves: 8 servings
Add your favorite ground coffee beans to cold water, let it sit, strain and then enjoy several glasses of deep, rich, dark, and caffeine-packed iced coffee. It’s easy and way cheaper than your Starbucks habit. Not that I know anything about Starbucks addiction. Ahem.
  • 1 cup fresh-ground coffee beans (a robust bean and a medium grind works best)
  • 4 cups water
  • Ice or coffee ice cubes
  • Sugar or brown sugar (optional)
  • Milk or half-and-half (optional)
  1. Add the coffee grounds and the water to a large jar or pitcher. Stir. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or up to 12 hours.
  2. Strain through a coffee filter or a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. I use a funnel and coffee filter and strain the coffee right into the glass bottle I store it in.
  3. To serve, mix one part coffee mixture (it’s quite concentrated) with one part water in a tall glass, leaving room for ice. Stir in sugar and milk/half-and-half if desired, to taste. Add ice or coffee ice cubes. Serve.
  4. Cold-brewed iced coffee concentrate keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Adapted from the New York Times


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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

65 Responses to “Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee”

  1. Pingback: Iced Coffeetini | Kitchen Treaty

  2. This looks absolutely delicious! Perfect for summer! I love coffee, this is great

  3. I’m trying this out right as we speak. I just put the storage jars away for 12 hours <3 I hope it tastes as good as it looks!

  4. Yuck….this sounds awful.

  5. The coffee, the first one on the list, looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it, some of your recipes are really easy looking, I’ll try those, the slow cooker recipes are good for me right now, looking forward to reading all of your recipes. Thanks.

  6. Even though most of the cool, interesting stuff I find online turns out much less cool/tasty/beautiful when I try it at home (apparently I’m sorely DIY-challenged), I had to try this. I was so anxious to try it that I got back up out of bed when I realized I hadn’t set up my mad scientist cold-brewed coffee experiment. Translation: me rummaging through cabinets in a ratty robe at midnight looking for a jar with a lid. Which fortunately I found, because this stuff is great!! My recipe this morning was about 1/3 of the glass with the coffee concentrate, around 1/4 cup almond milk, some sweetener, ice water, and regular ice cubes. I will be picking up some creamer – definitely a chocolate flavor – to try a mocha iced coffee tomorrow! Maybe in the blender for a frappe? The ideas are percolating now! heh heh Thanks for sharing this and I will definitely check out more of your blog. Suddenly I have an urge to clean house before I go to work today; may have just discovered a drawback. :)

    • Hi Darrelyn! So glad this turned out well for you. Even though I’ve usually tried and refined recipes several times by the time I share them here, I harbor a secret fear that it might turn out terrible for a blog reader that tries it. So I value this feedback more than you know! :)

      It’s quite potent, isn’t it?!

  7. Forgot the rating. Off to make another glass!

    • You can make this by brewing your coffee regularly threw your coffee pot, add creamer and ice, there you go, Ice Coffee, I drink it all the time.

  8. I’d like to make the concentrate in a larger quantity. Do you know how long it might last in the refrigerator?

    • Hi Beth, I keep it in the fridge for about five days and it’s still fine, though that might be pushing it. A good guideline would be 3 – 4 days, I think.

      Hmm, you could also freeze the concentrate, pulling out just what you want one serving at a time, to make it last even longer. Seriously potent coffee ice cubes!

    • Beth Ferrerira, it will keep a very long time in the fridge – as in, a month or more. I use a 10-oz bag of Pilon or Cafe Bustelo espresso grind in one of those large square 13-cup Glad food storage containers. Fill it with water, stir gently but thoroughly with a whisk, put the lid on and leave it on the counter for 2 days. I do stir it with the whisk again at the end of the first day, usually. It will fill a 2-quart bottle (I use juice bottles when I have them) with about a serving left over for the current moment. It is very smooth and rich.

      As to making it in the coffee maker, the heat brings out the bitterness in the coffee. Cold-brewing does not.

      I’ve been told mine is much better than Starbucks (which is NOT hard to do, IMHO!).

  9. i’m considered some sort of a genius at work for bringing in an espresso machine. i wonder what they will think if i start to bring this in?

  10. Thanks! I was looking for a recipe that didn’t call for a pound of coffee and two gallons of water!

  11. A friend told me about this method, so I was trying to refresh my memory when I found your site. I’m going to try it, since I usually have to wait so long for my coffee to cool before I can ice it.
    Speaking of ice, it looks like coffee ice cubes in your drink! Good idea!

  12. I found your site using my Stumble button and this recipe was GREAT! I’m a latte drinker so I used a bold roast coffee bean and mixed equal parts coffee/milk with a few ice cubes. It was the perfect iced latte! This is going to save me so much money this summer.

  13. Wow! This looks amazing. You have our attention!

  14. I’ve lost custody of my burr coffee grinder in the divorce, I have
    to grind my coffee in the store. How many scoops of ground coffee
    in a cup of beans?

  15. Thanks for making this waaaaaaaaay simpler than any other description I’ve run across of how to do this…Down to straining it through a coffee filter in a funnel….I like your style!
    Also…Rob. There are 8 coffee scoops to a cup of ground coffee.

  16. There’s a product called Cold Water Toddy that i’ve been using since the late 1970’s. it’s about $20 and basically you get a carafe, a funnel, some re-useable (for a time) cotton filters, and a cork to put in the funnel. you steep your coffee as described above and resulting concentrate is low in acidity and will keep easily for 2 weeks or more. you can use it for ice coffee AND regular coffee. just pour whatever amount pleases you into your coffee cup and add hot water or add cold water and microwave it for a minute and a half. presto, better-than-instant coffee and perfect for a household where i’m the only one who drinks coffee and who doesn’t want to make up and waste a whole pot. And, YES, you can freeze it just fine for later use, so enjoy!

  17. Loved this Cold coffee,especially during these days when the Monsoon has not yet arrived..
    Abhigyan Mukherjee
    Indian Cuisine-Made easy for beginners.
    Cooking made easy to all beginners.My blog will not only have common and traditional recipes,but the recipes will be very detailed and meticulous

  18. Pingback: cookie time: almond biscotti « ducks & turtles

  19. I found this recipe a couple of months ago and I am never without some in the fridge. I pour it on ice cream, make frozen lattes, and, of course, iced mocha coffee. It keeps for a couple of weeks, at least. I made tapioca pudding last night and poured some in there. MMMM good.

  20. I’d add just a little bit of chocolate 😉

  21. Car Accident Attorney San Bernardino Reply

    Mmmm, I love my coffee. ♥
    Cheaper than my daily SBUX runs too! I’ll have to give it a go! 😀

  22. Pingback: Superfood Salad | [cupcakes and showtunes]

  23. So, again, it’s a cup of beans (which are to be ground before soaking in water) or how much coffee if you buy it already ground? I’ve read that 1T of beans makes 2T ground, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Can you help?


  24. Hey i just wanted to thank you guys for posting this recipe! i probably will never kick the coffee habit but at least i can kick the starbucks habit!

  25. Made the mistake of making 2 pints of this ‘concentrate’ last weekend, drinking it all on the monday evening. 2 pints of super strong iced coffee does things to your mind!

  26. Pingback: Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee | Kitchen Treaty

  27. Pingback: This Week’s Bits & Bites: Best of 2012, Being Better in 2013, Charley Frickin’ Harper Glasses! | Kitchen Treaty

  28. Pingback: Homemade Whole-Wheat Pancake Mix | Kitchen Treaty

  29. Amazing! I just found this yesterday and had to give it a try. We put the coffee and cold water in our French press last night and let it steep around 12 hours. This morning, we added the brew, (regular) ice cubes, sugar, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg to our blender and made THE ABSOLUTE BEST blended frozen coffee I’ve ever had. Because the brew is so concentrated, the ice didn’t make it taste watered down as usually happens when I try this on my own. Thanks so much for the great idea!

  30. This was awesome. I used Foldgers Country Blend for this and it came out so smooth. It is very strong, kept me going for 4-5 hours straight.

  31. This is genius – I’m in the kitchen now trying this out!

  32. Pingback: Food – Awesome Iced Coffees That Will Get You Ready For Summer | Everything Cool

  33. Pingback: Maple Vanilla Iced Coffee | Kitchen Treaty

  34. So glad I found this post! We are supposed to be in the 90s this week, so I started a batch of this coffee immediately. I also dumped all my ice cubes and made fresh, including one tray of coffee cubes. Thank-you!

  35. I have a question: Is the initial measurement of “1 cup fresh-ground coffee beans” before or after the beans have been ground?

    • Hi Jeremy, it is for ground, but I’ve measured both whole and ground and there’s not much difference between the two – they both come out to roughly a cup. :)

  36. Pingback: Creamy Vanilla Iced Coffee + Homemade Vanilla Syrup | Kitchen Treaty

  37. I rarely leave a response, however i did some searching
    and wound up here Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee | Kitchen Treaty.
    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it look like some of these comments come across like they are coming from brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional places, I’d like to follow everything fresh you have to post.
    Could you make a list of every one of your public pages like your twitter
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  38. Mention of low/no acidity and the emergence of background flavors makes me wonder if this would also be good heated up … gonna try it both ways. I love a good iced coffee. No rating due to the fact I haven’t tried it yet.

  39. I thought I was the only one who made coffee cubes for my iced coffee. I will have to try the cold brew method I’ve had it once by an actual company but theirs was actually cold brew and Mexican Coca-Cola. (Trust me…it was good!) One thing I’d suggest is to make a simple syrup to sweeten your iced coffee. It’s easy to make & stores great in the fridge. :)

  40. brewing in Ireland as i write this. cant wait to try it in the morning :)

  41. OMG THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH ! This stuff is my new FAVORITE drink !

  42. How long can you store the Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee concentrate before it goes bad??

    • Hi Misty, I’ve stored it in the fridge for up to 7 days. I have a hunch it might go a tad longer because it’s so acidic, but that’s the longest I’ve had it around so I can’t say for sure. :)

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  44. I used to make a double strength pot of coffee & then let it cool in the fridge overnight, then next day we would pour it over ice & add two ounces of Bailey’s Irish Cream to it, great drink for those hot summer (non-working)days!!!!

  45. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
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    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!

  46. The last time I wanted iced coffee since I’m away at college, I brewed a hot cup and threw it in the fridge for a day, but this seems so much better.  I just set this up in my dorm room, luckily I had a jar and I cut open some K-cups and tossed the coffee in.  Hopefully this ratio of 2 K-cups to this one jar that’s slightly more than 1 cup in volume will work.  If it turns out nice I should be doing this all throughout finals, thanks for posting this, I never would have thought of doing iced coffee like this on my own.

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