Cold Brew On the Cheap

Hood River Coffee Roasters Cold Brew on the Cheap

Here we detail how to make cold brew coffee without any sort of fancy (expensive) equipment.

It’s summertime and getting warm. That means it’s time for smooth and delicious cold brew coffee. While there is more than one way to make cold brew, we at Hood River Coffee Roasters prefer to cold brew as opposed to a hot brew over ice. Hot brewing leads to degradation of the acids and oils found in the coffee beans. Cold brew doesn’t cause the same amount of degradation, which leads to a smooth and sweeter cup of coffee. We should also mention that cold brewing creates a concentrated and highly caffeinated version of your favorite beverage. You can drink it straight up or dilute it with water, cream, milk, ice, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Hood River Coffee Roasters Cold Brew on the Cheap

If you want to learn more about the brewing process and the differences between cold and hot brewing, this website does a fantastic job of breaking down the differences between the two processes: ScienceandFoodUCLA.

While you can hand over a chunk of change to buy a cold toddy system (see: ToddyCafe), it’s easy to only spend money on the coffee and nothing else to make our version of cold brew at home. The only items you need are a clean pillow case, quality water, a large container, and coffee. Most of us have these items at home already, and won’t need to spend much to create cold brew at home. And trust us, you definitely want to make some at home instead of paying way way more for it at a cafe or grocery store.

Before getting into the nitty gritty, make sure you use quality, clean, cool water for this. Remember that the majority of coffee is water. If it’s not water you would normally drink, definitely don’t use it to make coffee!

Hood River Coffee Roasters explains how to make cold brew on the cheap. Includes the items needed, such as a pillow case and large container, and the method used.

The cut down corner of a clean pillow case.

Interested in making some? We recommend our Mt. Hood and Abruzzo Blends. Their flavors lend well to the cold brew method, but any sort of coffee, coarsely ground, will do just fine! Read on for the instructions.

Hood River Coffee Roasters Cold Brew on the Cheap


You Need:

1 clean pillow case

1.5-2 gallon plastic or glass container with lid

1 pound of coarse ground coffee

1 gallon of cool clean water



Cut down a sewn corner of a pillow case into a manageable size. The sewn corner will be the bottom of the Toddy Bag. Cut a long piece of the pillow case to use as a tie for the bag.

Fill the pillow case with one pound of coarse, percolator ground coffee.

Tie off securely with the tie.

Place coffee bag at the bottom of the empty container.

Add 1 gallon of cool, clean water.

Cover and soak for 24 hours in a cool location.



Pour over ice for iced coffee.

Pour over ice with milk or cream for an iced latte.

Mix with equal amounts of hot water for a smooth hot cup of coffee.



Want to sweeten your cold brew? Make a simple syrup by boiling 1:1 sugar and water.

If refrigerated, the cold brew can last for about 2 weeks. If you would like to make less than a gallon, use 1 pound of coffee per 4 quarts of water.