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An Easy Cold Brew Recipe You Can Make At Home

It's hot in the room where I'm writing this. Technically it's 93 degrees outside, but it "feels like" 103. To me the phrase "feels like" reads as a subjective term, as in it "feels like" all my clothes are stuck to my body. But this sort of heat is the perfect excuse to drink some cold brew coffee.

I'd previously thought that cold brew was a gussied up, more expensive version of regular old iced coffee, but it's a whole different process of brewing coffee that extracts more caffeine than an auto drip. And making it yourself — taking the time to let it sit, let it steep and figure out how much coffee to water works for you? It's revealed itself to be both a fun experiment and a gracious giver of a midafternoon buzz.

Food scientist professor Chahan Yeretzian is the head of the Coffee Excellence Centre in Zurich, and he was kind enough to hop on a Zoom chat and talk about best practices for making your own cold brew. And sure, you can get one of those cold brew coffeemakers, but I make do with just two pitchers and a cheesecloth.

(If you're curious about how to up the rest of your coffee game, we've got a Life Kit with six simple tips to brew a better cup of coffee at home.)

Easy Cold Brew Recipe

Here's a recipe below that's less of a recipe and more of a baseline guide. (You can watch the steps in the video above!) Your brew ratio — that is, your coffee to water proportions — will vary depending on your own taste. Yeretzian likes a 1-to-8 ratio because he likes a more "tea-like" flavor with coffee. I like it a little stronger because my palette is dumber than his, likely. So I go with a coffee water ratio of 1-to-4.

  • Grind 1 cup of coffee roughly, and put it in a pitcher/container.
  • Add 4 cups of water, stir, cover, and leave it at room temperature for six hours.*
  • Filter the coffee beans out a couple times, then run it once more through a paper filter.
  • Chill, or pour on top of ice, and enjoy.
  • *You can stick it in the fridge, if you feel uncomfortable leaving things out at room temperature for a while, but it'll slow down the brewing process, so account for that extra time by an hour or so.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
    Becky Harlan is a visual and engagement editor for NPR's Life Kit.