7 Steps to Making Cold Brew at Home (Without a Coffee Grinder)

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cold brew at home

Wondering how to make cold brew at home? 

No worries, we have you covered. This article will take you through the process of making cold brew coffee step by step, even if you don’t have your own coffee grinder. 

The steps are as follows:

  1. Grind your coffee beans
  2. Add coffee grounds to the container
  3. Fill the container with water and stir
  4. Seal container and let steep for 12-24 hours
  5. Strain the mixture
  6. Pour coffee into a glass and enjoy
  7. Store the rest for later

The rest of the article will outline each step so you know exactly what to do.

And by the way, you can read our other article if you’re wondering what the difference is between cold brew and iced coffee.

First, here’s what you’ll need. 

cold brew at home

You don’t need much in the way of apparatus or ingredients to make cold brew coffee. It’s pretty straightforward really. The hardest part (if you don’t have a coffee grinder) is actually grinding the beans themselves. 

Of course, if you want to skip the grinding step, you can buy coarse ground coffee or ask your local barista/coffee shop to grind the beans for you. Anyway, here’s what you’ll need (shown in the photo above):

  • Coffee beans
  • A way to grind your coffee beans (coffee grinder, wooden spoon, etc)
  • Container with lid
  • Ice (optional)
  • Milk (optional)
  • Water
  • Glass
  • Strainer

So now let’s outline the process, step-by-step

Step 1: Grind the beans

The first step to making cold brew coffee is to grind your coffee beans. 

You’re looking for a coarse grind here, since a fine grind will usually form a sludge at the bottom of the container.

This bears repeating: some sources say it’s OK to use a fine grind when making cold brew, while others don’t recommend it. While you technically could make it with fine ground coffee (the kind that’s usually used in drip coffee), it’s important to note that a fine grind can form a sludge at the bottom of the container. 

So how do you grind the beans?

Well the easiest way is with a coffee grinder on the coarsest setting. But if you don’t have a grinder, then the back of a wooden spoon or a mortar and pestle will do. For this article, I used the back of a wooden spoon. 

The image on the left above shows the beans I’m using. And the photo on the right shows coarse coffee grinds after mashing the beans with the back of a wooden spoon.

Your other option is to buy coarse ground coffee. Here’s an example of coarse ground coffee specifically for cold brew.

And a third option is to take your beans of choice to the local barista or coffee shop and ask them to grind them for you. Just make sure to tell them you’re using the beans for cold brew and to use a coarse setting when grinding.

Step 2: Add the coffee grounds to your container. 

For this example, I’m using a 1 liter Ikea KORKEN-Jar with a lid, as shown in the photos above.

It’s fine if you can’t get this specific jar. Any sealable container will do, though my advice is to go with a container made of glass to prevent plastic or chemicals leaching into your coffee while it steeps.

The photograph on the right shows the jar with the coffee grinds added. It’s a 1 liter jar so I’ve added roughly 100 g of coffee.

Step 3: Add water

This step is simple enough. Add water to fill up your container, and stir the mixture thoroughly.

Step 4: Seal your container

Next, seal the container and leave it steep for 12-24 hours. You can let it steep on the counter or in the fridge, it’s up to you.

Personally, I prefer a longer steep time. So I left mine overnight for about 21 hours, as shown in the image above.

You’ll notice that the water in the container turns a darker and darker shade of brown as time goes by. This is why you don’t want to steep it for less than 12 hours, because the coffee needs time to infuse into the water.

Step 5: Strain the coffee

After 12-24 hours, open your container and strain the mixture. 

Again, you can do this in several ways. You can use a standard kitchen strainer, some paper, a filter of some kind, or you could even use a French press if you have one. Just make sure the French press is clean.

Strain out your cold brew coffee into a separate container, leaving the grinds behind.

Step 6: Pour into a glass 

Pour this cold brew coffee into a glass and enjoy. You can add milk and ice if you want.

Step 7: Store for later

If you have a lot of cold brew coffee left over (which will depend on how much you brewed in the first place), you can store it in the fridge and enjoy it over the next several days.

Bonus Step: Heat it Up!

Can you heat up cold brew coffee? Absolutely.

Take it out of the fridge and heat up some of it on the stove or in the microwave.

You now have everything you need

So that’s it! Pretty simple, eh?

Here are those steps again:

  1. Grind your coffee beans
  2. Add coffee grounds to the container
  3. Fill container with water and stir
  4. Seal container and let steep for 12-24 hours
  5. Strain the mixture
  6. Pour coffee into a glass with ice and milk
  7. Store the rest for later

Remember, cold brew is only one way to make coffee. Fancy an espresso instead? Check out our roundup review of the best Breville coffee machines.

If you’re looking for another take on cold brew coffee, you can read the BBC’s guide to making cold brew at home.

Or take a look at our recent article on all the different types of coffee you can experiment with.

See you next time!


What’s the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

Iced coffee is brewed the same as regular hot coffee. But it’s poured over ice. Cold brew is not brewed hot – instead, coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for 12-24 hours.

Can I use fine grounds for cold brew?

It’s best not to use fine ground coffee for cold brew, as it can form a sludge at the bottom of the container. Course grounds are best.

What if I don’t have a coffee grinder?

You can use a mortar and pestle or the back of a wooden spoon to grind your beans. You can also ask your local barista to grind the beans for you.

Can I serve cold brew with ice or milk?

Yes, both milk and ice can be added to cold brew coffee.

Photo of author


My name is Colm O’Regan. I’m a self-confessed coffee nut who probably drinks a little too much of the stuff every morning. And I founded Moderno Coffee with the goal of providing the best coffee guides and reviews on the web.