Cold Brew Coffee [recipe]

I’m not a caffeine junkie, but my day isn’t right if I don’t get that one nice cup of coffee. Just one good cup, that’s all I ask for. Since my husband doesn’t drink coffee, the easiest and quickest way for me to make good coffee is to use a drip cone. (I can’t live without my Zojirushi water boiler, it gives me the perfect 195F water anytime of the day to make that cup of coffee or tea so it saves me time from standing in front of the stove to wait for the water kettle to whistle.) French press is great too, but the drip cone takes no time to clean up. If I have more time, I will use my espresso machine to pull a nice double shot to make latte to go.

Lately, all I want is iced coffee. In the past, I would make a batch of hot coffee, refrigerate it until iced cold. Or if I was short on time, ice cubes came to the rescue. The end result was a mediocre cup of coffee, yeah it tastes like coffee, but it’s average coffee, never great. The struggle to make a good cup of iced coffee ceased when I was introduced to cold brew coffee. It was during our whirlwind foodie pig-out tour of Portland last August when we visited Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I had a nice chat with the barista while he helped me to decide which espresso to order and educated me about the process of making the Stumptown Cold Brew. I was intrigued! I researched for the process and the right amount of coffee grind and water. After experimented with several different ratios, I finally found one that works for me.

This post from America’s Test Kitchen is very thorough and well documented. Medium roast and finely ground beans are key. The author uses 1:1 volume ratio coffee to water (or 4:1 by weight), but I thought the result was too strong and yields very little concentrate, not very economically friendly especially if I’m using really nice beans. After trying a few different combination, my favorite result was a 1:2 ratio (I used 1.5 cups of beans to 3 cups of room temperature water.) The coffee concentrate will be very strong, make sure you dilute it with water and/or milk! I never add sugar to my coffee (unless it’s the burnt kind from 7-11…) but the whole addition of the pinch of salt was a pleasant surprise. I used a pinch of fleur de sel, it’s totally optional if the idea throws you off. A coarse salt like fleur de sel requires more stirring otherwise you’ll end up with very salty coffee when you get to the bottom of the cup.

Cold Brew Coffee

recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen


  • 1.5 cup of finely ground medium roast coffee
  • 3 cups of room temperature water


    1. Stir together coffee and the room-temperature water in large French press. (use a large glass pitcher if you don’t own a French press.) Allow raft of ground coffee to form, about 10 minutes, and stir again to incorporate. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours (an hour shorter or longer is fine).
    2. Using French press plunger, press firmly on grinds to separate them from concentrate. (Go slow or the pressure might break the glass.) Pour coffee concentrate into coffee filter-lined fine-mesh strainer set over large measuring cup. Let sit until concentrate filters through, up to 30 minutes. (You should have about 2 to 2.5 cups of coffee concentrate; concentrate can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days).


Ways to enjoy:

  1. If you are an espresso drinker: 1/2 cup coffee concentrate, over ice.
  2. ½ cup coffee concentrate, ½ cup cold water, and pinch of salt (if using) pour over ice.
  3. 1/2 cup coffee concentrate, 1/2 cup cold milk, and pinch of salt (if using), pour over ice. (or shake it up in a shaker with ice, inspired by the Italian cafe shakerato!)
  4. pour 2 oz of coffee concentrate over 1 or 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream
  5. use it for in milkshakes!
  6. incorporate it into a base to make coffee ice cream.


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