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How to Make Barista-Level Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Cold brew coffee is delicious, strong, and easy to DIY. Here's how to make it at home to save money and minimize waste.

how to make cold brew coffee
Written by
Calin Van Paris
is crucial in all of its myriad forms. From that indulgent after-dinner espresso shot to the iced coffee that's always worth being five minutes late for, the bitter beverage (easily lightened up with your
milk of choice
) is something akin to a supportive friend, seasonal accessory, or lover—depending on the day. And one of the best ways to minimize waste while harboring your habit? Learning how to make cold brew coffee at home.
Though cold brew coffee is often an on-the-go grab, brewing the strong stuff from the comfort of your own home cuts down on
plastic waste
and your caffeine bill, all while allowing you to prioritize the
sustainability of your sip
. Plus, it can last for up to a week in the refrigerator.

What's the Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?

how to make cold brew coffee
The difference between cold brew and iced coffee is all down to the brewing method. Iced coffee is simply that, coffee that is made traditionally using hot water, cooled, and iced to serve.
Conversely, cold brew is brewed using room temperature water, which takes a lot more time, but results in a more concentrated drink that can be enjoyed as is or diluted with water or your chosen milk.
Both methods are easy to DIY, the better to save on unnecessary unrecyclable
coffee cups
and prioritize the quality and sustainability of your beans.

Sourcing Sustainable Coffee

how to make cold brew coffee
To source the most sustainable beans possible, look for certifications and brand transparency. A
USDA Organic
seal signals that the brand's beans were farmed in accordance with organic growing protocols, while a
Fair Trade Certified
seal speaks to livable working conditions and wages.
But for a truly sustainable cup, transparency is key. Brands should be clear about where exactly their beans come from, how they're grown (
, a kind of
, is a winning ecological route), and how workers are treated.

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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

1 cup coffee grounds
2 cups filtered water
1. Coarsely grind the beans of your choice to create 1 cup of coffee grounds. (Note: A 1:2 coffee-to-water ratio is a good starting point for this method, but you can make it weaker or stronger depending on your preference.)
2. Add coffee grounds and water to a French press. 
3. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 14 to 18 hours, depending on your desired strength.
4. Plunge grounds down and transfer your cold brew to a Mason jar for storage in the refrigerator. Enjoy for up to one week!