How to Cold Brew

Cold Brew Coffee at Manchester Coffee Co. in Lexington Kentucky

The digits on our thermostats are starting to rise and the trees are turning green again. Summer and its heat are right around the corner. This means one thing for most avid coffee consumers iced drinks. One cold and caffeinated beverage, in particular, that is trying to take over the world is cold brew and we want to give you the inside scoop on this simple and commonly misunderstood beverage.

What is Cold Brew? 

Coffee that is cold brewed has been extracted using water at or below room temperature. It’s commonly confused with iced coffee which is brewed hot and then chilled. Rumor has it cold brew origin’s lie in a Japanese/Dutch collaboration that made its first appearance in the mid-1600s. Inspired by concepts and using coffee imported by the Dutch, the Japanese steeped coffee using traditional cold tea preparation methods and created the first cold-brewed coffee around the city of Kyoto.

Fast-tracking back to present day, cold brew has gained a cult following because of its potency, versatility, and “gulpablilty”. Cold brew is often made as a concentrate, at Manchester Coffee Company, that’s how it is served. The caffeine content is sure to pack a punch. Cold brew can be an excellent expression of single-origin nuance or the perfect base for cream and sugar. It just depends on what you like. No matter your preference, when you have a good cold brew, it’s so easy to drink. The difference in chemical reactions when using hot versus cold water creates distinctive outcomes between hot and cold-brewed coffees. Cold brew is often less acidic and may seem smoother on the palette.

Making Basic Cold Brew at Home.

Cold brew is actually the easiest way to brew coffee and it can be done on your kitchen counter. It does require some patients, but the refreshing reward will be worth it. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 5 oz/142 g of coffee ground medium
  • 30 oz/850 g of water (filtered is preferable)
  • A quart container or quart jar
  • A colander or mesh strainer
  • A coffee filter (cheesecloth will also work)
  • A 1-quart mixing bowl or larger

Step one:

Place your coffee grounds in the quart container or jar. Pour filtered water over the top and cover. Let the mixture sit for 12-16 hours on the counter or in the refrigerator. Cooler temperatures will cause the extraction to take longer. The longer you let your cold brew sit, the stronger it will become. Letting it sit too long could result in it becoming bitter. We suggest 12-13 hours at room temperature.

Step Two:

Once your cold brew is ready, place the coffee filter in the colander and the colander into the mixing bowl. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the filter. Depending on the size of your filter, you may need to pour the coffee mixture in stages.

Step Three:

When all of the coffee mixture has been filtered, pour the cold brew into a clean container for storage. The cold brew will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

This recipe makes a concentrate which means you can add cream, milk, or a dairy alternative to your cold brew without losing its robust coffee flavor. If you prefer coffee black but the concentrate is too much, add a splash of water or let it dilute with extra ice for two or three minutes before enjoying it.


Cold brew takes trial, error, and experimentation. You can scale the recipe to make larger batches or infuse other spices (like cinnamon sticks) in your cold brew for a hint of flavor. Use cold brew as a mixer in cocktails or pour it over ice cream. We encourage you to let your imagination run wild as you cool off with your new cold brew knowledge and skills this summer. Happy (cold) brewing!