How to Make Cold Brew Coffee – The BEST Guide

When I started making cold brew for myself, I found most instructions online vague. They usually lack specific information like the appropriate steeping time and the best bean type for this brew.

So, I’ve dedicated hours to master crafting the perfect cold brew. And over the past five years, I’ve used this method to make my favorite cup of liquid gold. Now, I’d like to share this technique with you.

Things you need
How to make cold brew coffee – step-by-step
Some facts about cold brew

Things you need


  1. Coffee grinder
  2. jar
  3. Filter: nut milk bag or cheesecloth
  4. Additional filter paper (optional)

Note: You can also use a French press or a cold brew maker if you happen to have those. You’ll still find a guide on how to use them here.  


The following ingredients make a 16 oz serving of ready-to-drink cold brew. If you wish to adjust the quantity, following a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water will yield the same desired results.

  1. 16 oz. room temperature water; use filtered water for a cleaner-than-usual taste. 
  2. 1 oz of medium to dark roast coffee beans for enhanced flavor. 

To make a cold brew concentrate, use a 1:4 coffee-to-water ratio instead. For serving, add one part cold brew to two parts water or coffee.

Note 1: Feel free to experiment using sweet and fruity coffee beans such as African coffee or even espresso beans, particularly if you’re planning to enjoy cold brew purely.

Note 2: You can also avail coarsely ground coffee beans if you don’t have a grinder, but there are better choices. The flavor just wouldn’t be the same as freshly grounded beans. 

How to make cold brew coffee – step-by-step

Here’s the golden key to making a winning cup of cold-brew coffee:

1. Grind the beans using the coarsest setting on your grinder.

Using coarsely ground coffee prevents over-extraction, which gives the coffee a bitter flavor. This is because they have a bigger particle size than fine ground coffee, exposing less surface area to water. It’s also the perfect grind because it prevents your cold brew from being gritty. 

2. Transfer the beans to a filter and put them in a jar before adding water.

I like using a double filter method as it helps avoid the potential mess from using just regular filter paper and ensures that you produce a sediment-free coffee. This method involves wrapping the beans in a sheet of filter paper, then with a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, before placing them in a jar. 

If you’re using a French press, directly place the ground beans into it and cover it with the cap. 

If you use Toddy’s cold brew maker, plug in the silicone stopper at the bottom of the brewing container. Then, soak the felt filter with water before placing it in the brewing container alongside the paper filter bag. Fill the bag with freshly-grounded beans. 

3. Add in water and gently stir. 

Be sure to mix thoroughly so that the coffee grounds are all wet.

4. Steep it for 12 to 24 hours. 

Put this mixture in the fridge or leave it at room temperature. Generally,  brewing for 12 hours at room temperature is enough, but when you put it in the refrigerator, you’ll need 3 to 5 more hours for the same results. Personally, steeping for 18 hours hits my sweet spot.

Feel free to tweak the steeping time based on your preference, but avoid extremes. Over-steeping could result in a bitter and gritty concentrate, while inadequate steeping time might lead to a weak and slightly bland taste.

 4. Strain the coffee

Simply pull out the filter and let the liquid drip until its last drop. 

For French press, push the plunger down to press the coffee grounds at the bottom of the pot. Then, pour the coffee into a container to store or serve. 

With Toddy’s cold brew maker, lift the brewing container on top of the glass decanter. Then, remove the silicone stopper and let the container rest on the decanter while filtering the extract. This whole process should take about 15 minutes. 

5. Serving

For the best results, add some ice on a chilled glass and the cold brew.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can add ice cream, martini, or syrup. A cold brew with a dash of vanilla, a cinnamon stick, or cream on top is heavenly!


Store cold brew in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Some facts about making cold brew coffee

Some people steep their cold brew for as long as 96 hours!

Experimenting with medium roasted beans, particularly those from Central or South America, you’ll notice a distinct Amaretto flavor. On the other hand, if you opt for dark roasted Sumatran or Ugandan beans, the resulting taste will resemble that of a stout.

Doing a second round of straining can give your cold brew a brighter and purer taste. 

If you use a finely ground coffee or a poor quality filter,  your cold brew might have some sediments even if you used the double filter method. If you want a cleaner batch of coffee, straining a second or even a third round isn’t out of the ordinary. 

If you have any questions or found this guide helpful, let us know in the comments!


What is the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?

The difference between iced coffee and cold brew is the water temperature used to brew them. 
Iced coffee is brewed in hot water and served with ice, while cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee in room-temperature water. Without heat, cold brew yields a smoother and sweeter beverage. 

Is there an alternative to cheesecloth that you can use as a cold brew filter? 

Yes, there are some alternatives to cheesecloth that you can use to filter cold brew. A Nut milk bag is a good choice. Paper filters are also an option, though they can be messier. Sometimes, others would make do with a paper towel. 

Fresh or old beans, which is better for cold brew?

Both fresh and old beans are good for cold brew. Since old coffee beans have lost their vibrancy, they allow a longer extraction time, producing a smoother, sweeter, and richer-flavored cold brew.

Is there more caffeine in cold brew coffee than regular coffee?

There is more caffeine in cold brew coffee because water extracts more caffeine and other compounds, and the steeping time is also longer. Generally, a single serving of cold brew coffee (16 oz.) has 200-400 mg of caffeine, which is about 12.5- 25 mg per ounce, while a regular 8 oz. drip coffee contains 94.8 mg caffeine on average or around 8-15 mg of caffeine per unit oz.

Photo of author


Mesphird Yang

I have been brewing and drinking coffee for almost 6 years now. At first, I was just dazzled by how baristas look and that's why I started learning. In the long run, I became obsessed with its charm. I have tried many coffee brewing methods, with different kinds of beans in various roast levels. If I could have more than 4 cups of coffee a day, I definitely would!

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