Cold-Brewed Coffee for Iced Coffee

How to Survive a Steamy Summer

Just "brew" coffee grounds in the refrigerator not the coffee pot, creating a smooth and low-acidity coffee concentrate for making iced coffee and coffee smoothies.

Cold-Brewed Coffee ♥ for smooth, low-acidity coffee, just brew coffee grounds in water overnight, then make iced coffee, hot coffee and even coffee smoothies. It's a summer saver!

Summer Classics, Cold & Refreshing. Not just easy, Summer Easy. Budget Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Great for Gifts. Weight Watchers Friendly.

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How can we get up in the morning, knowing what we do?
But we do, put one foot after the other,
open the window,
make coffee,
watch the steam curl up and disappear.

– Excerpt from poet
Barbara Crooker
via Writer's Almanac

It Happens Every Summer ...

... some years during an unseasonably hot June, some years in always-steamy July.

Predictably, even if the timing is inexact, one morning hot coffee suddenly offers no pleasure. On that morning’s dime, I switch from hot java to iced coffee.

For years, I brewed hot coffee, then chilled it in the fridge. Last year, praise be and thanks to Dinner with Julie, I discovered cold-brewed coffee. What a revelation!

How easy is this? Simply mix ground coffee with cold water and let it rest for a few hours.

Why Drink Cold-Brew Coffee?

Coffee Concentrate for Cold-Brewed Coffee ♥ for smooth, low-acidity coffee, just brew coffee grounds in water overnight, then make iced coffee, hot coffee and even coffee smoothies. It's a summer saver!

But cold-brewed coffee is more than "easy". The coffee is smoother and less acidic. It’s easy to make just enough for one or two. It's oh-so-sippable, a cool treat to accompany the soundtrack of a steamy summer.

I love the rhythm of cold coffee.

Day One, I mix the first batch of concentrate in a glass jar.

Day Two, I strain the coffee through the coffee maker’s filter into a second glass jar, freeing up the first jar to make a fresh batch for tomorrow. While tomorrow’s coffee brews, I sip on today’s iced coffee all day long.

Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, all summer long.

Why Drink Cold-Brewed Coffee All Year Long? Low Acidity!

For us, cold-brewed coffee is a summer treat, an easy way to switch from traditional hot coffee to iced coffee during hot weather.

But many people cold-brew their coffee all year long. That's because coffee brewed in cold water is less acidic, which makes coffee easier on the stomach, taste better (for iced coffee) and even smell better!

And it keeps! In a pinch, yesterday's hot-brewed coffee may be "ok" reheated in the microwave but cold-brew brewed a few days ago and made into coffee today? Wonderful.

Trader Joe's and other companies sell bottles of coffee concentrate.

But cold-brewing coffee is no complicated or mysterious process, it's just soaking coffee grounds in cold water over 24 hours. Of course the coffee grounds infuse the water with coffee flavor! A traditional coffee-maker just accelerates the process by applying heat. But it also changes the chemistry of the coffee, shortening its pleasure span.

How to Strain the Coffee Grounds

Straining coffee grounds for Cold-Brewed Coffee ♥ for smooth, low-acidity coffee, just brew coffee grounds in water overnight, then make iced coffee, hot coffee and even coffee smoothies. It's a summer saver!

There is one thing to figure out, that's how to strain the coffee grounds to make the Coffee Concentrate. Here are a few ideas.

  • As pictured, use a paper coffee filter tucked into a strainer. Just be sure to pour the liquid in slowly, otherwise, it'll spill all over.
  • My coffee maker has a metal filter that works great for straining the cold-brewed coffee.
  • In Jennie’s Kitchen uses a French press for brewing and straining, a brilliant idea! In fact, I loved Jennie's idea so much that I bought a French press and so far, use it exclusively for cold-brewed coffee.
  • You might already have something on hand, a nut milk strainer? a yogurt strainer?


  • My Disclosure Promise
  • COFFEE Our coffee choice might not work for coffee connoisseurs but Folger's 100% Colombian (affiliate link) is the house coffee here and has been for years and years, mostly for hot coffee but also for cold-brewed coffee. The 100% Colombian is easy to find, relatively inexpensive, goes on sale occasionally and oh! I love the first whiff of coffee with a new tub! We drink enough coffee that we get a regular delivery via Amazon's Subscribe & Save program. That way, we never run out!
  • FRENCH PRESS There are so many features in a French press (affiliate link), you'll want to choose what's right for your kitchen. I will say that while clear glass French presses are traditional, I prefer my ceramic French press which I found, hmmm, I don't remember! Since the coffee grounds are a bit messy looking while they brew, I rather that be hidden.
  • COFFEE MUGS You know the minimalist idea that your "things" should provide joy? It might sound crazy but these black and bright-colored coffee mugs (affiliate link) do make me happy! The mugs are just the right size to fit in my hand. (So many coffee mugs now-a-days are so big, the coffee gets cold! ) The matte black exterior is classy looking while the glazed inside colors are just so cheery in the morning! We love these coffee mugs! Full disclosure, they could be packed better for shipping, our set of six arrived with two broken handles; other buyers have had the same experience. That said, I would definitely order these again, that's how much I like them.
  • TRADITIONAL COFFEE MAKER This Cuisinart coffee maker (affiliate link) has been going strong with daily use for three years now, we like its "bold" setting. A couple of the glass pots have broken, we keep a spare on hand just in case.
Cold-Brewed Coffee ♥, for smooth, low-acidity coffee, just brew coffee grounds in water overnight. It's a summer saver!


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 8 – 24 hours
Makes 1-1/2 cups Coffee Concentrate (easily multiplied for more)
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/3 cup ground coffee (that’s 5 tablespoons or 4 of those little funnel-shaped coffee scoopers)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • Pinch of cinnamon, optional
  • 1 part Coffee Concentrate
  • 1 part Water or milk
  • Palm sugar or sweetened condensed milk
  • Coffee Concentrate
  • Coffee Concentrate
  • Boiling Water
  • Cream
  • Sugar

COFFEE CONCENTRATE Stir the water and ground coffee in a glass jar, making sure to wet all the grounds. If you like, stir in sugar and a little cinnamon, especially if you are a fan of flavored coffee. Cover and let steep in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. Drain through a coffee filter. If drinking later, refrigerate the Coffee Concentrate.

TO MAKE ICED COFFEE Combine equal parts Coffee Concentrate and water or milk. Pour over ice and sweeten as desired.

TO MAKE COFFEE ICE CUBES Freeze the Coffee Concentrate in an ice cube tray. Use in Iced Coffee, an undiluted glassful!

TO MAKE HOT COFFEE Fill a coffee cup with boiling water. Let the cup itself warm up, then discard that now luke-warm water. Mix 1:1 Coffee Concentrate:hot water (or your own preferred proportions). Drink up!

TO MAKE A COFFEE SMOOTHIE Combine ¼ cup coffee concentrate, 1/4 cup cream, 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar and five ice cubes in a blender. Yum!

ALANNA’s TIPS Brew the Coffee Concentrate with fresh-ground coffee beans if you like. But I stick with my everyday coffee, the wonderful Folgers 100% Colombian. Yes, I know: Folgers and ground coffee, cancel my foodie credentials. But this stuff is good – and affordable, $7 or $8 on sale for a huge tub. A little coffee grit will accumulate in the bottom of the jar and even the cup. But it’s no more than, say, what you’ll find at Starbucks. Via SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle has published still more ideas on variations of cold-brewed coffee. If you're intrigued, this is worth the read!

Summer Savers: More Cold Drinks for Hot Summers

~ more cold drinks ~
My Perfect Sangria ♥, how to make sangria from scratch, 'dry' and not sweet, 'fruity' and not boozy.

Cucumber Lemonade ♥, simple and refreshing for summer.

Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade ♥, how to make real lemonade using the oil from the lemon peel for extra zesty flavor.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I do love making coffee this way. The acid from hot coffee tends to bother me, but this way it's so smooth I don't need even need sugar, just a little milk.

  2. I love cold brewed coffee. Been making it for years using a Toddy coffee maker. I keep the syrup in the fridge and use it to make a hot cup when I want it.

  3. I'm intrigued by this, and it's definitely iced coffee weather here. I'm going to try it!

  4. I make ice coffee, but I'm a little lazy. I make hot coffee, then just pour it over a cup of ice. The ice cools it down immediately and I then add sugar and milk. Works for me so far this summer. And it sure is cheaper than buying it out!

  5. I love iced is especially nice since living in the Texas sun. I've never tried it lie this though! I usually just brew coffee and stick it in the fridge! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. I’ve been using a “Toddy” cold brew coffee system for years. The acidity is much lower in the coffee and the flavor is great. I started after reading a review of a variety of coffee makers and the cold brew won over the more traditional coffee makers.

    It is a system with a filter basket that you put the coffee grounds in with water and let sit overnight. There is a filter and cork in the bottom. In the morning you pull the cork and it fills the storage carafe below with a condensed coffee syrup. To make hot coffee, you use about 1/3 coffee syrup and 2/3 water and then I zap it. It keeps about 2 weeks. It comes from Toddy Cafe and I have gotten replacement filters from Amazon.

    The only drawback is you don’t smell the brewing coffee!

  7. Anonymous12/20/2011

    I haven't tried this yet because it's December and I've just found it, but I'm already thrilled with it. I've always wondered how some coffee shops get the taste just right in iced coffee and this sounds like the answer! Such a nice Christmas present. Thank you, Alanna!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna