How to Make Iced Coffee

Cold brew is the de facto method to use when you want iced coffee. It is a method of brewing that involves seeping grounds in cold or room temperature water. The grounds never interact with hot water - instead flavor is obtained by slowing leeching it from coarse ground coffee. The resulting brew has a much lower acid content, and thus tastes sweeter. It is also very concentrated - you can make a superb iced coffee by mixing equal parts concentrate to water or milk. Best of all, cold brew won't go stale like hot coffee, and can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Required Materials

Iced Coffee Ratio

These are guidelines. Coffee connoisseurs prefer 14.1 grams per 8 ounces. For more info, check out our coffee ratio page.
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 6 ounces coffee

Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

There are a variety of cold brew coffee makers out there - elaborate siphon systems, slow drip machines, and the most famous of all: a bucket with a hole in the bottom. These methods are all great in their own way, and worth trying for cold brew connoisseurs, but we will focus on the simplest method that uses tools most of us already have at home.

Start by grinding 6 ounces (170 grams) of coffee very coarse. Place the grounds in a container large enough for the coffee and water. A pitcher works well, but I prefer a large bowl so that the grounds will be more evenly distributed throughout the water. This may require a funnel when you pour out of the bowl. Add 3.5 cups (800 grams) of water to the grounds, then stir.

Let the mixture set for 12 hours on the counter or in the fridge.

12 hours later...

Now it's time to filter. If you have a large enough French press, you can press out most of the grounds, but you will still want to pour through a paper filter to remove the remaining sediment. Place a paper filter in a mesh strainer or colander and and slowly pour the coffee through it.

This is the patience testing part of the process - the coffee will move slowly through the filter, so pour it as full as you can and let it set. It helps to occasionally stir the coffee in the filter and to change to a new filter if it stops up. You could invest in an extra mesh strainer to double your cold brew bandwidth, just be prepared for weird looks from friends when your house ends up littered with them.

Using our original ratio of 6 ounces coffee to 3.5 cups water, our yield should be about 2 cups (475 milliliters) of concentrate.

The resulting coffee will be very concentrated, and there are a variety of ways to enjoy it. The most common recipe is to mix 1 part coffee with 1 part water or milk, over ice, with simple syrup if you prefer sweet iced coffee. Or 1 part coffee to 1 part hot water. Or 1 part coffee to 1 part Irish cream. Or just drink it straight.