This mason jar cold brew is perfect for when you want to make cold brew but don’t have any special equipment! You just need a jar, some type of filter, coffee beans and water.
I just posted Baileys Iced Coffee, which calls for cold brew coffee. So here’s a recipe for making your own cold brew!
You can also use it in this Starbucks Chocolate Cream Cold Brew, which is great for these hot summer days.
I already have a French Press Cold Brew recipe, but wanted to post this option for the people without a French press.
I think it’s easier to use a French press because the filtering process is so easy. And it’s super easy to clean, as well. But if you don’t want to buy one, then this is a great method.
Why bother with cold brew?
That’s a good question.
Cold brew is coffee that’s been steeped in filtered cold water overnight. This process makes it less acidic, a little bit sweeter, and less bitter than regular coffee. If you don’t like regular coffee, you might actually like cold brew.
It’s also easier on the stomach! It’s definitely worth a try if you haven’t had it before.
While it only takes 5 minutes to make, it has to sit for 12-18 hours. I think 16 hours is ideal, but if you don’t want it as strong, you can let it sit for 12 hours.
You can’t rush it or the flavor won’t be right. You also don’t want it to sit too long. So plan ahead!
- A 32-oz mason jar (or any 32-oz jar with a lid)
- Coffee beans
- Filtered water
- Coffee filter or a cheesecloth placed over a strainer + a bowl
Cold brew mason jar + filter sets
These are really nifty. It’s a mason jar with a filter and lid.
You put the filter in the jar, then the coffee grounds in the filter, and add water. And then you put on the lid. When you’re ready to strain, you just take off the lid, take out the filter and dump the grounds in the filter. This one is stainless steel and has amazing reviews. That definitely makes things easy, but maybe you don’t want to spend $21.45 on it.
There are options where you can just buy the filter, like this one on Amazon. It fits 32-, 48- or 64-ounce wide-mouth mason jars (not a normal mouth mason jar!) and is currently $14.
If you don’t want to buy a fancy filter like that, you can use a cheesecloth or paper coffee filter.
How to make cold brew with a mason jar
- Grind the coffee beans coarsely. Add them to the mason jar.
- Add half the water, stir, and then add the other half of the water.
- Refrigerate for 12-18 hours and then strain.
How to strain it
Place a fine mesh strainer on top of some kind of bowl or container. I think the best option is a mixing bowl with a pouring lip/spout so that you can easily pour the coffee back into the mason jar without making a mess.
I’ve poured my coffee all over the counter several times. You’d think I’d have learned after the first time! I just thought my pouring technique was bad, but no – the vessel from which you’re pouring is important.
Then place cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter (that you’ve rinsed off) on top of the strainer. Pour the coffee over that.
Then rinse out the mason jar and pour the strained cold brew in the bowl back into the jar. Put the lid back on and refrigerate.
Before serving, you’ll need to dilute it. More on that below!
Cold brew ratio
For the French press version, you need a ratio of 1:6, but with this mason jar method, you want a ratio of 1:5.
So that means you need 1 part coffee and 5 parts water – by weight.
So if you use 100 grams of coffee, then you do:
100 grams x 5 to get 500 grams of water
If you want to use 4 cups of water, which is 946 ml, then you do:
946 ÷ 5 to get 189 grams of coffee
1 ml of water = 1 gram, so that makes converting easy.
Note that these ratios only work by weight! You can’t use them for volume.
So you can’t say for 1 cup of coffee beans, you need 5 cups of water.
“Your recipe is wrong!”
My recipe calls for 5 oz of coffee. So according to the ratio, you should use 25 oz of water. But together with the coffee, that doesn’t fit in a 32 oz mason jar.
Hence 24 ounces. I’m trying to keep it simple here.
So we’re using a ratio of 1:4.8 instead of 1:5. Your coffee won’t suffer. ;)
Which roast works best?
It depends on your preference, but I’d recommend dark – or medium if you really don’t want to use dark.
Here are some reasons why dark is best:
- The flavor profile of dark roast beans holds up better than lighter roasts during brewing. You’d likely lose the fruity flavors of the lighter beans during the brewing process, but the earthy and rich flavors of dark roast coffee are actually enhanced.
- Since cold brew can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, you’ll want to choose something with some staying power.
- As a bonus, dark roast beans are cheaper than light and medium. So that’s nice for a recipe like this where you use a lot of beans.
Does the grind size matter?
Definitely! For every type of coffee and method of brewing, there’s a perfect grind.
For cold brew, you’ll always want a coarse grind. That’d be a 10 out of 10.
It gives you the best flavor profile. Also, if the coffee is too finely ground, then the cold brew will likely be over-extracted and bitter.
It’s annoying, I know, but filtered water is best for coffee.
Water is the solvent used to extract flavors from the ground coffee. So you probably don’t want to add to the taste with tap chlorine-treated tap water, for instance.
And some tap water just plain tastes bad. I still remember the tap water in West Texas during a trip decades ago.
Filtered water is odorless and tasteless, and that lets the deep coffee flavor be the star.
Tap water can also have particles of dust, sediment and rust. All of that can distract from the true coffee taste.
So – buy filtered water, use a water filter, or if you have really good tap water, that works, too! But if using tap water, why not also try making it with filtered one day and see if there’s a difference. Maybe there will be, maybe there won’t be.
How to dilute the concentrate
If you like really, really strong coffee, you might not need to dilute it. Give it a try before diluting.
Once it’s been filtered, you’ll have about 2 3/4 cups (675 ml) of cold brew concentrate. When serving, I recommend diluting it 1:1
So mix together 1/2 cup of the concentrate + 1/2 cup of milk or water and serve.
How to store cold brew
Pour the coffee into a container with an airtight lid. You want to reduce the exposure to air as much as possible after brewing the coffee.
Unlike regular hot coffee, cold brew will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. It starts to lose its hearty flavor after about a week, though.
If you have a wine pump, you can use that. It’d help preserve the richness of cold brew, and it will keep for several more days. Just pour it into a wine bottle and pump out the air, cork it and then store.
Can I use cold brew in place of regular coffee?
Yup! But you should dilute it according to recipe directions first.
Like I said above, the difference between normal coffee and cold brew coffee is that cold brew is less acidic, which results in a slightly sweet taste.
So if it’s a coffee drink you’re making that calls for regular coffee, you may want to use a little less sugar than you usually would. Then you can add more sweetener to taste.
But if you’re baking something, you really don’t need to reduce the sugar to make up for the slightly sweet taste of the cold brew. Just keep the recipe exactly as is.
The problem with cold brew
There’s obviously the problem of planning ahead, which isn’t always possible. For me, the bigger issue is the cost.
My husband was horrified when he saw the amount of coffee grounds and the yield. I talk about the ratio above, but I was a bit shocked the first time I made it.
It’s a lot of coffee beans. And it yields around 66-75% of the amount of water used. So if you use 3 cups of water, like in this recipe, you’ll only get 2 cups of cold brew concentrate.
You do go on to dilute it so that 2 cups becomes 4 cups, but it’s still way more expensive than regular coffee.
“My coffee was bitter or hardly yielded anything!”
If it was bitter, that could be because you ground the coffee beans too finely and/or let it sit too long.
If you had a tiny yield, you ground the beans too finely. The first time I ever made coffee, I made cold brew, and I used what I thought were coarsely ground beans.
I used 3 cups of water + 1 cup of ground coffee beans. This is another common recipe. It sounds so easy but then diluting it isn’t as clearcut as with the recipe below where you dilute it 1:1.
My yield was 2/3 cup of cold brew! So instead of the 66-75% mentioned above, the number was around 22%.
But it wasn’t the recipe’s fault. I just had the beans ground too finely.
Other cool drinks
If you’re not in the mood for coffee, I have a few other refreshing fruity cocktails perfect for hot weather.
I’d love to hear what you think if you try this mason jar cold brew! Enjoy. :)
Mason Jar Cold Brew
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 2 cups concentrate
- 5 ounces (142 grams or 1 3/4 cups) coffee beans
- 24 ounces (680 grams or 3 cups) filtered water
- Grind your coffee beans coarsely. I recommend a level of 9-10 out of 10.
- Place them in the bottom of the mason jar.
- Pour half (1 1/2 cups) of the water over the coffee grounds, stir and wait a minute.
- Pour in the rest of the water.
- Put on the lid and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours. I recommend trying it at 12 hours. If it's not strong enough, let it sit a few more hours. I personally think 16 hours is best.
- Put a rinsed paper coffee filter or a cheesecloth in a fine-mesh sieve. Place the prepared sieve over a bowl (I recommend one with a pouring lip/spout for easy pouring).
- Pour over the coffee. Rinse out the mason jar and pour the strained coffee back into the mason jar.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 7-10 days.
- To serve, dilute it 1:1. So measure out 1/2 cup cold brew concentrate and add 1/2 cup of water or milk.