Cold brew coffee maker sitting on counter next to glass of iced coffee

HOW TO MAKE COLD BREW COFFEE

Enjoy the complex flavors of cold brew coffee any time when you make it at home. This slow-brewing method brings out a unique smooth, rich full-bodied flavor you won’t get with other types of coffee. Learn how cold brew compares to regular coffee and more, along with how to make your own cold brew creations.

WHAT IS COLD BREW COFFEE?  

The brewing method for cold brew coffee uses coarsely ground coffee steeped in cold water over a period of 12 to 24 hours to produce a concentrated coffee extraction. The concentrate is usually diluted with water, milk or poured over ice before serving. This no-heat approach produces a smooth, balanced flavor compared to some conventional brewing methods that use heat. 

The long, slow immersion process for cold brew allows different compounds to dissolve in cool water vs. hot water. Less acid is extracted in cold brewing and results in a slightly sweeter, more mellow taste. You may lose some of the bright and fruity notes found in conventional coffee, but you’ll gain a smooth, rich and full-bodied brew in exchange.

IS COLD BREW STRONGER THAN REGULAR COFFEE?

While the cold brew process produces a coffee concentrate that is stronger than regular coffee, it’s often mixed with water, milk or other ingredients before drinking. Once mixed, the strength is similar to a conventional cup of coffee. If you are looking for a stronger coffee, you can always skip adding water or milk and simply enjoy the concentrate with a bit of cream or ice. Cold brew coffee is a versatile drink that carries other flavors beautifully, so get creative and try your own custom coffee blends to create your ideal strength and flavors.

Cold brew coffee machine in refrigerator

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE COLD BREW COFFEE

A cold brew coffee maker specially designed for the task will of course make things more convenient and could impact the quality of your brew, but the general idea will be the same with whatever equipment you use. Here is what you need to get started making cold brew at home:

  • Coarsely ground coffee

  • Filtered water, cold or room temperature

  • A container to hold the grounds and water

  • A steeper or filter for the coffee grounds

If you do have a cold brew coffee maker, it should include everything you need to make cold brew coffee at home besides the coffee grounds and water. The KitchenAid® Cold Brew Coffee Maker  is easy to use, pour and clean. The included stainless steel steeper features fill-level indicators to help take the guesswork out of the brewing process. Once you’ve finished brewing, a built-in stainless steel tap lets you easily dispense your cold brew. The glass and stainless steel components help preserve taste and make cleaning up easy.

HOW TO MAKE COLD BREW COFFEE AT HOME

When making your own cold brew, start with fresh, coarsely ground coffee, add it to a steeper, then submerge in room temperature or cold water for 12 to 24 hours. The exact ratios of coffee to water for cold brew will vary on a number of factors, including the design of your cold brewer. A rough ratio is about one part coffee to just under five parts water.

Illustration showing how to assemble a cold brew coffee machine

ASSEMBLE YOUR COLD BREWER

For the KitchenAid® models, first turn the tap to the left to make sure it’s closed. Then place the outer lid on the brew jar; insert the steeper. Make sure the steeper handle is lying flat. For other models, follow your owner’s manual.

Hand pouring grounds into cold brewer filter

ADD COFFEE

Scoop coffee grounds into the steeper or filter. Use a coffee to water ratio of roughly 1:5, though make sure to follow instructions for your model. Remember to use coarsely ground coffee, the fresher the better.

Hand pouring water into cold brew coffee maker

ADD WATER

Pour roughly 2/3 of the total cold water over the grounds, using a circular motion. Pause to allow grounds to absorb water, then pour in the remaining water.

Hand using spoon to submerge cold brew coffee grounds in water

SUBMERGE THE GROUNDS & BREW

Using a spoon, press down the grounds, making sure they are covered by the water. Put on the lid or cover with plastic wrap if using a homemade setup. Brew in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

Cold brew coffee filter being removed from machine

DRAIN THE STEEPER OR FILTER

After brewing, remove lid or covering; the KitchenAid® models feature a handle to help lift the steeper. Rest the steeper or filter at an angle on the brew container. Allow to drain for three minutes, then change the angle and drain for another two minutes.

Hand emptying cold brew coffee grounds and washing the filter

REMOVE THE GROUNDS

Compost or discard the used grounds. Wash the steeper or filter according to the “Care and Cleaning” directions if reusable. The KitchenAid® models feature a reusable stainless steel steeper.

Cold brew coffee maker in refrigerator

STORE COLD BREW CONCENTRATE

Replace the steeper lid or covering on the brew container and store the concentrate in the refrigerator.

Hand dispensing cold brew coffee concentrate from maker

SERVE COLD BREW

Pour out as needed or if using a KitchenAid® model, turn the tap to the right to dispense. You can serve it right out of the refrigerator, or move to a countertop. You can even take it with you on picnics or events thanks to the convenient handle.

Two tall glasses of iced cold brew coffee on counter

COLD BREW COFFEE RECIPE TIPS

Learn how to make the best cold brew at home with answers to all your cold brew questions. Always start with fresh coarsely ground coffee and cool, filtered water. Follow the other tips below for excellent-tasting cold brew every time.

WHAT IS THE BEST COFFEE TO WATER RATIO FOR COLD BREW?

Follow the ratios and timings suggested in your owner’s manual at first, but feel free to experiment with different variables for your own personal taste. You may find that your water composition or your type of coffee call for slightly different coffee-to-water ratios or brew times for your ideal cold brew. If you are using the KitchenAid® Cold Brew Coffee Maker, start with a ratio of nine oz. of coffee to 42 oz. of water for the standard-sized model and brew times ranging from 12 to 24 hours.

WHAT ARE THE BEST COFFEE BEANS FOR COLD BREW?

If you will enjoy your cold brew plain or just over ice, medium roast coffee is a great option. If you want to add milk, cream or use it in a recipe, opt for dark roast to help the coffee flavors shine through. You can use your favorite coffee beans, but make sure to grind them properly for the cold brewing method.

Coarse coffee grounds for cold brew

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GRIND COFFEE BEANS FOR COLD BREW? 

Grind cold brew coffee beans just before brewing—a coarse grind is best for cold brew to ensure easy extraction. If using the KitchenAid® Burr Grinder, use settings one to three. Store-bought ground coffee is usually finer and meant for auto-drip machines. It can be used for cold brew, but make sure to stir the wetted grounds so the water can penetrate the more densely packed grind.

Learn more about different types of grinders with our guide.

HOW LONG CAN COLD BREW LAST?

You can store cold brew coffee in an airtight container for around one week. The flavor may degrade slightly over time, but if you notice a major change in taste it’s likely time to refresh your batch. Extend the life of your cold brew by keeping it concentrated until just before serving. Diluting it with water will shorten the life of it. Once you’ve mixed the cold brew concentrate with other ingredients, enjoy it right away.

COLD BREW COFFEE RECIPES TO TRY

Cold brewing coffee brings out unique, rich flavors that can be enjoyed simply poured over ice or mixed with cold milk. But, if you want to get even more creative, here are a few cold brew recipes to get you inspired:

Mason jar with cold brew coffee recipe and s'mores ingredients

C’MORES COFFEE WITH COLD BREW

Add cold brew coffee concentrate to chocolate milk, top with puffed marshmallow and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbles for a grown-up take on this campfire favorite.

Cold brew coffee recipe of cupcake with frosting on top

COLD BREW COFFEE CUPCAKES

Cold brew coffee concentrate can be added to baked goods or used in simmer sauces for meats, too. This mocha cupcake creation brings chocolate and coffee together beautifully, then tops it off with a swirl of buttercream frosting.

Looking down on a glass of ice matcha coffee

ICED MATCHA COFFEE

Enjoy cold brew coffee and green tea at the same time with this unexpected mix. Just add green tea matcha powder to coffee concentrate and finish off with cream for a silky, refreshing treat.

Glass of iced coffee recipe with cream

LAVENDER LACED ICED COFFEE

Creamy milk and homemade floral lavender syrup give this version of iced coffee a subtle sweetness you can enjoy any time of the day. Try other floral flavors like rose hips or elderflowers, too.

Mason jar filled with cold brew coffee recipe and cinnamon sticks

SNICKERDOODLE ICY

Brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla creamer make this cold brew coffee recipe a sweet indulgence you won’t want to miss. Add your own favorite flavorings and toppings to make this one your own.

Glass of hot cold brew latte with apples

HOT SOUTHERN APPLE PIE SPICE

Enjoy the unique taste of cold brew all year. Try this dessert in a glass to warm you up on a chilly fall day. The addition of just a few ingredients and a little heat will have you happily pulling on a sweater to sip your cold brew.

KitchenAid® Cold Brew Coffee Maker filled with fruits for water infusion

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU MAKE WITH A COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER?

A cold brew coffee maker typically works for other drinks prepared using cold immersion. You can make delicious and robust iced tea using a cold brew coffee maker. Just replace the coffee grounds with loose leaf tea and steep. Your tea package may have recommended brew times, but a general guideline is four to six hours for green and white teas, and eight to 12 hours for black and oolong teas. You’ll generally use four oz. of tea per 42 oz. of water. Try this creamy and spicy cold brew chai to get started.

You can also make water infusions using your cold brew coffee maker. Just fill with water and add your favorite fruits, refreshing vegetables and even herbs and edible flowers. Try a calming combination of cucumber, honeydew and mint, or an energizing mix of blackberries, oranges and fresh ginger.

Two KitchenAid® Cold Brew Coffee Makers on counter

DISCOVER THE KITCHENAID® COLD BREW COFFEE MAKER BEST FOR YOU

Treat yourself to a smooth and balanced cold brew at home. KitchenAid® Cold Brew Coffee Makers feature a streamlined design with everything you need to easily make cold brew coffee and other beverages in your own kitchen. A small footprint is an ideal fit for any refrigerator or kitchen counter for convenient storage and serving. Choose between two sizes to keep up to 28 oz. or 38 oz. of coffee concentrate on tap. Shop all KitchenAid® Cold Brew Coffee Makers and accessories.

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