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


This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds.

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. ATasteOfMadness posted on June 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm

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

  3. Shelshi91 posted on June 8, 2012 at 5:09 am

    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. Jeeem posted on June 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Yuck….this sounds awful.

    • Kare posted on June 9, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Hee! Well, at least you’re honest.

  5. Madeleine posted on June 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    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.

    • Kare posted on June 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

      Thanks, Madeleine! So glad you visited my blog.

  6. Darrelyn posted on June 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

    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. :)

    • Kare posted on June 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

      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?!

      • Kim posted on July 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        Im off to put my coffee into a jar now and i’ll be letting you know what I think …………… It looks pretty yummy!!

  7. Darrelyn posted on June 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Forgot the rating. Off to make another glass!

    • patricia morr posted on July 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

      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. Beth Ferreira posted on June 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

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

    • Kare posted on June 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

      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!

    • Sandi posted on October 25, 2013 at 11:07 am

      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. p--- posted on June 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    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?

    • Kare posted on June 10, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Personally, I would worship a co-worker with an espresso machine and a co-worker with cold-brewed coffee concentrate equally (which is quite a bit)! :)

  10. Chris posted on June 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

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

    • Kare posted on June 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

      My pleasure!

  11. Dale S. Rogers posted on June 10, 2012 at 11:42 am

    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. Kelly posted on June 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    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.

    • Abhigyan Mukherjee posted on June 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      You are absolutely right..

      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

  13. Candlelight Obsession posted on June 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Wow! This looks amazing. You have our attention!

  14. Rob posted on June 12, 2012 at 8:26 am

    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. Kim posted on June 12, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    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.

    • Kare posted on June 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks, Kim! I’m all about making it happen the easy (and stuff-that’s-on-hand) way. ;) And thanks for answering Rob’s question!

  16. Chris posted on June 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    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. Abhigyan Mukherjee posted on June 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    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

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  19. Sherry posted on June 24, 2012 at 8:45 am

    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. FCR posted on July 10, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I’d add just a little bit of chocolate ;-)

  21. Car Accident Attorney San Bernardino posted on July 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

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

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  23. Mom on the Verge posted on July 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    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?


    • Kare posted on August 5, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Hi Mom on the Verge, I just measured out a 1/2 cup of beans and it actually came out to about 1/2 a cup with a medium grind. Hope that helps.

  24. Geoff posted on July 23, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    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. Ja6er posted on July 27, 2012 at 9:06 am

    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!

    • Kare posted on August 5, 2012 at 7:30 am

      Ha … yeah, too much caffeine can go from energizing to a little crazy-making pretty quickly!

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  29. Discover Simple Living posted on February 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    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. Chibi posted on March 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    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. Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom posted on April 10, 2013 at 10:07 am

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

    • Kare posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

      Hope you loved it! I had some a little too late in the day yesterday and it kept me awake for awhile last night. Potent stuff! :)

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  34. Val in MN posted on May 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    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!

    • Kare posted on May 13, 2013 at 5:06 am

      90s, wow! I guess its official, summer is just about here. Yay! Enjoy the lovely weather and your coffee!

  35. Jeremy posted on May 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

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

    • Karen Troughton posted on May 26, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      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. :)

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  37. green coffee posted on June 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    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? :-P 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
    feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  38. Charlene posted on June 18, 2013 at 7:57 am

    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. Angelique posted on June 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    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. John posted on June 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm

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

  41. kelly mckinzie posted on June 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm

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

  42. Misty posted on July 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm

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

    • Karen Troughton posted on July 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      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. Karen posted on July 28, 2013 at 7:21 am

    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. Kimberly posted on September 22, 2013 at 8:59 am


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  47. fanaledrinks posted on August 1, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Great looking iced coffee.

  48. Mike posted on April 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    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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