Updated: Jul 25
In the early 2010s, I learned about cold brew or “toddy” coffee and decided to try it. Most of the coffee shops served a pretty disappointing cup at the time. I suspect that they were brewing the coffee with stale beans or they let it sit around too long in the fridge, as cold brew was not yet mainstream. I did find an excellent cold brew at a coffee shop next to Heritage Square in downtown Flagstaff, so I asked the guy behind the counter how they made it. The barista said that they dump a pound of ground coffee into a gallon of water and leave it overnight. They filter the grounds in the morning, and there you go! He emphasized that the most important factor in making the cold brew is freshness. Using fresh roasted and fresh ground coffee is the key. So I did some testing and adapted his simple recipe to make smaller batches.
Advantages of cold brew:
Less work: One batch makes the equivalent of 6 ½ 12oz cups of black coffee. Depending on how much coffee you drink, you may only need to make one batch per week. Also, the cleanup is very easy.
Easier on the stomach: Cold brew doesn’t have the acidity of regular coffee that may give you an upset stomach.
Super smooth tasting: Most of the bitterness is left behind when you cold brew. It is so smooth that you will be tempted to drink more, but be careful because:
Concentrated - This cold brew recipe will give you coffee that contains about 50% more caffeine by volume than regular black coffee.
Fine Mesh bag: I’ve been using this one for 3 years, and it works great. Using the mesh bag is a game changer for ease of cleanup. https://www.amazon.com/product/dp/B07Y86VD6B/
1 ½ cups of coarsely ground fresh coffee. Make sure the coffee has rested for a day or two after roasting. I obviously recommend this coffee: www.doneycoffee.com/shop. Any roast will work, though I often like to go with a darker roast for cold brews.
½ gallon pitcher with lid. I use an unpretentious Rubbermaid.
52 oz pitcher (optional)
Wash your hands. The coffee will be steeping at room temperature for 8-12 hours, so it’s best to make sure your hands are germ-free. I prefer using an unscented soap from lifefromscratchmk.com.
Fill the ½ gallon pitcher with water. I use cold tap water. It is possible that filtered water will make better coffee, but I have never gone to the trouble of trying it.
Using a funnel, fill the mesh bag with the coffee grounds. Funnels with a non tapered skinny part work best.
Tie the fine mesh bag and put it into the ½ gallon pitcher of water.
Put the lid on the pitcher and let it steep at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
After it has steeped for 8-12 hours, wash your hands.
Dunk the mesh bag into the water a few times. Then lift the mesh bag above the pitcher and squeeze it, letting the tasty coffee drip back into the pitcher.
I pour the coffee from the ½ gallon pitcher into a clean 52 oz Simply Orange container, so it takes up less space in the fridge, but you can leave it in the pitcher too. Chill and enjoy!