Cold Brew Coffee: Brew the Best-Tasting Coffee Without Fuel

Cold Brew CoffeeMy favorite beverage is coffee. I love both the smell and the taste of it. I drink it hot or cold.

Any prepper who is a coffee drinker is bound to have stocked up on coffee—I know my husband and I have. We have a small French press and a camp stove coffee pot all ready to go.

Coffee When the Power Is Down

But what happens if you can’t heat water, maybe for days on end?

Searching on the Internet, I discovered a way to make the best-tasting, most incredibly smooth coffee ever brewed. And the best part is that it doesn’t need a heat source of any kind!

All you need is a jug, coffee, and cold water. Cold water??? Yes, you read correctly . . . but I will get to that part in just a moment.

Cold brew coffee brings out more of the flavors in the coffee bean. It has more caffeine than hot brew, and much lower acidity.

Cold Brew CoffeeThe Cold Brew Coffee How-To

I used an old glass gallon jar that some pickled eggs came in, and the same amount of coffee I would normally use for two pots of coffee.

I added cold water almost to the top of the jar and let it sit for 24 hours, because we like our coffee strong. (If you like your coffee weaker, let yours sit for 8 hours or overnight and test it. If it is too strong, add some water. If too weak, let it sit longer.)

Do not put your cold brew coffee in the sun like you would to make sun tea.

Heat makes coffee acidic and bitter, which is a key reason why you are using cold water.

After you make your coffee, you can leave it on the counter or place it in the refrigerator to brew longer.

That’s all there is to it, except for straining the coffee. I didn’t like this part and I actually spilled some, which was such a waste of good coffee! So, I decided to make a muslin bag with a drawstring. Now I have a coffee bag to hold the coffee grounds.

Cold Brew CoffeePutting Cold Brew Coffee to the Test

A few months ago, my husband and I took a three-day road trip. We made up a couple of gallons before we left home and let the coffee brew while we were driving. This was probably the best-tasting, most delicious and refreshing coffee we have ever had. I think that it helped that the coffee was constantly agitated as we drove.

I like my cold brew coffee with coconut milk, cinnamon, and a bit of raw sugar. A friend of mine likes hers black with a bit of salt. My husband will drink it any way he can get it.

On a hot summer day, add some ice cubes made from cold brew coffee. No more diluted, weak iced coffee!

This coffee is so simple to make, and I am told you can make as large a batch as you like at one time because it will last up to two weeks in the fridge and still taste great. I don’t know this for a fact because our coffee never lasts that long!

Next Up . . .

Next, I am thinking of making cold brew coffee ice cream in my Vitamix.

It is the little things in life that I want to enjoy now, while I still can. And as long as we have cold water and coffee, cold brew coffee will always be one of my simple pleasures.

(This article was written by Susan Norgren as an entry in The Grow Network Writing Contest and was originally published on June 25, 2015.)

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  • Joanna says:

    Just three hours ago I was wondering if I could make coffee like sun tea. Then I ran across this article. Thank you!

    1. HI Joanna,
      Make it like sun tea but keep it from the sun. Hmmm, I wonder if I can make tea this way too? Will have to try it as well.

  • tony says:

    How much coffee do you have stored and how do you properly store coffee beans? I have no idea how long coffee beans last stored properly

    1. Hi Tony, great question! I do know that roasted coffee beans need to be protected from excessive air, moisture, heat, and light. So for now we vacuum seal it in our food saver and put it in a dark tub we use for food storage. Sometimes we double wrap the bag with a paper bag. Eventually we will use the “Green” beans and roast the beans ourselves and grow a coffee tree in our green house! The aging process starts after the beans have been roasted.

      1. clairemarie183 says:

        I put it in the freezer just like my parents did. Even ground and vacuum sealed from the store lasts longer this way.

      2. Marjory Wildcraft says:

        Hi Susan,

        Nice writing contest entry – so simple, but super useful.
        Love it!
        I absolutely endorse the idea of growing your own coffee. Especially for preppers… If you read anything about hard times – it was the coffee that people missed the most. It can be grown in N America, although it’s natural range is +/- 20 degrees of the equator. And I normally don’t endorse growing something so far out of its range but it becomes more and more usnsustainable and takes way more time. But for coffee, chcocolate, and some other important medicinals.. yup, I am into the exception

        If you want to see a video I did a while back on growing chocolate – and coffee is very similar.. check this out. I go over the specifics on temperature ranges, water, sunlight requirements, yields… etc.

        I’ve been thinking of hosting a contest to see who can grow chocolate or coffee in greenhouses the most sustainably…

  • Mike says:

    Thank you for the great idea! I can’t wait to try this.

    1. You will be happy you did. Thanks for the comment.

  • Mary Ann Carter says:

    I don’t drink coffee but my husband and my family do. I am going to try this for him. Do you buy ground or beans and grind them when you get ready to brew them?

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi Mary Ann – I’m not sure if Susan agrees, but I think it’s always best to grind the beans yourself. Two things that spoil coffee are air and light. So the best place to store coffee is inside the bean – where air and light don’t penetrate. You’re also supposed to keep it cool and dry. Fresh grind = fresh coffee!

      1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

        Hi Micheal, so good to see you online! It’s been a long time my friend. Miss you 🙂

  • Hi Mary Ann, Fresh ground beans are always best. I have been known to do both. Fresh ground coffee beans always tastes better but don’t grind it too fine. I know your husband is going to think you are the very best coffee maker in the house and will want his coffee like this all the time!

  • Levi says:

    Definitely a way to go

    1. Yes Levi, it is. Only problem is keeping enough ready made cold brewed coffee on hand.

  • Greg says:

    Great idea! I look forward to trying this. One problem is that I can’t make a ‘muslin’ bag. Other ideas for a single guy or what else to use? Thanks

    1. Michael Ford says:

      Hi Greg – There are some fine mesh bags sold at hardware stores as paint strainers. We use those for brewing compost tea & they work great. And, don’t be afraid to sew a little! It’s pretty easy to start with a simple needle & thread… 🙂

    2. Do you have an old thin mismatched cotton sock hanging around? I bet that would work. Pour in the coffee and tie the end up with a rubber band or bread wire thingy. Or, find a square of material that will fit the amount of coffee you plan to use gather it up and either use the bread wire wrap or rubber band to seal the coffee in! Thanks for your comment, I love it when I get to be creative! lol

      1. Michael Ford says:

        That’s funny Susan. I was in the boy scouts growing up, and the adult leaders always brewed their campfire coffee using an old sock. I didn’t even know what coffee tasted like back then. I imagined that this particular pot of coffee probably tasted like a gym shoe, but the old-timers always raved and said that the sock coffee was the best coffee they ever had.

        1. With or without the sock camp coffee is great!

          1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

            I’ve found that when I have been out in the back country for a while almost everything tastes better 🙂

    3. Hi Greg, If you have an old sock with no holes that might work, then all you need to do is add your coffee and tie it up with a rubber band. Thanks for your great comment!

  • Absolutely brilliant! I love the idea of the coffee ice cubes, too! Oh, what good ideas these are! Imagine the coffee ice-cream! I always fell for the Hagen-Daas coffee ice-cream, but I am going to try to make my own now that you have encouraged me. I have a Champion juicer that should do the job. Already I make fruit ice creams in it. They are delicious!

    1. Oh yummmmy! Let us know how it turns out!

    2. kquinnhobbs says:

      to laurie and others. I would like to inform you that Hagen-Daas is a Nestle product. I too love this ice cream and it broke my heart to find out this info. Please dont buy Nestle! thank you.

  • Nancy says:

    Great idea.

  • VALERIE FENN says:

    Hey great stuff, taste so smooth and wakes you up with out the jitters. Love it, love it.

  • Sheri says:

    This coffee sounds delicious! I enjoy coffee. I can’t wait to try this. I have some questions: How does it taste if you heat it after making it cold? Is it good that way, too, or do you need to drink it cold? Thank you for your well-written and informative article Susan.

  • LoriSmithey says:

    I am a HUGE coffee fan. But i don’t like the bitterness. I am trying to eliminate processed foods from my diet, and let me tell you, my flavored creamer is the last thing to go! I am very excited to try this. Maybe I can finally let go of the creamer and just enjoy my coffee!

  • anita07ostra says:

    How many cups in one of the pots of coffee that you are using for making the cold coffee? Thank you! Love coffee and love this idea of making it delicious and low acid.

  • clairemarie183 says:

    I have an old pickle jar and I’m going to have to try this. I brew my coffee with a cardamom pod in it to reduce the acidity already. This should help even more.

  • kquinnhobbs says:

    can someone tell me if they think it is NOT OKto heat up the coffee? I have GERD and was advised to cold brew my coffee – which is delicious BTW – and then just heat it up. it is a pain to remember every night but it definitely helps me a lot and the alternative is no coffee at all!

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