iced milk coffee

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

May 28, 2017

I started drinking coffee when I was in high school, quite a long time ago. Then, it was due to the need to stay awake as I was facilitating retreats with activities that ran until the wee hours of the morning. In college, it was because I needed to study or to finish our projects. At work, to stay alert and focused when working late at night.  Now, it’s just an addiction.  When we moved to Biel, I became a stay-at-home Mom, and more often than not, I get enough sleep.  But I still need a cup of coffee in the morning just to get started with my day.

These days, the temperatures have been warming up, so I decided it was time to make cold brew coffee. I’ve been making cold brew coffee for a few years now, using different ratios of ground coffee to water until I stumbled upon this ratio at Food52 – 2/3 cups (around 50 grams) of coffee to 3 cups (720 millilitres) of water. At first I made my concentrate the exact way as Erin, with cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, but I didn’t care for the cinnamon and I found it too sweet for my taste.  So in my version, I omitted the cinnamon and decreased the brown sugar to 2 tablespoons.

So you want to know how to make cold brew coffee concentrate?

It couldn’t be any easier.  The hardest part is the wait, as you need a day before you can enjoy a glass. But, it will be worth it, so go on, try it!

First, grab your ingredients.

cold brew coffee ingredients

Next, coarsely grind your coffee beans. It’s not a wise idea to use pre-ground coffee as they are usually too fine. You don’t want cloudy coffee.  If you don’t have a grinder, ask your barista to grind the beans for a French coffee press.

coarsely ground coffee

Get a container with a 4-cup/1 liter capacity. Or a large French press, if you have one.  Pour in 3 cups/720 millilitres water. I use tap water, as ours is potable. Add in the ground coffee and brown sugar.  Mix well.

cold brew coffee mix

Cover and refrigerate for 12 – 18 hours.  I must admit, sometimes I forget and go longer than 18 hours. The result is still fine, so don’t stress about the timing too much. I usually mix late afternoon or early evening and finish the next morning.

So, to get your final concentrate, if you’re using a French press, just press down the plunger and you’re done. If not, first strain the coffee grounds out with a strainer.

strain coffee grounds

Then, set a coffee filter in a funnel. Pour in the strained coffee mix and filter out the remaining coffee grounds and you’re left with your coffee concentrate. It usually takes me a couple of pours to finish.

filtering cold brew coffee

Once you have your coffee concentrate, freeze a part of it. You don’t want more water to dilute your coffee. Coffee ice cubes help keep all that coffee goodness in your glass.

cold brew

Then, transfer your remaining coffee to a covered bottle or jar. This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. But it never lasts that long! I make a new brew every couple of days to make sure that I don’t run out.

cold brew concentrate

Once you have your coffee ice cubes, prepare your drink as you like. I make mine with around 50% cold brew and 50% milk.

Pour cold brew into your glass. Add the iced coffee cubes. I use 3 – 4 cubes.

Add milk, water and other flavorings you want. I am happy with just adding milk.

iced milk coffee

Enjoy and be proud of yourself that you are not spending your hard-earned money on expensive cold brew coffee at your neighborhood coffee shop.

A sidenote, this meme was circulating on Instagram, and I so can relate.

coffee meme




Yields 4 - 5 servings

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Make your own cold brew. Easy and cheaper than buying from your neighborhood coffeeshop.

5 minPrep Time

12 hrCook Time

12 hr, 5 Total Time

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  • 2/3 cup (50 grams) of your favorite coffee beans
  • 3 cups (720 millilitres) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) brown sugar (My brown sugar had quite big granules. If yours is quite fine, use 25 grams if measuring metrically)


  1. Coarsely grind the coffee beans. On my coffee grinder I grind for French Press.
  2. Get a container with a 1-liter/4 cup capacity. If you have a French Press that is large enough, that will work really well.
  3. Pour in water. Add in the ground coffee and brown sugar. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 12-18 hours.
  4. If you are using a French Press, plunge the coffee and you're good to go.
  5. If not, first, strain out the ground coffee to get rid of the majority of the coffee. Then run the cold brew through a filter set in a funnel.
  6. I strongly suggest you freeze part of your cold brew into coffee ice cubes so that your coffee will not get diluted by additional water.
  7. Finish your coffee by adding milk, more water and whatever flavorings you wish.
  8. Enjoy!


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