Like many other coffee lovers, you probably enjoy downing cups of cold brew coffee whenever you can. But the idea of spending a fortune on a fancy cold brew maker or swiping your card at the coffeehouse daily? Count you out!
We get it. Brewing gear is expensive, and so are coffee shop prices; that’s why we’re showing you how to use a wide-mouth quart mason jar to meet all your cold brew coffee needs at home. The process is simple, quick, and only requires a few ingredients you likely have already.
We’ll also answer some of your burning questions about the mason jar cold brew coffee recipe, so keep reading if you’re eager to learn how to make it and to learn more about this refreshing drink.
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee?
Rather than referencing a type of joe, the name cold brew describes the preparation process for this popular type of coffee. It is the result of brewing beans at lower temperatures than traditional brewing methods.
But don’t be mistaken; even though most people serve both beverages over ice, cold brew and iced coffee are not the same because they use different brewing processes.
The cold-brewing process requires no heat. Coarse coffee grounds steep in cold or room temperature water for a few hours before being strained out of the mixture.
On the other hand, iced coffee brews in a coffee maker like an automatic dripper, pour-over, or French press, then is left to cool before being served over ice.
Only you can decide which of the two is best, as it’s a matter of personal preference. However, cold-brewed joe fans choose it over regular iced coffee because it’s less acidic and smoother-tasting.
Plus, it’s more caffeinated since the hot water of a traditional brewer extracts more caffeine from the beans than cold or room-temperature water does.
Like iced coffee, cold brew pairs well with flavored syrups, milk or non-dairy milk alternatives, and coffee creamers. And while most people sip it over ice, you can also heat it and drink it hot.
Why Should I Make Cold Brew Coffee in a Mason Jar?
The market is full of quality cold brew coffee maker options, but there’s probably one in your kitchen that works just as well and costs significantly less. We’re talking about the mason jar.
Making cold brew coffee in a mason jar is wise for two primary reasons:
- It’s cheaper. Since you probably already have coffee grounds, water, and kitchen essentials like measuring cups and spoons, the only thing you’d need to invest in is a mason jar. Don’t want to buy one? No worries! Wash out that nearly-empty jam jar taking up space in your refrigerator door and use that!
- Mason jars are reusable and environmentally friendly. Your mason jar doesn’t only save you money; it reduces your carbon footprint, too! If you decide you no longer want to use it to brew coffee, there are dozens of ways you can repurpose it so it won’t go to waste.
View our Google web story here.
The Easiest Mason Jar Cold Brew Recipe (With a Filter Bag)
- Your favorite coffee beans – We recommend using dark or medium roast coffee for best results, but as long as it’s coarsely ground, any roast level will do. Our beans came to us from Atlas Coffee Club, but feel free to use whatever kind of coffee you like best.
- A clean mason jar with a lid.
- A filter – We used coffee filter bags from our friends at Atlas Coffee Club, but you can find your own online or make them out of cheesecloth and string.
- Coffee grinder – This is optional, as you can easily purchase coarse coffee grounds from your favorite retailer. However, we think fresh is best, so we highly recommend grinding your own joe.
- Room-temperature or cold water.
- Measuring cups or scoops.
Atlas Coffee Club
A coffee of the month club that curates amazing micro-lot coffees from around the world.Tanzania, Kenya, Colombia & beyond.
First, measure your coffee. How much you use depends on how much cold brew concentrate you want to produce, but the general rule of thumb is two tablespoons of ground joe for every cup of coffee you want to make.
(Need more info about the water-to-coffee ratio? Check out our detailed guide to measuring coffee.)
Place your ground coffee in the filter bag before putting the bag inside the mason jar.
We hope you used your coffee grinder to break down your beans, as this makes for the freshest brew possible. However, if one of those isn’t a part of your coffee gear lineup, you can use pre-ground beans or purchase whole bean joe from your favorite coffee shop and ask them to grind it for you.
Pour water into the jar. Remember, the amount you use depends on how much coarse ground coffee is in the filter bag and how much cold-brewed coffee you’re making.
Consult our coffee measuring guide for coffee-to-water ratio assistance if you need it.
Seal the mason jar and let the coffee steep in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
The longer you let the cold-brewed coffee steep, the stronger it will be. But don’t leave it for too long, or you’ll end up with a batch of disappointingly bitter coffee.
FYI, you don’t have to leave your coffee to brew in the fridge if you don’t want to. Letting the grounds steep at room temperature makes the process go faster, as warmer water extracts coffee flavor more efficiently.
However, we prefer to let cold brew steep in the refrigerator so the joe will already be chilled when it’s time to strain, dilute, and serve it.
Once steeping time is up, remove the mason jar from the refrigerator, pull out the coffee filter bag, and dispose of the coffee grounds however you’d like.
And there you have it — easy cold brew!
Before you drink your beverage, place the lid back onto the mason jar and shake the coffee to keep it from separating. Then, you can serve the coffee fresh over ice or heat it and drink it warm. Enjoy it black, or add sugar, coffee creamer, or milk to your liking.
Bear in mind that this brew tastes pretty strong, so you might want to dilute the concentrated coffee with a cup of water (or a few), depending on how you like your joe.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a Mason Jar (Without a Filter Bag)
Making cold brew in a mason jar without coffee filter bags is almost the same as doing so with them, except you’ll need to add a mesh strainer or piece of cheesecloth to your list of necessities.
Measure the coarsely ground coffee according to how much joe you plan to make (again, you can consult our coffee measuring guide for details) and scoop it into the mason jar.
Add roughly half of the water and stir the coffee and water mixture before adding the rest of the water. Seal the mason jar and put it in your refrigerator, then let the steeping process begin.
Let the joe stay there for at least 12 hours, but remember, the longer the steep time, the stronger the brew.
Once the steeping time is up, take the mason jar out of the refrigerator, use a mesh sieve or piece of cheesecloth to strain the coffee grounds out of the brew, and voila! — cold brew concentrate! Drink it as is, or dilute it with water to tone down the intensity.
A Cold Brew Q&A: Answering Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ratio of coffee grounds to water for cold brew coffee?
The recommended ratio of coffee to water when making cold brew is one to five.
So, if you’re making 32 ounces of cold brew, you’ll need to measure out almost six and a half (six-point-four, to be exact) ounces of coffee.
However, there is no established set of rules you have to follow when measuring coffee grounds and water during the cold brew process. Add or subtract each ingredient as needed, depending on what your taste buds crave and how weak or strong you like your brew.
How much water do you dilute cold brew with?
While some people don’t mind the taste of undiluted cold brew concentrate, most of us prefer adding water to the mix to mellow things out as far as flavor and caffeine content are concerned.
The standard concentrate-to-water dilution ratio is two to one for stronger joe and one to one for a slightly less intense cup of coffee.
But what matters most is that you like what’s in your cup, so feel free to adjust the ratio until you end up with something that suits your preferences.
How long should cold brew steep?
Many coffee experts agree that 18 hours is the steeping sweet spot for cold brew coffee, as this duration leaves all of the robust flavors of your beans intact, but 24 hours is the maximum.
More impatient java lovers can get away with brewing the coffee-water mixture for a minimum of 12 hours, but their coffee concentrate won’t be as bold as someone whose brew steeped longer.
What happens if you brew cold brew for too long?
Steeping cold brew longer than a day can result in disappointing coffee.
After the 24-hour mark, the cold brew begins releasing chemical compounds called catechol oligomers that make the contents of your cup taste harsh, dusty, and bitter.
Can you put hot coffee in a mason jar?
Mason jars aren’t just for cold brew; you can also add hot coffee to them!
However, you’ll have to be careful not to overheat the glass. Adding liquid at boiling temperature to cold glass can make it shatter, so warm the jar before adding hot joe or let the coffee cool down a bit before pouring it in.
Can you store ground coffee in a mason jar?
Mason jars aren’t necessarily the best way to store whole or pre-ground coffee beans, but as long as they’re airtight, they’ll do. But don’t dilly-dally using your beans; the mason jar can only keep them fresh for so long (about a week or two).
Be sure to keep your jar of coffee in a cool, very dark place. Since mason jars are clear, the potential of light exposure* is very high for the beans, so you’ll want to take extra care to ensure that doesn’t happen.
*Light exposure causes beans to lose all the delicious tastes and aromas that coffee connoisseurs rave over. Trust us; you don’t want light anywhere near your unbrewed joe.
How long does cold brew last?
You can keep cold brew in your refrigerator for seven to 10 days. After that, it will likely start losing its smooth flavor, and at that point, it’s time to say goodbye.
Is Mason Jar Cold Brew All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
Only you can say that for sure, but if you ask us, we say yes. Using a mason jar is a simple and inexpensive means of curbing your cold brew cravings.
Besides, cold brew is the base of countless drink recipes. Using a mason jar to make your own is a surefire way to ensure you’ve always got a supply of chilled coffee ready to go when it’s time to experiment.
- Coffee beans
- A mason jar with a lid
- A filter
- Coffee grinder
- Room-temperature or cold water
- Measuring cups or scoops
- Measure your coffee, and place your ground coffee in the filter bag before putting the bag inside the mason jar.
- Pour water into the jar.
- Seal the mason jar and let the coffee steep in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
- Remove the mason jar from the refrigerator, pull out the coffee filter bag, and dispose of the coffee grounds however you'd like. And there you have it — easy cold brew!