Cold brew coffee: What's the buzz?

Contributed by Food for health editors

Cold brew coffee: What's the buzz?

You may have noticed it popping up on menus at small cafes and large coffee chains, and even appearing on grocery store shelves. Cold brew coffee is not a new idea; it can be traced all the way back to the 1600s in Japan, but has been rising in popularity in recent years.

Cold brewing is a method that takes a longer period of time — about 12 hours — with room temperature or cold water. Yes, it requires a little bit of planning ahead, but it’s worth it! Brewing at a lower temperature results in lower acidity and a smooth coffee concentrate with virtually no bitterness. In fact, it’s so smooth that you can skip any added syrups, milk or other flavoring and save yourself the calories.

Still prefer flavored coffee? Here are some options that are better for you than artificial flavors and sweeteners:

  • Spices: Try cinnamon, apple pie spice, nutmeg or cardamom for a simple, calorie-free way to add an extra kick to your cup of Joe.
  • Extracts: Check your baking pantry! Vanilla, peppermint, coconut and almond are just a few options. Just a dash will do.

If you still want to use a sweetener, opt for something like honey, agave nectar or stevia that is more natural.

Servings: 2 glasses


  • 1/3 cup ground coffee of your choice (medium-coarse grind)
  • 1 1/2 cup cold water


  1. In a large jar or other container, gently stir together coffee and cold water. 
  2. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours. 
  3. Strain twice through a coffee filter or a fine-mesh sieve. 

The resulting coffee concentrate keeps up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Before serving, dilute the coffee concentrate with water using a 1:1 ratio. Enjoy over ice.

Pro tip: Use some of the cold brew to make coffee ice cubes. Coffee ice cubes are a great way to avoid diluting your coffee.