How to Cold Brew at Home – Minimal Equipment Method

Cold-brew coffee is tasty, lower in acid and all in all (in my opinion anyway) easier to make at home with less washing up. So let’s dive into how to cold brew at home without having to buy the fancy coffee pots, cold brew bottles, or setups that look like they belong in a laboratory!

You Always Have a Choice – Hot Brew or Cold Brew

The hot brew is made using hot water, whereas cold brew uses cold water. Both have their benefits and will produce different results, so it’s worth experimenting to see which you prefer.

Do you want to make hot brewed coffee without a machine?

I usually stick to cold brew as I find it produces smoother results with less acid (and my stomach thanks me for it), oh and bonus – I can make several days’ worth in one go, less washing up too. The downside to cold brew is you need to remember to make it in advance – as the brewing process takes between 12 and 24 hours.

Both hot coffee and cold brew can be as low-tech as you like, they’re a bit fiddly but completely doable with just a jug, a filter, and something to hold the filter (I’d use a sieve or a heatproof funnel if you’ve got nothing else).

New to coffee? No problem – check out the Ultimate Guide for Coffee Newbies.

Coffee Filter Tips

Rule number one of making great tasting coffee using a coffee filter – paper filters taste gross (but only for the first bit of water through), so never put your coffee into a dry filter. Instead, put your filter into its holding device and filter some plain water through it – the water can be hot or cold just make sure that you throw it away before the coffee brew goes in – as I said, it tastes gross. If you don’t believe me, have a smell of it before you put it down the sink.

But if you don’t have a paper filter – don’t worry too much. You can use cheesecloth, a tea towel, or any other finely woven fabric – just make sure it’s clean and hasn’t been washed with strong detergents or fabric softeners – ick, floral flavoured coffee!

Making Cold Brew – the Minimal Tools Method

For cold brew, add the coffee grounds to the jug and pour cold water over it. I use 1 part coffee to 6 parts water – and I measure by eye. Once you’ve figured out what you like, then adjust it to your taste. Allow it to steep for 12-24 hours, although if it goes longer it’s not usually a problem (mine has gone to 48 hours before when I forgot it by accident).

Once it’s steeped, strain it through a fine filter into a clean jar (with a lid) and keep it in the fridge until needed – be careful, treat it like espresso! You can either use this cold brew straight away or store it in the fridge for a few days before using it. The longer you leave it in contact with the grounds (or the more grounds you put in), the stronger your coffee will become.

To Use Your Cold Brew

  1. Warm up your mug with hot water, then discard this water
  2. Add the equivilant of an espresso shot (or a double if you like it strong!)
  3. Top up with just boiled water. 

Or turn it into delicious Iced Coffee!

Prefer to Watch Me Make Cold Brew?

So, will you be trying to make your own cold brew? Let me know in the comments.

6 thoughts on “How to Cold Brew at Home – Minimal Equipment Method”

  1. I have never done brewing before and I have to say that you steps for cold brewing at home have been done very well and are easy to follow.
    I have always though you need a lot of equipment to make all this work, however it is not the case at all as you have shown here.
    Thank you for this post. I will pass it on to my friends who are very much into coffee to have a look.

    1. Hi Thabo,

      Yes! That’s exactly the reaction I was aiming for! Coffee at home isn’t complicated – and I actually find cold brew easier than hot brew – plus less of a risk of me burning myself or the coffee before I’ve had my first cup of the morning! And the major bonus – much less washing of the cafietiere or jug with all it’s fiddly little corners.

      Cheers, Lisa

  2. We enjoy cold or hot coffee, we are big coffee drinkers. And sorry to say that we use paper filter and have learned so much from your article.
    What you provided for us with the video as well was great. Tap water does taste good depends on where you live in the city is a no.


    1. Hi Matthew and Deloris,

      There is actually nothing wrong with using a paper filter – as long as you prewet it (it’s what I use most of the time). If your concerns about coffee filters are environmental – if you buy unbleached paper they’re actually great to go straight into the compost bin (still filled with coffee grounds), or you can even plant them straight under tomato plants when you put them into the garden in the spring – apparently they keep a weevil away (or so my Mom and neighbour used to say when I was a kid – we actually went to the local diner, this is in Canada, to get extra!).

      You’re completely right on the tab water – my municipal water tastes amazing, so I don’t bother with a filter for drinking or coffee (my actual rule is if I won’t drink it from the tap, I won’t make coffee or tea without filtering (or doing whatever I have to do to make it taste great for drinking).

      Cheers, Lisa

  3. Hi Lisa. Thanks for another great post. (I think, I’ll head to your website regularly since now 😀)
    Lately, I started to enjoy the cold coffee over hot. Mostly because I forgot to drink it the day before, but I like the taste more somehow. Knowing that it has less acid, it’s great. Thanks for this tip.
    I do have one question though. You said to use a coffee filter because the paper filter tastes gross. What do you exactly mean by coffee filter? I do use paper ones and I like the taste. I hope, I’m not discussing by doing it 😀

    1. Hi Julius,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

      Paper filters taste gross – if they’re dry. It’s the first bit of liquid through the filter that actually tastes disgusting. So just make sure, if you’re using a paper filter, that you put some of the same water that you’ve used to make your brew through the filter first (and throw this water away). Then filter your brew and you won’t have any nasty filter tastes to contaminate your lovely coffee!

      I hope this helps!
      Cheers, Lisa

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