Getting Started with Cold Brew: Essential Tools and Ingredients

Are you a coffee enthusiast who wants to explore new brewing methods? Cold brew coffee may be just what you’re looking for. Cold brewing is a popular technique that results in a smooth, flavorful, and less acidic coffee concentrate. Whether you’re new to cold brewing or looking to refine your technique, this article will guide you through the essential tools and ingredients you need to start cold brewing like a pro.

Quality Coarse Ground Coffee

The foundation of a good cold brew starts with quality coffee beans. Opt for a coarse grind because it allows for better extraction and reduces the chance of over-extraction, which can result in a bitter taste. Look for specialty coffee brands that offer beans specifically labeled for cold brewing. These beans are often roasted to enhance flavor when brewed at lower temperatures.

Brewing Equipment

  • French press: A French press is a versatile and readily available cold brewing tool. It consists of a glass or stainless steel container with a plunger and a fine mesh filter. The French press allows for easy extraction and filtration of the coffee grounds.
  • Mason jar or pitcher: If you don’t have a French press, a mason jar or pitcher will work just as well. You will need a separate filtering method, such as a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, to separate the grounds from the liquid.


Cold brew coffee is primarily made by steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended period of time. For best results, use filtered water. The ratio of water to coffee typically ranges from 1:4 to 1:8, depending on your desired strength. Experiment with different ratios to find your preferred taste.

Patience and Time

Unlike hot brewing, which extracts flavor quickly, cold brewing takes time. Grounds must steep in water for at least 12 to 24 hours for optimal extraction. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time for the brewing process. You can even make a batch overnight for a ready-to-drink cold brew in the morning.

Optional Additions

While cold brew is delicious on its own, you can personalize it with a variety of additions:

  • Ice cubes: Serve your Cold Brew over ice for a refreshing and chilled beverage.
  • Water or milk: Dilute the cold brew concentrate with water or your choice of milk to achieve your desired flavor and strength.
  • Sweeteners and flavors: Add a touch of sweetness with simple syrup, honey, or your favorite sweetener. Experiment with flavorings such as vanilla extract or spices to enhance the flavor.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

When making cold brew coffee, it’s important to avoid some common mistakes for the best results. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  1. Using the wrong grind size: Cold brew requires a coarse grind to prevent over-extraction. Using a fine grind can result in a bitter and over-extracted brew. Be sure to use a grinder or purchase pre-ground coffee specifically labeled for cold brew.
  2. Insufficient infusion time: Cold brew requires a longer steep time than hot brew methods. Steeping for less than the recommended time can result in a weak and under-extracted brew. Aim for a brew time of at least 12 to 24 hours for optimal flavor extraction.
  3. Not using enough coffee: Cold brew is a concentrate, so using the proper ratio of coffee to water is critical. Using too little coffee can result in a weak and watery brew. Start with a ratio of about 1:4 (coffee to water) and adjust to your preference.
  4. Inconsistent stirring or agitation: To ensure proper extraction, it’s important to stir or agitate the coffee grounds and water mixture. This helps to evenly distribute the coffee and maximize flavor extraction. Failure to stir or agitate can result in uneven extraction and a less flavorful brew.
  5. Using water that is too hot: Cold brew is brewed with cold or room temperature water, not hot water. Using hot water will result in a different extraction profile and may produce a more bitter and acidic brew. Stick to cold or room temperature water for the best cold brew results.
  6. Skip the filtration step: After steeping, it’s important to properly filter the cold brew to remove the coffee grounds. Failure to do so can result in a gritty and unpleasant texture in your final cup. Use a fine-mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or a French press plunger to filter out the grounds.
  7. Storing cold brew too long: While cold brew can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, it is best to consume it within 3-4 days of brewing. Longer storage can lead to flavor degradation and a stale taste. Brew in smaller batches to ensure freshness.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious and satisfying cold brew coffee at home. Experiment with different variables such as coffee beans, steep time, and water ratios to find your perfect cold brew recipe.

Exceptional Coffee Brands for the Perfect Cold Brew

Here are a few coffee brands known for offering beans specifically designed for cold brewing:

  • Bizzy Coffee: Specializing in cold brew coffee, Bizzy Coffee offers a line of coarse-ground coffees designed specifically for cold brewing. They offer convenient brew bags that make the cold brew process even easier.
  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Stumptown is a respected specialty coffee roaster that offers a cold brew blend called Stumptown Cold Brew. It is a smooth and chocolatey blend designed to bring out the best flavors in cold brew.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee: Known for their commitment to quality, Blue Bottle Coffee offers a variety of single origin coffees that are great for cold brewing. They have different flavor profiles to suit different tastes.
  • Counter Culture Coffee: Counter Culture Coffee offers a “Big Trouble” blend that is popular for cold brewing. It provides a balanced and flavorful cold brew with notes of chocolate and caramel.
  • Grady’s Cold Brew: Grady’s Cold Brew is a brand dedicated to cold brew coffee. They offer pre-ground coffee in a bag, making it convenient for cold brewing at home. Their beans are roasted and ground specifically for cold brewing.

Keep in mind that there are numerous other coffee brands that offer beans suitable for cold brewing. Exploring local specialty coffee roasters or online retailers can also give you a wide range of options to choose from based on your personal taste preferences.

The Bottom line

Cold brewing offers a unique and enjoyable coffee experience, and starting your cold brewing journey is easier than you might think. With quality coffee, the right equipment, patience, and a willingness to experiment, you’ll be able to make delicious cold brew coffee at home. So gather your ingredients, embrace the slow extraction process, and get ready to enjoy the smooth, rich flavors of cold brew. Cheers to your cold brew adventure!


What do I need to start cold-brewing?

Combine the grounds with water, then let it steep overnight, or for around 12 hours. During this time, the coffee slowly infuses into the water, creating a strong, concentrated brew. Strain the next morning, and you’re ready to go.

What equipment do you need to make cold brew?

Tools and materials

  1. Kitchen scale.
  2. Coarse coffee grounds, any roast.
  3. Cold filtered water.
  4. Container, anything from a mason jar to a sanitized gallon buckets.
  5. Long-handled spoon or other stirrer.
  6. Filter, such as a coffee filter, cheesecloth, a clean pillowcase, or fine mesh.

Do you need equipment for cold brew?

Thankfully, you don’t need any fancy equipment to make your own cold brew right at home. According to coffee experts, all you do need are some good beans, water, and a little patience.

Is cold brew good for beginners?

Immersion Coffee

Your cold brew coffee is ready. Not only is immersion simple, it also makes delicious coffee. Immersion cold brews are typically very balanced with low-acidity levels and no bitterness.

How do I set up cold brew?


  1. Freshly grind the coffee beans on the coarsest setting. …
  2. Place the grounds in a quart-sized mason jar or similar sized vessel. …
  3. Pour the water over the beans, working to saturate all of the grounds. …
  4. Cover the cold brew and let rest on the countertop or in the fridge for 14-24 hours, as desired.

Do you need a French press for cold brew?

More good news: according to America’s Test Kitchen’s taste test of cold-brew systems, using a French press makes the best-tasting cold brew. So not only can you keep using your French press — and have no need to buy a cold brew system — but it’ll be the best cold brew around (provided that you’re using good beans).

Can I make cold brew without a filter?

It’s easy to make without any special equipment

First, cold brew coffee is very easy to make and doesn’t require any special equipment. You don’t need a coffee maker. You don’t need coffee filters. While you will want something to strain the coffee grounds from your coffee, it doesn’t need to be anything special.

Can you use regular coffee filter for cold brew?

You can either pour the cold brew mixture through the filter after steeping, or steep the coffee in a filter bag for easy removal. Common DIY filters include: Regular coffee filters.

Can you use regular ground coffee for cold brew?

You can use your favorite coffee bean for cold brew. It’s the size of the grind that matters more. (You’ll need coarse ground coffee.