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Simple Cold Brew Recipe (Ratio 1:4)

This recipe for making cold brew coffee is simple to do at home. It can be made with fresh beans or affordable pre-ground coffee. And it only requires a large container, strainer and some paper towel. No special equipment required!

Simple Cold Brew Recipe

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What is Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is made by soaking coarse coffee grounds in water at cool temperatures. Not the same as iced coffee. And it’s different from drip or brewed coffee. Which is made by percolating hot water over coffee grounds in a filter.

Why Make Cold Brew

This simple coffee-making method is great because:

  • It’s easy to make and cheaper than purchasing from a store or your local coffee shop.
  • The acidity is less and it has a delicious, smooth taste. Tests have shown that cold brewed coffee has 66% less acid than when it’s brewed with hot water.
  • The slow infusion renders a strong smooth flavour. But leaves behind most of the bitter tasting compounds.
  • Another plus is that it’s quick to make a drink with on a hot day. All you do is pull it out of the Fridge and add your favourite milk, sweetener and some ice.

Ingredients Needed For This Simple Cold Brew Recipe

  • Coffee grinder: To make a medium fine ground coffee. Or you can use pre ground coffee and skip the grinder all together.
  • Coffee beans or coffee grounds: Dark or medium roast will produce the best results. However, you can use any roast you’d like. A light roast will give a good flavour but won’t be quite as bold.
  • Large jar or pitcher: I like to use a 32 oz mason jar because mason jars! That’s really all that needs to be said. It holds 4 cups.
  • Water or filtered water: I mostly just use the water from my fridge. But if you want to get really fancy, filtered water will taste better.

What Is The Ratio Of Coffee To Water?

The cold brew coffee ratio of water to coffee is 1 part coffee to 4 parts water. Which is a ratio of 1:4. So I use ¼ cup of ground coffee for 1 cup of water.

You can add more or less coffee grounds. It’s really up to you and what concentration you want. You can always dilute it with water if it’s too strong. 

Where Did Cold Brew Originate

True cold brewed coffee, made with cold water, originated in Kyoto-Japan. Where it was named Kyoto-style coffee for its popularity there. It was there that we have the earliest record of cold brew from the 1600’s. 

In the States, cold-brewed coffee has just started to gain popularity over the past 10 years.

What Type of Coffee to Use

I like to use a whole dark or medium roast bean. Since the coffee doesn’t become bitter when brewed this way, dark roast is a great option. And you’ll want to coarsely grind them. I love the 8 O’Clock original medium roast.

Can I Make Cold Brew With Cheap Coffee?

As long as you aren’t planning to drink it black, then you might get away with using cheap pre-ground coffee to make cold brew.

I tested a cheap brand of pre-ground coffee for this recipe and the flavour was adequate. As long as I added milk or creamer. I will be honest though. it’s not nearly as good as using fresh ground beans.

Currently I don’t have the money to spend on good coffee beans for cold brew. Because it takes more coffee to make. Which makes it more expensive. So I often use pre-ground Maxwell House coffee.

Is Iced Coffee The Same as Cold Brew?

Iced-coffee is made by brewing a traditional pot of coffee, and then pouring it over ice or letting it cool in the fridge. While iced coffee requires hot water, cold brew is made using cold water to extract the flavour and caffeine from the coffee beans.

How to Make Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

Step 1: Grind Beans & Measure

Grind ¾ cup of coarsely ground coffee beans or use ¾ cup preground coffee. Measure it into a mason jar or large container. 

Step 2: Add Water & Refrigerate

Add in 3 cups of water and give it a stir. Put a lid on it and place it in the fridge for 12-24 hours. Starbucks places their cold brew in the fridge for 20 hours before straining.

Step 3: Strain & Serve

Find a mesh strainer and cover it with paper towel. Pour your cold brew coffee through it to remove the grounds. 

Serve with ice, milk and your choice of liquid  sweetener.


Store in the fridge for up to a week. It will be nice and fresh when you’re ready to use it. 

How to Serve Cold Brew Coffee

It’s best served over ice with some sweet cream or in my case coconut cream or oat milk. I like to use a vanilla simple syrup to sweeten it. A syrup is best because sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold coffee. If it’s too strong, you can always dilute it with some cold water.

Different Ways to Use Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

Basic Cold Brew Drink

Basic Cold Brew Drink Recipe:

  • 3/4 cup ice
  • 3/4 cup cold brew
  • milk or cream to taste

Add ingredients to a large glass or small mason jar and stir to combine.

Simple Cold Brew Recipe
Simple Cold Brew Latte

Cold Brew Latte

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup cold brew
  • 3/4 cup frothed almond or oat milk or any milk
  • 2-4 tablespoons of simple syrup or maple syrup

Add ice and cold brew to a large glass or jar. Froth the milk and syrup together and pour into the cold brew. 

The easiest way to froth milk is to shake it in a jar. For more ways to froth milk check out this post on frothing milk without a frother.  

Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso

Iced Shaken Cold Brew

I like to make an iced shaken cold brew. It’s kinda like an iced oat shaken espresso like you would get at Starbucks but made with cold brew instead of espresso.

  • 1/2 cup cold brew
  • 1-2 tablespoons syrup of choice
  • 1 heaping cup ice
  • 1/4 cup oat milk

Add the cold brew, syrup and ice to a shaker cup or jar. Place the lid on tightly and shake vigorously for 20 seconds until foam forms.

Pour into a large glass and add in your favourite type of milk or cream.

Substitution & Tips

  • Ground Coffee: Instead of whole coffee beans, you can use pre ground coffee. Just know that it may cause a bit more of the fine grounds to slip through your strainer. And with ground coffee the flavour won’t be as good. 
  • Hot water: Add hot water to bloom your coffee. Simply use 1 cup of hot water to pour over the grounds and let it sit for 1 minute. Then add 2 more cups of cold water and move it to the fridge.
  • Room Temperature: Instead of letting it brew in the fridge, you can also let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. And then strain it and refrigerate. 
  • French Press: Instead of using a jar, you can add all your coffee and water to a french press and make cold brew by placing it in the refrigerator. Then after 24 hours remove it and press the plunger down and pour it into a jar. 

Similar Recipes

These are some other recipes for you try. They can all be made at home without any special equipment or an espresso machine.

Simple Cold Brew Recipe

This cold brew recipe is simple to make and tastes amazing!
Prep Time5 minutes
Resting Time1 day
Author: Linda Spatig


  • Mesh strainer
  • Paper towel
  • Jar
  • Coffee grinder


  • ¾ cup medium coarse ground coffee beans
  • 3 cups cold water


  • Grind the coffee beans and measure them into a glass jar. Add in the 3 cups of water, stir together and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  • After letting it brew in the fridge, remove and strain through a fine mesh strainer that is covered with paper towel.
  • Store in the fridge for up to a week.


You can use pre-ground coffee or cheap coffee. But remember the quality and taste of your cold brew is directly related to the quality of your beans.
Use a French Press instead of a jar.
Grind your beans to a coarse consistency.
I like to to use medium or dark roast beans.

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