Updated: May 9, 2022 by Owen Richardson
If you enjoy cold brew and the way it opens you up to new nuances and dimensions in coffee beans that you’ve tried before, here’s an easy way to make it yourself with utensils you already have in your kitchen. Promise, it hardly takes any effort to learn how to make cold brew coffee in a mason jar.
It’s easy to do and cost-effective too. You don’t need all of the accessories and coffee contraptions to make a delicious cold brew coffee. Not only will you save money by brewing at home but you’ll also save time and effort too.
So ditch the added expense but keep the habit going by making your own cold brew coffee. Just follow along with my guide for a better way to enjoy your brews!
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Cold brew coffee started as a trendy new drink but has stood the test of time with continued popularity through the years. The history of cold brew dates back centuries, in fact.
One of the most notable inventions in cold brew coffee is the Toddy system (which we picked as our top cold brew coffee maker). However, making cold brew can be as simple as adding coffee and water to a mason jar.
While there are a variety of ways to cold brew coffee, the most important factor is using cold water instead of hot. This is different from iced coffee, which is brewed with hot water before it is chilled.
Cold brew coffee is often brewed as a concentrate that must be diluted before drinking. This gives you more options when it comes to enjoying your brew.
You can use cold brew coffee concentrate to make lattes and cocktails in addition to a classic glass of cold brew.
Steps on How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a Mason Jar
Follow along with my super simple step-by-step guide on making cold brew in a mason jar and you’ll be drinking cafe-quality cold brew in no time.
1. Choose the Best Coffee for Cold Brew
The first rule of choosing coffee for any brew method is that it should taste good to you. However, I do have some recommendations for cold brew.
I look for sweet notes and a rich body in my cold brew coffee. Medium and dark roast coffees tend to offer these delicious notes and are well-suited for cold brewing methods.
Coffee grind size is also important for each and every brew method. Cold brew coffee requires a coarse grind for the best results.
Check out our recommendations for the best coffees for making cold brew.
2. Gather the Right Tools and Ingredients
Making cold brew coffee at home requires very little kitchen equipment and just two ingredients, but having the right tools for the job is always important.
- 6 oz coarsely ground coffee
- 24 oz cold water
- 32 oz wide mouth mason jar
- Metal cold brew filter
- Spoon or another stirring tool
Portion out 6 ounces of coarsely ground coffee by weighing out the coffee or using a pre-measured scoop. Do the same for your 24 ounces of cold water (I recommend filtered spring water for the best flavor).
Before brewing, rinse out the jar and metal filter. After both are clean and dry, insert the filter into the jar.
3. Add the Coffee
Carefully add the ground coffee into the metal filter. Make sure you don’t spill any coffee grounds into the rest of the mason jar. This is important so that you don’t encounter any rogue coffee grounds when enjoying your glass of cold brew!
4. Add Half of the Water and Stir
Pour roughly half of the water on top of the coffee and, using a spoon or other tool, stir the coffee grounds until they are fully wetted.
5. Add the Rest of the Water
Add the rest of the water and stir again. Stirring will incorporate the water into all of the coffee grounds, making sure that you’re getting the most flavor out of your coffee.
6. Refrigerate and Steep
Secure the lid onto the mason jar and place the jar in the refrigerator. Let the cold brew steep for a minimum of 10 hours (or up to 24 hours) in the fridge.
The longer you steep the cold brew, the stronger it will be in flavor and potency. However, if you leave the grounds in for longer than 24 hours, you can encounter more bitter flavors.
A brewing time between 10 and 24 hours will result in a sweet, velvety-bodied brew with bold flavors.
7. Dilute and Enjoy!
After steeping, remove the filter and set it aside for cleaning (remember, you can reuse your coffee grounds).
This cold brew will be very strong and tastes best when lightly diluted with water, milk, or your favorite creamer.
Always store your cold brew in the fridge and enjoy it for up to 7 to 10 days after brewing.
A Quick Note on the Filtering Process
Using a metal cold brew filter is not mandatory but will make the process simple and the cleanup easy. Alternatively, you can use a large paper tea bag to place the ground coffee in. Just be sure to secure the tea bag properly before leaving it to steep.
A third alternative includes straining the coffee grounds after the brewing process. To do so, simply put the grounds directly into the jar and follow the steps as usual. Then, when your brew is done, use a mesh strainer to separate the grounds from the cold brew.
Cold Brew Coffee FAQs
What is the right grind size for cold brew coffee?
Cold brew coffee requires a coarse grind size. Many coffee roasters offer to grind your coffee for you – simply ask for a cold brew grind!
What is the ratio of coffee to water for cold brew?
The ratio for cold brew is roughly 1:4, making this a very strong beverage that needs dilution before drinking it. I recommend using 6 ounces of coffee grounds for 24 ounces of water.
Is cold brew stronger than regular coffee?
Yes! Cold brew is often much stronger than regular coffee and iced coffee too. Be mindful of your caffeine sensitivity if you are enjoying more than one glass of cold brew in a short amount of time.
Remember – you can always dilute your cold brew with milk, water, or a creamer.
After making your cold brew, it can last up to 7 to 10 days when properly stored. Always store your cold brew in a sealed container (like right in the mason jar you brewed it in!) and in the fridge.
Do you have to refrigerate cold brew?
Yes, cold brew must be refrigerated during the brewing process and after brewing also. Just like any other food item, cold brew can get moldy if left outside of the fridge.
How long does cold brew take to steep?
Cold brew times vary depending on the recipe. We recommend letting your cold brew steep for a minimum of 10 hours but no more than 24 hours for the best flavor without being too bitter.
Does cold brew coffee have more caffeine?
Generally speaking, cold brew has much more caffeine than regular coffee (hot or iced) because of the ratio of coffee to water.
If you dilute your cold brew after steeping, with ample water, milk, or creamer, you can decrease the amount of caffeine per drink.
Brewing Better Cold Brew at Home
Now you have all the tips and tools to prepare better cold brew coffee at home and in a mason jar no less. But before I go, I’ll leave you with a few final words of wisdom…
- If you find yourself growing tired of your brews, try new beans and different roasters. Check out our favorite coffee subscriptions to stay up to date.
- Do you brew for yourself or the whole house? My simple recipe scales up nicely and can be comfortably completed with up to 12 ounces of coffee and 48 ounces of water.
- Remember to switch up your serving styles. If you normally drink iced lattes, try diluting your cold brew with a little less milk or creamer for a slightly more potent beverage.