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Iced coffee in a tall glass
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5 from 4 votes

How to Make Perfect Cold Brew Iced Coffee

As a coffee lover, there’s one thing I just didn’t get—Iced Coffee. What?! The idea left me well, cold. Coffee is supposed to be hot. Very, very hot. And then I made a life-impacting mistake. I accepted a sample of iced coffee in a popular coffee shop. It was strong, sweet, creamy and icy cold. Wow! The secret is in the cold brew coffee concentrate.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Brewing time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 30 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1
Calories: 107kcal


  • Large container like a clean, new 3-gallon bucket
  • Long wooden spoon
  • Large sieve or colander
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter


For 2-Gallons Coffee Concentrate (See NOTE 1)

  • 1 pound ground coffee
  • 8 quarts filtered or bottled cold water (32 cups)

For a Single Serving Iced Coffee

  • 1 ½ cups ice
  • 8 ounces cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 2 to 4 ounces milk or cream or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or to taste


To Make Proper Coffee Concentrate

  • Into a very large container, dump one pound of ground, dark, rich coffee. Any brand will do.
  • Now pour in 8 quarts (2 gallons) of cold water.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until all of the dry coffee is wet. Cover. Allow to steep at room temperature for at least 8 hours, longer is just fine.
  • Line a large sieve or colander with several layers of cheesecloth and pour the steeped coffee grounds through. You’ll need to prod it a bit to get all of that coffee perfectly sieved, but stick with it. You’ll end up with just shy of 8 quarts of rich, dark coffee concentrate that will be void of bitterness and very low in acidity.
  • Discard the coffee dregs; tightly cover and place the concentrate in the refrigerator.

To make a tall, cold, wonderful glass of Perfect Iced Coffee

  • Fill a 12-ounce glass―or a one-quart canning jar―with ice.
  • Pour very cold coffee concentrate over the ice until the glass or jar is about 3/4 full.
  • Add your choice of milk or cream.
  • Add the amount of sugar you need to make it as sweet as you desire. Stir to mix.


Note 1:
Not ready to commit to nearly two gallons of coffee concentrate? No problem. Scale down the proportions: 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for each cup of cold water.
Note 2:
The water you use is important: If your tap water is highly chlorinated (taste it, smell it to discover this; if it tastes good to you, use tap water here), opt for bottled or filtered water. 
Note 3:
Any ground coffee will do, but you'll be super happy if you start with dark, rich, freshly roasted coffee.
Note 4:
This coffee concentrate will keep well in the refrigerator up to 6 weeks, provided it is kept tightly covered. Enjoy!


Serving: 8oz | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 407mg | Potassium: 185mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Calcium: 287mg