What Is Cold Brew? Plus, How to DIY at Home (So Cheap and Easy!)

Photo credit: Rachael Ray Show Aired August 24, 2016

Cold brew is the ultimate warm weather beverage that will both wake you up and cool you down. There are plenty of delicious premade options you can buy, but cold brew is actually insanely easy to make (and way cheaper) when you DIY at home.

So, What Exactly Is Cold Brew?
Cold brew is not hot coffee poured over iced (that would be iced coffee). It's a coffee drink that's made by brewing coffee with cold water for a long period of time (usually overnight), which is then strained and served over ice. The result is much smoother, richer and significantly more caffeinated than regular iced coffee (translation: more buzz for your buck).

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What You Need
You may have seen expensive Japanese contraptions and even countertop machines specifically for making cold brew, but the best part about it is you don't really need any special equipment to make it. All you need is a large 8-cup glass jar with lid, a pitcher, something to strain the coffee with and, of course, coffee (duh)!

The Coffee
When I make cold brew, I prefer a really dark roast coffee. An "espresso roast" is my favorite because it results in an extra-rich taste. You want to make sure the coffee is ground to a medium grind because if it's too finely ground, it will be really hard to strain and if too coarsely ground, your cold brew may turn out too weak. Bonus: cold brew is really easy to adjust to your taste and desired level of caffeine.

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Just Brew It
To make cold brew, place 2 cups of coffee into an 8-cup glass jar. Fill the jar to the top with water, place the lid on top and then shake to combine. Now place that jar into the fridge for 12 hours. After 12 hours, it's time to strain!

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I like to use a ceramic coffee cone with a coffee filter placed inside to strain. If you don't have one of those, you can line a sieve with some cheesecloth. If you don't have cheesecloth, you could also line the sieve with paper towel. Use what you have around!

When you strain your coffee into a large pitcher, you may have to pour it into the filter in stages to avoid overflow. Be patient. It'll be worth the wait.

How Strong Do You Want It?
This recipe will brew a pretty strong glass of cold brew, which is how I like it. If you want yours to be a little lighter, just add some water and adjust to your taste. You brew you!

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Now What?
This recipe makes about 6 cups, which is enough for a whole week for me. In the morning, I like to drink my cold brew straight over ice and in the afternoon I like to treat myself with a splash of cream and a little sugar for a refreshing pick-me-up.

If you find yourself feeling a little creative, here are a few super cool ways to take your cold brew to the next level:

Bobby Flay's Coffee Milk Punch
White Russian Ice Pops
Jeanette’s Irish Iced Coffee

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