Make-Ahead Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew is more than just iced coffee. Because it is never heated, cold brew coffee has a much more mild, less acidic flavor. I usually HAVE to have milk in coffee, but I find I can drink cold brew straight, no problem. I also find I can taste the subtle flavors of the coffee much better in cold brew.

When I moved to California three things happened: 1) I moved in right above a Starbucks, 2) Starbucks was pushing their order ahead app hard, and 3) I had to walk by Starbucks on my way to work. That is not the recipe for cold brew; it’s the recipe for spending a lot of money. While I do occasionally crave a fancy espresso drink, I was mostly ordering an iced coffee day in, day out, and if they had it I preferred their cold brew. It’s not that I can’t afford a daily coffee, but it just seemed wasteful to pay $2.50 for a drink that only requires overnight soaking, not a fancy espresso machine. So I decided to make my own, and I haven’t looked back! The super simple recipe is below.

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Cold Brew in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Cold Brew


  • French press coffee maker of desired size
  • Cold water
  • Coarsely ground coffee beans
  • Milk (optional)
  • Sweetener (optional)


  •  Use a 1:4 ratio of coffee grounds to cold water, depending on the size of your French press.
  • Add the coffee grounds to the French press first and pour the cold water over them. Mix with a wooden or plastic spoon so all the grounds are wet.
  • Replace the lid on the French press, but do not push down the plunger.
  • Store the filled French press in the refrigerator or on the counter for 8+ hours. I usually leave it overnight in my fridge.
  • In the morning simply push down the plunger and pour off your coffee to enjoy your cold brew! Add your optional sweetener and/or milk, toss in some ice cubes, and you’re ready to go.

You can totally make your cold brew your own by experimenting with different coffees or adding flavoring directly to the grounds with cocoa powder (no guilt mocha!), chicory, or vanilla.You can also experiment with different milks depending on your preferences and dietary needs. I make my cold brew mornings even simpler by aliquoting my milk the night before into the jars or thermos I’m going to be taking. That way it really is pour and go!

How will you customize your cold brew? Let me know in the comments!


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