Is it just me or is cold brew coffee one of the sweet joys of life?
I’m a huge coffee addict and tend to stick to the basics. I like my hot coffee black, sometimes with a splash of non-dairy milk and occasionally with some cinnamon if I’m feeling spicy. Sprinkle in a few espresso drinks throughout the year and we’re golden.
Most of the time I’m actually drinking cold coffee and have been obsessed with cold brew for many years now. For the non-believers out there, there is a BIG difference between traditional iced coffee and cold brew coffee. In the old days, iced coffee was brewed hot and poured over ice. Maybe put in the refrigerator first to cool it off. Cold brew coffee is actually brewed in cold water over a longer period of time. The result is a much smoother, less acidic and really different cold coffee experience.
A few years ago when I moved into my current neighborhood I was spoiled with a half dozen amazing coffee shops within walking distance. This quickly turned into an expensive habit at $4 – $5 for cold brew at each place. Being the Vegetarian Dude that I am, I began researching how I could make this delicacy at home. Below is the breakdown of how I make mine as well as a cost analysis.
Homemade Cold Brew Supplies
There are many ways to slice the gear needed for cold brew. The basics are a container to allow the water and grounds to sit together and a way to strain the cold brew from the grounds. I’ve also included some other, lazier (no judgement!) options.
- 64oz Mason Jar
- Coffee filter bag
- Bean Envy Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Grady’s Cold Brew Iced Coffee Cold Brew Kit – This comes with cold brew packets
- Cold Brew Coffee Maker Starter Kit – Good choice if you are really starting from scratch with your homemade coffee setup. Includes the jar, a stainless filter basket, coffee grinder and beans.
- Twin Engine Cold Brew Pouches – Pre-measured, pre-ground coffee beans you just toss two packets into a container, add water and soak for 24 hours.
- La Colombe Nizza Coffee Beans
- Kicking Horse Three Sisters Coffee Beans
- Intelligentsia Breakfast Blend Coffee Beans
Have a product I missed that you love? Let me know in the comments!
The Cold Brew Process
Here’s the basic breakdown:
- Find a large container to hold your brew. I use a 64oz Mason Jar.
- Select your coffee beans. All roasts will work, but a medium roast tends to be the smoothest and have the best flavor. I also like a dark roast it’s just a bit more intense. Start with a medium.
- Measure out 120 grams (about 1 cup, but measuring is best) and coarse grind the beans.
- Place the filter bag into the mason jar. I’ve found it’s easier to put it in there first and then add the coffee rather than trying to stuff it in after the coffee is added.
- Pour the grind into the filter bag. (ex here)
- Pour cold filtered water into the open filter bag so it’s going through the coffee grounds. Once the water is reaching the top of the jar, close the bag (either just twisting it or using draw strings), tuck it into the jar and fill the rest of the jar up with water.
- Seal the jar and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. The 24 hours is key to getting the maximum amount of flavor while not being overpowering.
- After 24 hours take the jar out of the fridge and remove the filter bag from the jar. I always squeeze the filter bag to get as much coffee out of the process as possible. Discard the grounds and rinse the bag. Top off the jar with more filtered water.
- Enjoy your cold brew! I usually do a 12oz serving and add a bunch of ice and a splash of non-dairy milk. Vanilla oat milk is my favorite. This recipe will make 5 solid servings of cold brew.
Homemade Cold Brew Coffee Costs
*Warning math nerd ahead*
As mentioned earlier, buying cold brew at the coffee shop can be expensive. I still do it, but more as a treat than a daily practice.
Making it at home can save you a ton of money, even if you start with high-quality beans. Here’s a breakdown of costs in a few different scenarios.
Quality in, quality out. True in many aspects of life, cold brew coffee included. For this we’ll use an average cost of $15 for a 12 oz or 340 gram bag of coffee beans. There are price ranges here for sure and you can definitely go higher. Some example brands include Intelligentsia and La Colombe Coffee. I love them both and I’d also recommend supporting a local coffee roaster in your town by buying their beans.
Now the math:
$15 for 340 grams of coffee.
120 grams of coffee per cold brew batch = ~$5.30 a batch
5 servings of cold brew per batch – ~$1.06 per serving.
Add in some oat milk averaging $4 for 32oz. Using ~4oz per coffee serving comes out to another $0.50.
That gets us to a total of $1.56 per delicious homemade serving. That’s 60% – 70% cheaper than purchasing from a coffee shop!
Plus we started with high quality beans. You could get lower cost coffee and still have delicious results. Kicking Horse (available on Amazon) is a good option that was my go to for a while.
Those beans would bring your cold brew cost down to $3.36 per batch or just $1.17 per serving with milk.
Now get out there and enjoy some cold brew! Any alterations or questions, let me know in the comments or on social!