For coffee lovers, cold brew is the all-star drink of summer. It’s not only the most refreshing way to enjoy coffee in warm weather, it’s less acidic than conventional hot coffee. Plus, the slow extraction of the cold brewing process results in a rich, smooth flavor.
But — as you’re prolly aware — swinging through the drive-thru for cold brew all summer long can really add up.
The surprisingly easy solution: Make your own brew at home! Going DIY saves major green, especially if you eschew fancy cold brew pitchers and machines. All you really need is a mason jar, a mesh sieve, and coffee filters. (We even have a trick for making sure it doesn’t get watered down.)
With coffee costs a-risin’, there’s no time like the present to channel your inner crafter to create a tasty caffeinated beverage. Here’s how to make your very own mason jar cold brew for sweet summer sipping.
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely ground dark roast coffee (freshly ground, if possible)
- Cold or room temperature water (make sure it tastes good on its own)
- 32-ounce mason jar
- Fine mesh strainer
- Coffee filter (or a few layers of cheesecloth)
- Large bowl
1. Place the freshly ground coffee in the mason jar.
2. Add enough cold water to fill the jar halfway. Stir.
3. Fill the jar the rest of the way with cold water. Stir again.
4. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. (You can experiment with different times depending on how strong you like your brew.)
5. When the brewing time is up, place the mesh strainer over a large bowl and line the strainer with a coffee filter. This is to keep the finer grounds from getting into the bowl.
6. Slowly pour the cold brew through the lined strainer. Discard the grounds or use them in your garden.)
7. Rinse out the jar and pour the coffee back in. Put the cap back on and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
This mason jar how-to is really just a jumping-off point — you can adjust its ratio to use slightly less coffee. (Try 1 cup instead of 1 1/2.)
If you like, you can also try adding flavored sweetener (brown sugar and cinnamon, perhaps?) to your grounds during the steeping process.
Or, if you have a nut milk bag, put your coffee grounds in it before adding to the jar, topping it up with water, and steeping (so you can skip the straining step later).
This same cold brew process also works in a 32-ounce French press, in case you have one handy.
Finally, if you’re not sold on the taste of cold brew in general, there’s always traditional iced coffee! We’ve got DIY instructions for that too.
Brewing in a mason jar will net you a potent cold brew concentrate, which you probably don’t want to sip straight (unless you’re one of those coffee connoisseurs).
Dilute it to more pleasant, palatable taste with additional water, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla oat milk, or whatever else you like. (But dilute each glass rather than the entire batch at once, as that makes the flavor degrade faster.)
You can also add simple syrup or the sweetener of your choice to each serving. We vote for liquid sweeteners, since they dissolve faster.
Pro tip: Make coffee ice cubes while you’re at it
Using coffee cubes instead of regular ice is a simple-but-brilliant move that not only keeps your cold brew chilled, but prevents it from getting watered down as the ice melts. Use silicone ice cube molds for easy release.
You don’t have to be a barista to brew up coffeehouse-level cold brew at home. All you need is a mason jar and a little time. Tinker with the recipe above to find your sweet spot of grounds-to-water radio, steeping time, and flavor add-ins.