Cold-brewed iced coffeeCold-brewed iced coffee

This has been a life-changing summer for me with regards to iced coffee. I have made coffee for myself almost every day since I was in the ninth grade. I’ve done machines, espresso makers, French presses, stovetop espresso, and almost anything else you can think of, but I always come back to the paper filter in a plastic cone on top of a carafe. It’s the easiest way and it gives me complete control over the strength and amount.

Two years ago, I started to enjoy having cold coffee in the morning in summertime. Pouring my hot coffee into a pitcher and refrigerating it overnight seemed like the smartest way, and I had a good time making fun of Kim Severson for making it too complex (exactly one year ago).

Earlier this summer, an article ($) came out about cold-brewed iced coffee, which I’d tried before and didn’t enjoy. But I attempted this method with excellent results, and I’ve since gotten myself into an easy pattern of cold brewing. Cold-brewed coffee is so smooth that you don’t need milk in it. It has none of that bitterness that I didn’t even notice before in hot-brewed iced coffee.

I don’t bother with measurements; if it’s too hard or makes too many dishes, I’ll burn out and go back to my old ways. I think people don’t make coffee for themselves—choosing instead to waste money at Starbucks—because they don’t get into a good, mindless habit. That’s the only way for me to make it work.

At first, I would brew the coffee at night and finish it in the morning. But I don’t want to bother with straining in the morning if I don’t have to. So instead, I brew it in the morning and strain it at night, leaving it in the fridge overnight to chill. This eliminates the need for ice cubes, which melt so fast in this apartment that you feel like you’re in a race to get your fix.

To begin, grind about a 1/2 cup of beans until they are medium-coarse (I fill my small Braun grinder and grind for a little less than ten seconds). Put the grounds in a quart jar, fill it the rest of the way with water, cover it, and let it sit out all day. At night, pour it through a strainer into a bowl.


While it’s straining, rinse out the jar. Next, pour the strained liquid back into the jar through a paper filter.


While that’s pouring, rinse out your strainer and the bowl. Cover the coffee and put it in the fridge, and you’re done. Whatever is leftover in the morning, I use as part of the liquid for the next batch, so it gets a bit stronger every day until we finish the jar and start over. I don’t know how sanitary that is, but it’s fun to brew coffee with coffee.


Yum — thanks for posting this. I’ve never heard of cold-brewed iced coffee, but I drink iced coffee all year long so I definitely have to try it. And if you want an amazing coffee treat, try Tarrallucci e Vino if you’ve never been. They make an AMAZING iced cappuccino with cold foam!

Ooh I find this coffee backwash idea very exciting! IFC and I just make it every morning at work in a gnarly old french press, avoiding the drip-brewed mothwings in the office machine. I should definitely try this method, though access to stronger, cheaper, and more readily available coffee is possibly not the best idea for me (sounds like the makings of the crack epidemic in the 80s!) Do you use some sort of New Orleans chicory coffee, as I believe that most-emailed article instructed, or do you just use regular coffee? If not, what do you use? And how do you feel about Porto Rico Importing Co.?

Also, the new design looks lovely.

I’ve been making this too, I wrote about it in July. I’m a total convert. Anyone interested in cold coffee should make it like this.

Thanks, Abby! I’ve been meaning to go to Tarrallucci since it opened, but every time I decide to go I can’t remember where it is.

Hi, Ulrike! No, I don’t use any kind of chicory BS. In fact, I get almost all of my coffee from Porto Rico, which is my favorite store. I go about once a month and buy two pounds of whatever’s on sale.

Thanks, Mary! I saw your post and your method sounds delicious. And thanks for your email—I passed it on to the master of my web.

I assumed you did. It’s so reasonably priced and cute inside and convenient to my house, that I have no idea how I just got around to actually buying beans there this weekend. We’ve been pleased with the Viennese Sumatra which, at $7.99/lb. was one of the more expensive blends… I got overwhelmed with choices and just sort of chose one a little randomly and later wished that I’d bought something fairly traded and/or organic. I’m sure I’ll be back soon, though. Let me know if you try anything particularly good.

There’s always the method used in the cafe across
the street from the Pensione Palazzo Rivetze in Sienna:

Make a double espresso, pour it into a shaker full
of ice. Shake, shake, shake and strain into something
like a tiny cordial glass and serve.

I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for saving me 4 bucks a day!

After reading the same article, I tried this out. It is actually superior in every way to chilled brewed coffee. A friend, who also tried it, pointed out that it also (gasp) makes excellent hot coffee-heated in the microwave. I have tried this, and counter-intuitive though it is, it is true!
All that being said- I never make it, because it doesn’t really work for me-routine wise, as iced coffee. I like morning coffee hot, and in the afternoon, or evening, when I’d like some iced coffee, I drink decafe. I’m sure you could make a good decafe iced coffee with it- but that’s an extra bit of planning, at a different time of day.

I’ve been buying this concentrated cold brewed coffee for years…it is great stuff. I order it online.

I tried this last night and had it this morning. It was wonderful. I’ll have to keep making these while it is hot outside. Thanks for sharing.

I’ve been doing this all summer since I read
about it in the NYT. I experimented and came
up with my own ratios and I make enough to last
an entire week.
Taking 2C of grounds that I buy bulk at Fairway Brooklyn, put in 2 quart pitcher with filtered water and let it sit for 24 hours, stirring every now and then when i think about it. Then strain through sieve then again through coffee filter in the sieve. this takes longer because the fine grounds clog the filter a little. Sometimes I have to help it along. Refrigerate, then use 2/3 large glass coffee, add more water to thin then add milk! It’s delicious. I love it! and i only have to make a little mess once a week.

I’ve used this method for a year or more and love the coffee, very smooth and supposedly good for those with acid reflux problems. I tried doing it with above apparatus but found it very messy and time consuming. I bought the kit to make it which has fiber filters and a big plastic tub with a rubber stopper in the bottom – much easier for me. This coffee making does require scheduling and thinking ahead which is why we keep that little plastic filter and papers on hand. We usually heat it in the morning, rarely drink it cold.

Here is another cold brew guide:

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