How To Make Cold Brew Coffee Without Any Special Equipment
*This is not a sponsored post, but I kind of wish it was…*


I first started getting into true cold brew coffee—not to be confused with iced coffee—last summer, after we bought a bottle of Califia Farms unsweetened black cold brew coffee from Target.  Since then, we’ve tried other brands, but as far as I’m concerned, Califia Farms makes the best bottled cold brew money can buy.  Unfortunately, though, it costs significantly more than making your own coffee at home (which you’ll be able to do by the time you’re done reading this post).


So, after we finished up the Califia Farms coffee, I started researching how to make cold brew at home; I’m of the mindset that coffee’s a necessity, and I refuse to pay luxury prices for it.


I have to admit, it was pretty discouraging when every article, blog post, and video I found mentioned overpriced brewing equipment that takes up precious counterspace and, even worse, tons of space in the fridge.


Feeling defeated, I thought I’d just have to abandon my homemade cold brew coffee pursuit and settle for pouring hot coffee over ice—at least until we can one day buy a house with a giant kitchen for me to store all my massive cold brewing equipment in.


And I had all but forgotten about cold brew coffee when we were watching Shark Tank one night and saw the pitch for a product called the Bruw.  Instantly, my passion for cold brew was reignited.


If you don’t know what I’m talking about, by the way, here’s a picture of the Bruw (yes, we bought one!):


Bruw coffee filter


Essentially, it’s a cheaply designed little coffee filter that allows you to brew a batch of cold brew in one mason jar, and then flip it over to strain into another jar.  Sounds good in theory, but in practice, you end up with a mess all over your countertops and, if you’re not using coarsely-ground beans, you will have grinds in your coffee.


So, why am I talking about this product if I don’t actually recommend using it?


Well, prior to seeing the pitch for the Bruw, I didn’t know it was even possible to make cold brew just by soaking coffee grinds in water—but as Occam’s razor teaches us, the simplest solution is usually the right one.  Now the real challenge was figuring how to flawlessly strain my homemade cold brew so I wouldn’t have to drink coffee full of grinds.


*Side note: I should clarify now that the process I’m about to describe actually creates cold brew coffee concentrate, which you may prefer to dilute with some water or milk before you drink it.  Because this process of making cold brew involves directly placing grinds in the water—rather than having them sit in a separate filter within the water—you’re able to extract a lot more of the caffeine and flavor out of your grinds than you would with a different brewing method.


So, here’s how I make my cold brew— feel free to tweak the “recipe” to customize it for your own taste!


Make Your Own Homemade Cold Brew Coffee (No Fancy Equipment Necessary!)


Step 1: Pour 4 scoops of coffee into a 24-oz mason jar.

I like to make 2 batches at once.


I use the same stuff for my cold brew that I do in our 12-cup drip coffee maker: already-ground Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.  If you’re a fan too, I can’t recommend buying it in bulk enough!


Step 2: Add 2.5 cups of (filtered) water to your mason jar and stir.


Before and after stirring.


The grinds will naturally float to the top of the water and stay there, so I like to quickly stir everything together, just to make sure all my grinds are wet.


Step 3: Replace the jar’s lid and leave in your fridge for 12-24 hours.


My understanding is that the longer it brews, the stronger your coffee concentrate will be, so I always let mine brew for at least 24 hours—sometimes it goes longer if I forget about it, but that can create a harsh, bitter flavor, so set a reminder in your phone if you don’t trust yourself to strain the coffee on time!


Step 4: Once the coffee’s had time to brew, strain it into a clean jar.


This is where I had to get a little bit creative.


Using finely-ground coffee can pose a challenge when it comes to producing grind-free cold brew at home—so below is a photo of the “system” I’ve come up with that works flawlessly every time.

Cold Brew Filtering System


Pictured (from top to bottom):


  • 1 mason jar
  • 1 funnel
  • 1 reusable, mesh coffee filter
  • 1 paper coffee filter



As you can see, we have an empty mason jar on the bottom, in which I’ve placed a funnel (to prevent spills) and the reusable, mesh coffee filter that came with our 12-cup drip machine.  If you don’t have one of these, you can probably get away with doubling up on paper filters, or you can pick one up for a few bucks just about anywhere.


Inside the mesh coffee filter, I still have to use a paper filter—I tried to forego this when I first started making my cold brew all those months ago, but sadly, the mesh coffee filter just lets too many grinds pass through it.


Step 5: Pour yourself a glass and enjoy!


Being lactose intolerant, I enjoy my cold brew with a bit of Fairlife whole milk—but it’s actually not so bad if you want to drink it black.  Below I’ve included photos of both options (with ice!):


Black Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

Black cold brew coffee with ice

Homemade Cold Brew Coffee With Milk

Iced cold brew coffee with milk


Have you tried making your own cold brew yet?  Leave me a comment below and let me know your favorite tips & tricks!


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