Ahhh … cold-brew concentrate. The perfect iced coffee. Deep, rich, cool, and creamy. Even a little … chocolaty? There’s just nothing like it. Here’s how to make cold brew coffee.

A pitcher of cold brew coffee being poured into a cup over ice.

And, guess what? It’s so easy (and inexpensive!) to make cold brew concentrate at home.

I’ve been making my cold brew iced coffee at home for years now, and through lots of trial and error, I think I’ve pretty much got it down.

After trying it several different ways, I settled upon this cold brew concentrate method. It’s basically a magical way to brew coffee into pure deep-roast goodness without any of that shiver-inducing, bitter acidity. Pure mild-tasting – but potent – goodness.

Cold Brew Concentrate Ratio

The cold brew ratio for concentrate is so simple. It’s simply 1 part ground coffee beans to 4 cups water. Done! The cold brew ratio for straight-up cold brew (not concentrate) is 1 part ground coffee beans to 8 cups water.

1 cup coffee beans plus four cups water equals 8 cups iced coffee. Text says "Cold Brewed Iced Coffee Concentrate; infographic compliments of extreme iced coffee induced caffeine buzz."

Okay, here’s a little more info.

A glass of cold brew iced coffee with a green and white straw.

“Cold brew” really means room temperature, by the way. The first time I tried it, I put my jar of grounds and water into the fridge. (I do silly things, and then I share them here so that you don’t have to.)

Cold brewed iced coffee results in a delicious, potent elixir which, if you’re not careful, could give you a seriously surprising caffeine jolt. Start slowly! I’m serious – the extreme jitters are no fun, and trust me – I’ve been there. This concentrate is meant to be mixed with an equal amount of water and poured over a glass packed with ice.

Ready? Let’s do this!

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Step 1: Pick Great Coffee Beans

You want good beans for your cold brew! No weak blondes here. Go for a robust, medium to dark roast. My very favorite beans for iced coffee come from a local chain, Cafe Ladro (which you can actually find on Amazon! [affiliate link]) Their Ladro Blend is big and bold, but still uber-smooth and chocolaty. It makes the perfect cold-brewed iced coffee.

The ultimate guide to making cold-brewed iced coffee concentrate at home.

Step 2: Grind Your Beans Just Right

Take one cup of beans and grind them. Go for a medium-to-large grind – not too fine. Preferably, you can grind your beans at home for the freshest, most flavorful result – but if you need to have them ground at the store or coffee shop, you’ll still be in good shape.

Coffee beans in grinder

Step 3: Just Add Water and Stir

Place the grounds in a 40-ounce or larger jar or pitcher with airtight lid, and add 4 cups cool water. I like to use one of my big 2-quart mason jars (affiliate link). Preferably filtered, but if you don’t have it, no biggie. And then stir! The grounds and water need to be good and stirred together to get the everything flowing.

Coffee beans and water about to steep together for cold brew concentrate

Step 4: Let it Steep at Room Temperature

Put the lid on the jar or pitcher and sit it somewhere on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight. And let it sit overnight (at least 6 hours), or up to 12 hours.

Beans and water chilling on the counter for cold brew concentrate

Step 5: Strain Your Cold Brew Concentrate

I’ve strained my iced coffee a gazillion ways, and I suppose every single one qualifies as a hack. Here are a few ideas for how to strain cold brew coffee:

  • Pour it into a French press and gently push down the plunger. Pour out the iced coffee concentrate.
  • Place a coffee filter into a funnel and set the funnel over a bottle. Pour the concentrate into the funnel to strain out the grounds.
  • Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth or, in a pinch, paper towels. Set it in a bowl and pour the concentrate over the sieve.
  • Or, my current favorite method: use a nut milk bag (affiliate link). I’ve been using the same fine-mesh bag I use for making almond milk, and it’s the easiest method I’ve found, by a mile. Note: a reader mentioned that pantyhose works as a great stand-in for nut-milk bags. I can see how they would work perfectly, but … well, hey, it’s an option, right?!
Straining cold brew concentrate iced coffee
Straining beans out of cold brew concentrate.

Step 6: Drink!

The best part! Pour 1/2 cup iced coffee concentrate and 1/2 cup water over a glass of ice or coffee ice cubes. Add cream and a little sweetener, if desired. Stir, plop in a straw, and enjoy the good (caffeinated) life.

Glass of cold brew coffee in the sun.

I also really enjoy this concentrate straight-up, without water – it tastes incredible and has quite the jolt of caffeine, so I do have to take it easy.

Your cold-brew should keep in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cold Brew Concentrate Ideas & Enhancements

Once you’ve enjoyed a few iced coffees, you might be in the mood to shake it up. Here are a few ideas for your cold-brewed iced coffee concentrate including DIY coffee syrups to spice it up and more:

And here’s the actual recipe and handy-dandy print option if you’d like.

5 from 1 vote

How to Make Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee Concentrate

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 5 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 4
These step-by-step instructions show just how easy it is to make delicious iced coffee at home.


  • 1 cup coffee beans (coarsely ground)
  • 4 cups room temperature water


  • Add the grounds and the water to a 40-ounce or larger jar or pitcher with airtight lid. Stir. Put the lid on and put the jar/pitcher somewhere out of the way on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight.
  • Let it sit for at least 6 hours, up to 12.
  • Line a fine-mesh sieve with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour the water and grounds over the strainer and discard grounds.
  • Pour the iced coffee concentrate into an airtight jar or pitcher and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for up to one week.
  • To make iced coffee, fill a glass with ice and add 1/2 cup coffee concentrate and 1/2 cup water. Add cream/sweetener as desired and serve.


Serving ideas

Add sugar or coffee syrup if desired, and add your favorite creamer – half and half or, for dairy-free options, try my homemade almond milk coffee creamer, coconut coffee creamer, or cashew milk coffee creamer. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1cup, Sodium: 12mg, Calcium: 7mg
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