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Easy Big Batch Cold Brew Coffee

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Save time in the mornings and get a better cup of coffee with this super easy method for big batch Cold Brew Coffee (it’s easy to make at home)! It’s concentrated, so you can make this on Sunday and can last the whole week

image collage of preparation and steps to make cold brew coffee

Years ago, I never really drank coffee. My family was raised on hot tea, so coffee was never really part of my daily routine until I got well into adulthood. Sure, we’d have occasional coffees maybe once a week at church, but it wasn’t good coffee and it was more for a pick-me-up and not for the taste.

These days I drink more coffee and I actually enjoy the taste of the coffee itself, and the smooth sweetness of cold brew coffee has made its way into my regular coffee rotation.

Coffee is more to me than a means to an energetic end – I love the taste and smell of a great quality cup of coffee. And cold brewing brings out the best things in coffee without the bitterness and acidity, plus it’s so easy to make!

glass jar of cold brew coffee and ice

Why Cold Brew Coffee?

So why drink cold brew coffee instead of hot brewed? When you cold brew vs. hot brew your coffee, you don’t get as much acidity or bitterness from the coffee that you’d normally get when adding heat. So your resulting brew is smoother tasting, less bitter, and less acidic than hot brewed coffee.

It’s concentrated as well, so you usually only need half of what you’d normally drink (though it’s not as concentrated as espresso). Plus, with cold brew, you can make a big batch and it will last for several days!

glass pitcher, reusable coffee filter, and low acid coffee, prepping for cold brew coffee

I’ve also noticed that I don’t need hardly any sweetener in my cold brew coffee. Since it’s less bitter and less acidic, you really don’t have to add a ton of sugar to your coffee, so it’s healthier, too, if you’re working on cutting back on sugar.

I used to use the Healthwise low acid coffee (a great option if you have a sensitive stomach) that’s available in regular and Swiss water method decaf. But lately I’ve been using the Laird Superfood brand coffee. It’s organic, fair trade, high altitude and hand picked (which helps it to be naturally lower in acid).

I didn’t know too much about cold brewed coffee until I read about it on Food52 back in 2012. I’ve been making it regularly since then! While I still make homemade lattes with our espresso machine, cold brew is always a favorite of mine when I want a smooth cold coffee on a hot day.

Or I’ll even heat up my cup of cold brew in the microwave if I want a smoother hot coffee!

Cold brew coffee has increased in popularity over the past few years at popular chains like Starbucks and for good reason: it’s a great way to serve bold iced coffee that isn’t going to get watery like adding ice to a hot latte often will.

glass pitcher bowl with low acid coffee in it, preparing for cold brew coffee

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Making cold brew coffee is pretty straightforward and simple: add coffee grinds to water, let them soak for hours, and filter it into a new pitcher. So easy.

There are toddy coffee systems you can buy, and filter basket pitcher systems as well, but this method works really well while using things you already have in your house.

I like to add my grounds and water to a large batter bowl/glass pitcher bowl with a lid to make it a bit easier to measure out my water and pour into the filter and pitcher, but you can use any large pitcher you like. I recommend one with a good our spout for easier pouring and filtering.

In the past, I’ve tried using the Takeya cold brew pitcher that uses the coffee in an infuser type basket to make filtering and cleanup easier, but I found the coffee to be much weaker. I prefer letting the coffee grounds soak loose in the water (toddy method) for the fullest flavor, then filtering everything after it’s soaked/brewed.

It’s a little bit messier this way, but the flavor is deeper and richer!

Once you’ve filtered out your coffee into a new pitcher, you can add the coffee grinds to your compost (they may be too acidic still to add directly to soil or plants).

If you’re cutting back on caffeine, this will work great with decaf coffee as well. It does concentrate the caffeine a little bit, so be aware of that. I usually make mine a 50/50 mix of decaf and regular since I watch my caffeine consumption.

What type of grind should I use?

If you don’t have a superfine filter for filtering, I’d recommend using coarse coffee grounds otherwise you will end up with a lot of sediment and cloudy coffee.

I use a really fine nylon mesh filter for my cold brew so I don’t have to worry about the type of grind I use. I actually use the filter basket from the Takeya cold brew pitcher to pour through and filter out my coffee and it works great, I have hardly any sediment at the bottom of my pitcher, and never any loose grinds.

glass pitcher bowl filled with water and coffee grounds for making cold brew coffee

Fine nylon mesh nut milk bags also work well for this, just make sure that your bag is securely set over your pitcher or you’ll end up with grounds in your cold brew.

Finer ground coffee (like a regular drip grind) is also going to result in a stronger brew than very coarse ground coffee as well and will still work fine if you have a fine filter. I just wouldn’t use espresso grind however since that will make filtering your coffee difficult.

So depending on what kind of filter you’re using and how strong you want your cold brew coffee will determine your coffee grind. Since I like my cold brew strong and I use a nylon mesh filter, regular drip grind works fine for us.

pouring cold brew coffee through filter into a plastic pitcher

How to serve your cold brew

Since cold brew is concentrated, I usually do a 50/50 mix of cold brew with dairy free milk, or a 70/30 coffee/milk split if I want it stronger. If you want to keep it black, just use water instead of milk.

The great thing about cold brew is that you can make it as strong as you like!

When I want a hot cup of coffee with the cold brew, I’ll heat up my cold brew in the microwave then add some dairy free creamer. On occasion I heat up a cup of coffee and make a bulletproof coffee with it by blending in a tablespoon or 2 of coconut oil. So good!

If you love batch cooking and meal prepping, cold brew is a great way to prepare your coffee for the week for busy mornings.

pouring coconutmilk from a white creamer dish into a cup of cold brew coffee

I’ve even used a ratio of 8 cups of water to 1 1/3 cups grounds for an even bigger batch of coffee when I’m feeling like I’ll need more coffee for the week!

How to make flavored cold brew coffee

If you want to use flavored coffee with this method, you’ll want to cut it with regular unflavored coffee, otherwise the flavors will be very strong since the flavors have so much more time to steep out of the grounds and into the liquid than when you hot brew, so start sparingly with flavored coffees and adjust to your taste.

I’ve made flavored cold brew coffee with 3/4 cup regular coffee and 1/4 cup flavored coffee grounds (or you can do 50/50 if you want it stronger). Start out with the smaller amount and test taste to find your favorite flavor profile.

Dark Canyon Coffee in Rapid City, South Dakota, is one of my favorite coffee roasters for flavored coffees, and they are not too far from us. They make great flavored coffees! One of our favorites is the Highlander Grogg, a blend of Butterscotch and French Vanilla.

glass jar filled with ice and easy cold brew coffee on a green napkin

Giant batch cold brew

Since we end up going through our cold brew fairly quickly in our house, instead of our usual 2-quart batch I decided to make a giant batch of double-strength coffee and put it in a big drink dispenser for our fridge.

For my giant batch of cold brew, I used 2 1/2 cups of ground coffee to 1 gallon of cold water and I let it sit for 2 days vs just one to have a stronger brew. I used the Chamberlain coffee Social Dog Blend which has become a new favorite of ours!

You can let this steep overnight or 24 hours like usual if you want, but I chose to do a longer steep to get a stronger coffee.

With a 1-gallon giant batch, you’re not going to end up with a full gallon of cold brew after filtering since some of the coffee grounds will have soaked up the water. But this makes a great batch since we still do about a 50/50 or 70/30 cold brew to oat milk ratio for our homemade cold brew coffee.

If there are days when I don’t feel like waiting for my coffee to steep, I’ll buy a quart of extra-bold Stok to top off my coffee dispenser!

This blog post was originally posted in 2013, we recently updated this in 2018 and again in 2022.

Easy Big Batch Cold Brew Coffee

Save time in the mornings and get a better cup of coffee with this super easy method for big batch Cold Brew Coffee (it's easy to make at home)! It's concentrated, so you can make this on Sunday and can last the whole week
Paleo, vegan, nut free
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cold brew coffee, homemade cold brew coffee, how to make cold brew coffee
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Soaking time: 13 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 2kcal



  • Grind whole coffee beans, OR use any previously ground coffee you have on hand
  • Place 1 cup coffee grounds in a covered bowl or pitcher. Cover with 6 cups cold water.
  • Stir up the grounds so they are all wet and mixed fairly well.
  • Let coffee grounds and water sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours (I usually let it sit for 12 hours). 
  • Pour the coffee and grounds through a fine-mesh nut-milk bag or layered cheesecloth to separate the coffee from the grounds. 
  • This coffee is concentrated a bit, so it's usually double strength. I prepare my cold brewed coffee this way: 1/2 cup coffee concentrate + 1/2 cup unsweetened almondmilk + Stevia drops.
  • To serve: mix with as much unsweetened non-dairy milk or creamer as you like. Since this is concentrated, I usually use equal parts cold brew coffee concentrate and almondmilk.
  • Enjoy!



If you need a slightly bigger batch of coffee, you can use 8 cups of water to 1 1/3 cups coffee grounds!
For a giant batch, do 2 1/2 to 3 cups of coffee grounds for 1 gallon of water.
For cold brewing with flavored coffee, the flavors will be stronger so start with 1/4 cup flavored coffee + 3/4 cup regular unflavored coffee. Adjust the ratios to suit your tastes. 


Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 12mg | Sugar: 0g | Calcium: 8mg
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15 thoughts on “Easy Big Batch Cold Brew Coffee”

  1. Thank you for posting this!! I am actually a black coffee drinker so would I dilute with cold water? I am not a fan of milk or creamer. I just mixed this up and it is brewing in the fridge!!

    • Hi Shana! Yep, you can mix this with water for a black cold brew! Sometimes when I don’t want as much almondmilk or creamer, I mix it with water in equal parts and then add a little creamer if I still want some. You can always adjust the strength by using more or less water if you like 🙂

  2. Sometimes it’s like you’re reading my mind when you post! I’m a relatively new coffee-drinking, just started last year. I’m just feeling things out, trying things at home, and was thinking about trying to cold-brew to see how I liked it! This is just perfect, I’m going to give it a try!

  3. I, too, am not a very big coffee drinker. However, all of my family loves coffee! Thanks for posting the steps for make cold brewed coffee. I think that I’m going to try this and see if I like it more than regular coffee. It’ll be good to try something new.

  4. Wow good to know! I had no idea that you could make iced coffee this way. I thought you just make coffee, then put it in the fridge, and then maybe make coffee ice cubes to add in lol. Thanks for sharing! This will be perfect to try out once it gets too hot out for hot coffee 🙂

    • Let me know how you like it! I just bought some Sumatran Mandheling coffee yesterday to try out. I have had Vietnamese coffee (very tasty!), and the Sumatran coffee is pretty good so far cold-brewed

    • No problem Mindy 🙂 I still love to add almond milk to my coffee, but it is less bitter and I think it helps my stomach, too, since I have reflux problems

    • Making ahead is such a time saver! I love that I can grab a few sips before I go out to run in the morning – it’s all ready and waiting 🙂


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