I love coffee.  My favorite work environment is a locally-owned coffee shop.  I’ve even been known to take a web project or two for which I accepted coffee as payment.

My favorite drink?  Cold brew coffee.  Because it isn’t brewed with hot water, cold brew coffee is lower in acidity than your typical cup of joe, even iced coffee which is brewed hot and then chilled.  Cold brew also has a higher caffeine content and more complex flavor, as it steeps for up to 24 hours and extracts more goodness out of each bean.

Up until about a year ago, I was satisfied with my Mr. Coffee and my office Keurig, but it never quite measured up to the craft coffee that I could get from my local coffee shop. The problem is I was spending $4 a cup a few times a week and it was adding up.

So I started experimenting with some at-home coffee techniques.  I bought a Mr. Coffee espresso maker and learned to make my own lattes and cappuccinos. And of course, I had to give cold brew a try.  After a year of experimentation, I’ve found the perfect cold brew recipe.

If you’d like to enjoy cold brew coffee in the convenience of your own home at 1/10 the cost of coffee shop cold brew, read on.

How to make your own cold brew coffee in 5 minutes or less

Making cold brew coffee at home doesn’t need to be hard.  In fact, I think it’s even easier than brewing a pot of boring hot coffee in your drip coffee maker.  Here’s how to make cold brew coffee with less than 5 minutes of prep time.

  1. Grind 4 oz. coffee. Add to pitcher.  (4 oz. is 1/4 pound, or 1 and 1/3 cups of ground coffee.)
  2. Add 4 cups water. Stir.
  3. Leave it on your counter and don’t touch for 18 to 24 hours.  I get mine started in the morning so it’s ready for me the next day.
  4. Strain with a mesh strainer.
  5. Dilute concentrate 1 to 1 with cold water.
  6. Serve over ice. Best with real coffee syrups, or try a homemade simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part sugar. Boil and cool.)
  7. Makes 1 quart. Store in fridge in mason jar for up to 2 weeks.

Now, you might have some questions.

Do I need fancy coffee beans? Contrary to what some hard-core coffee snobs might tell you, no. I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but I can tell good coffee from bad coffee. With this cold brew method, however, I use the cheapest whole beans I can find and it tastes great. Coffee snobs will probably disagree with me.

I need my fix! What if I just can’t wait? Try a pour over cold brew method.  I’ve used this instant cold brew method from Counter Culture coffee. It uses a pour over brewer. I bought this pour over brewer for $17.  As a bonus, I use it to filter my countertop cold brew, too.

What’s that sludge in the bottom? Don’t worry about it. Your filter probably won’t catch all of the fine sediments from the coffee. In my experience, it doesn’t affect the flavor of the coffee in the slightest. But when it comes to coffee, I’m a knuckle-dragging neanderthal, so what do I know?

How to enjoy your cold brew coffee

  1. Fill a glass or tumbler half full of ice.
  2. Add your favorite flavor, if desired. For my 16-ounce tumbler, I use three to four pumps of Stirling classic vanilla syrup that I buy from my local coffee shop at cost.
  3. Top with half-and-half.
  4. Enjoy!

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