Jun 06, 2019

Homemade Cold Brew

By Ruth Elnekave, CNP
dark image of cold brew in mason jar with ice

Dear Ruthy, I’m a junkie for cold brew coffee when the warm weather hits but don’t have room in my tiny apartment kitchen for a different appliance for every task. Can I make good cold brew at home without any fancy brewers or other gadgets?

You absolutely can! We love our cold brew too and don’t use anything fancy at Joya. All you’ll need is:

  • Two containers — the size will depend on the amount of coffee you want to brew (we like glass mason jars for smaller amounts and large food-safe containers for producing in bulk)
  • Spoon
  • Cheesecloth or a nut milk bag 
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Large coffee filter (optional) 
  • Your favourite coffee, ground at a medium setting (slightly finer than what you would use for a French press and slightly coarser than what you would use for a pour-over)

milk poured into tall glass of cold coffee with ice on a table with a jug in the background

(Photo from YourCoffee)

Once you’ve got your tools and coffee ready, just follow these simple steps:

1\ Place the ground coffee in your container and then gradually add the water. The proportion of water to coffee depends on whether you’re making a concentrate (which you’ll then have to dilute with more water and/or milk before drinking) or a ready-to-drink brew. We generally like to use about 4 mL of water for every 1 gram of coffee for a concentrate, and 8 mL of water for every 1 gram of coffee for ready-to-drink brew.

2\ Stir gently to make sure that all the grounds are moistened. Cover the container with a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and let it brew at room temperature for 12-17 hours. You can play around with the brewing time to see what you like, keeping in mind that different beans will produce different results.

3\ To filter out the ground coffee, pour the mixture through a nut milk bag and into a clean jar or pitcher. Alternatively, line a fine-mesh sieve with a cheesecloth and set it over a large pitcher or container. Pour the mixture through the sieve into the clean pitcher/container.

4\ If you used a cheesecloth and want to remove every last bit of coffee bean residue, line the same sieve with a large coffee filter and place it over another jar or pitcher. Strain the coffee one more time. This second straining could take about 30 minutes — do not stir to prevent cloudiness.

Note: This extra step might not be necessary if you use a nut milk bag for the first straining.

cold brew coffee in scientific beaker on wooden stool

(Photo from Yohei Fuduka)

5\ Cover your jar/pitcher and refrigerate. Cold brew will last about 2 weeks in the fridge.

6\ If you made a concentrate, dilute with about equal parts water and/or nut milk to taste. (We love a mix of macadamia and coconut milk!)


Ruthy signature
Ruth Elnekave, Founder and CEO of JOYÀ
by Ruth Elnekave, CNP

Ruth Elnekave is a Toronto-based chef, holistic nutritionist, culinary instructor, recovering corporate lawyer and founder of JOYÀ. Her projects are fuelled by one main goal: to spread the pure joy and wellbeing experienced when sharing and savouring delicious, real food.