What is Cold Brew?

Iced coffee has a new look – cold brew!

Cold brew isn’t your traditional “hot coffee poured over ice” summer drink. There is actually an easy process to brew great iced coffee without any heat. The end result is coffee that is less acidic (easier on the stomach), smoother tasting, and refreshing when paired with a nice tall glass of ice.

Instead of running hot water over coffee grounds to extract the flavor and caffeine, cold brew coffee involves a soaking process which typically takes 12-18 hours. But the wait time is well worth it, and if you start the process in the evening, your cold brew coffee will be ready in the morning for your first cup of the day. There are a lot of cold brew kits for sale in stores and online but honestly, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make great cold brew. We tested a process that anyone can do with equipment that you already have in your kitchen.

Yield: 1 cup of concentrate = 1-2 drinks (you can multiply as needed to get the amount you need for your level of coffee addiction)

You will need:

  • Large Jar

  • Wooden spoon

  • Bowl

  • Coffee filter (like you would use for brewed hot coffee)

  • Colander or mesh strainer

  • 1/3 cup coarsely ground Swift River Cold Brew Blend Coffee

  • 1 ½ cups cold water

Keep in mind that the cold brew process will produce a different flavor than a traditional hot water brewing method, so feel free to experiment with your favorite coffee blends. The important part is to use a coarser grind than you do for hot coffee, whether you grind your beans at home or have them ground at your roaster.

Pretty basic list, right? So far, so good.

To make the coffee, simply add ground coffee and water to the large jar. Remember that you can double or triple the recipe by just adjusting your ratio: 2/3 cup of ground coffee with 3 cups of water and so on.

Stir the coffee and water mixture. This is where the wooden spoon handle or even a chopstick comes into play – some say it’s best not to let metal hit the coffee as it can give it a slightly “off” taste.

Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours – this is why evening might be better, so you can have it ready in the morning for your first glass. No need to stir again.

When your coffee is done soaking, place the coffee filter inside a mesh strainer or colander for support and strain the cold brew into a bowl. This feels like the longest part of the process since you will need to wait until all of the coffee drips through the filter. You can also scoop the liquid off the top with a ladle and leave the wet grounds in the jar to speed the process. Patience! It will be worth it.

Pour the strained coffee into another jar. You can also use the same one, just rinse it out while you’re waiting for the coffee to drip through the filter. Store your cold brew for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

That’s it! You now have cold brew concentrate that you can drink as is or over ice. The concentrate is strong, so you may want to add a little water, a splash of milk or cream, or a little sweetener of choice if you like.

We loved this method to make cold brew at home – we adjusted the ratios to make a whole quart, and it tasted great with a splash of water and ice.

It goes to show you with some simple kitchen items, you too can embark on your cold brew journey without having to spend a lot of money to get started.


Roy Clark