How to Strain Cold Brew Coffee with Ease and Love!

Cold coffee is an established brew style among coffee lovers, so, gone days when it was only fashionable to make a cold brew because of the summer heat outside. Cold brew is an all-seasonal drink now and it can be the same for you too at home if you know how to brew and strain cold brew coffee with proper knowledge.

This smooth, tad bit sweet, and super refreshing brew is actually easy-to-make and will save you a heck of money. Once you make one you can preserve it for a week too! Also, you can heat it up and drink it as a regular black coffee if you’re not in the mood. If you’re a late-morning person, cold brew coffee will totally change your coffee game.

Standard Cold Brew Coffee Ratio

  • First off, this ratio is absolutely flexible. But the given ratio can be a good starting point for you. Later you can change it to fit your tastebud. We advise you to use a kitchen scale but it’s not a must
  • For each cup of water, you’ll require 1 ounce of coarsely ground coffee. About 1/4 of a cup of whole coffee beans will give you roughly 1/2 cup of ground coffee. Please do note that, in the metric system, 1 ounce equates to 28 grams
  • Next, bear in mind, that you’ll lose some of the water concentration since some will be absorbed by the grounds. That’s why you’re going to make the blend with an equal coffee-to-water (1 oz. coffee to 1 cup of water) ratio. It will get you the double final yield

How To Strain Cold Brew Coffee: 9 Ways To Do It At Home

1 – With Paper Towels

  1. Place 3 or 4 leaves of tissue paper or clean paper towels over your cup. Use a rubber band to keep them in place
  2. You should form a receptacle shape with the towels. It will prevent the coffee from overflowing when you start straining
  3. Run fresh water through the paper towels. It will rinse out the paper flavor. Now, carefully pour the water from the cup
  4. Now, pour your cold brew coffee through the filter. Pour a little at a time to stop overflowing
  5. You don’t want to disturb the sediments. Dropping the coffee too fast will turn the paper towels wet and subsequently may cause the towels to tear
  6. Finally, when you have strained enough cold brew, discard the used paper towels

2 – With Muslin/Nut Milk Bag

  1. Muslin and nut milk bags are large-sized, reusable, and food-grade bags. So you should strain it in a large receptacle such as a pitcher, carafe, or bowl
  2. Rinse a selected bag in the freshwater first
  3. Insert the bag inside your preferred large container (such as a jug or bowl)
  4. Open up the bag and pour the cold brew coffee
  5. Now, from the bottom of the receptacle, lift up the bag a few inches
  6. Dump the spent ground coffee after the straining is over
  7. Rinse and wash the bag immediately or even keep it soaked for cleaning later

3 – With Cheesecloth

Cheesecloths are an excellent choice and they are also food-grade fabrics for straining cold-brew coffee. Like the muslins/nut bags, cheesecloths are also reusable. So once you have performed the cold brew straining, wash that bag or cloth to use it later for the same or to prepare other drinks and food items.

  1. Depending on the grade (depends on the weave quality) of the cheesecloth, you should use a double layer for a cleaner straining of the coffee
  2. Rinse the cheesecloth(s) in freshwater. It removes the fabric odors and cleans any foreign material clinging to the fabric
  3. Fit the cheesecloth(s) over your carafe or bowl. Use some 2-4 clothespins to hold the cloth tightly in place
  4. Now, start pouring the cold brew coffee over the cheesecloth(s)
  5. Remove the cheesecloth(s) once done straining. Discard the spent grinds
  6. Soak the cheesecloth in water before cleaning it

4 – With French Press

The versatility of a French press is sometimes too awesome to handle. From milk foaming, making full-bodied coffee, and now to straining cold brew for you. Most folks use French presses to make cold-brew coffee only. Now, you may be thinking about how cold brew straining and cold brewing coffee work best with a French press. It’s because the press is optimized for coarse grind size.

  1. First, remove the plunger from your French press
  2. Now, pour the cold brew into the beaker
  3. Reinstall the plunger. But don’t press it. Wait at least 5 minutes for the coffee sediments to settle
  4. After 5 minutes, gently plunge down to nearly the level of the grounds
  5. Once, the straining is done to your satisfaction, pour all the brew into a separate cup/bowl
  6. Discard the grounds and clean the French press

5 – With Paper Filter

Before starting to filter the cold brew with a paper filter, please rinse the paper. Otherwise, the cold brew will absorb the taste of the paper. Paper filters have 2 shapes – flat-bottomed and cone-shaped. Usually, the paper filters come in as pre-folded. But you are also likely to find some that are not.

  1. A paper filter may be a cumbersome process for you. Only when you do not have a funnel, rigid cone, or a pour-over maker to hold it in place properly
  2. You may have to use clothespins to stick the edges of the filter to prevent it from collapsing inside the cup while pouring
  3. Pre-wet the paper for finer straining. It will take 5-10 minutes for the straining to be completed

6 – With Metallic Filter

  1. You can also strain your cold brew coffee using a metallic coffee filter
  2. You can use your pour-over coffee filter (if it’s metallic) or an auto-drip coffee maker. For example, a Keurig machine has a mesh filter
  3. You can also go for a Hario V60 or a Chemex. Use their cone mesh filter for the cold brew straining

7 – With A Piece Of Cloth/Handkerchief

  1. If you can’t find any other suitable tool for straining the coffee, you can still have an ace up your sleeve. Use your clean handkerchief or piece of cloth
  2. Simply loosely spread the handkerchief over a cup. Hold it in place with a rubber band
  3. Straining the cold coffee. Dump the grounds
  4. Finally, clean the cloth to dispel the coffee stains for later usage of the cloth again

8 – With A Tea Strainer

  1. A tea strainer will also work. Tea strainers can hold the coarse grinds of cold brew
  2. You can also add this regular mesh strainer with a paper towel. It also helps to put the paper towel sit on the tea strainer. Reducing the risk of any tearing
  3. Throw out the coffee residue and clean the strainer after each use

9 – With A Tea Infuser Basket

  1. Yes, a tea infuser is also okay
  2. Brew the cold coffee. Hold the tea infuser basket over your straining cup
  3. Pour the brew over the basket. The infuser baskets have ears for sitting on the cup mouth

What’s The Best Way To Strain?

Now, that we’ve been able to explain different possible ways to strain your cold brews, you may ask which one is the best for you. Before, going to that answer, let us underline that, all of these methods apply well. In different situations use any method that suits you.

However, the most accepted and tested method is the paper filter and cheesecloth method. If you’re thinking about “how to strain cold brew without cheesecloth?” – The answer is using a clean, soft piece of cloth or, simply using your spear handkerchief.

Both of the straining techniques give the cleanest and smoothest coffee consistently.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee At Home

All of these strain methods are fine and dandy but we can’t let you hang around without speaking about how to actually make the cold brew first. Take a quick look below.


We’ve already mentioned cold brew follows a 1:1 water-to-coffee ratio.

  • So, for a single person serving, you need 3 ounces (85 grams) of coarsely ground coffee. About ¼ cup of whole beans will give about ½ cup of coarse ground
  • 3 cups of water

Steps To Make Cold Brew Coffee

  1. In a wide-mouth mason jar, mix the coffee and water. Stir to mix well
  2. Rest the mixture for 5 minutes and stir it again. This way the grounds will get more exposure to water
  3. Put on the lid of the jar. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours
  4. Strain your cold brew after the given brewing time
  5. Let it rest for a few minutes after straining
  6. Fill a glass with ice. Then fill up half of the glass with water
  7. Then fill the rest with a cold brew and stir. You can even add cold milk to it too
  8. Cold brew remains well in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks

Cold Brew Fun Facts

  • You can use any coffee type to make your cold brew
  • You can heat up your cold brew to have it as a hot coffee
  • Only coarse ground is the best ground option for cold brewing
  • The cold extraction (12-24 hours) brings out fewer of the coffee’s bitter substances. So, the end result consists of sweeter notes and a smoother texture
  • Cold brew is less acidic so it will not upset your stomach. Also, the cold brewing method naturally gives more control to you, so you can fix and change it to suit your taste
  • Cold brew is naturally a highly caffeinated beverage. So, don’t drink the cold brew straight. Add an equal amount of cold water and ice with the brew to have the best outcome

Cold Brew vS. Iced Coffee

Surprisingly, there are a lot of folks who don’t really know that these 2 are different drinks. We want to make sure that these two delicacies have their proper recognition. Hence, we’re giving you the distinctions between them below.

Iced Coffee

  • The iced coffee is exactly what it says – regularly brewed coffee that is served over ice
  • This brewing method is quick and requires normal brewing (needs just minutes)
  • After brewing the coffee gets to cool down. Then ice cubes are poured over it
  • Since this addition of ice cubes dilutes the coffee, the ice needs extra coffee doses (sometimes doubling the amount of ground for the same amount of water)
  • Some baristas double up on the flavor by making the coffee ice cubes out of these. They simply pour the room temp coffee into an ice cube tray and put it inside a refrigerator
  • But it tastes best if sipped immediately after preparing
  • The extra coffee addition makes it more bitter and acidic-tasting
  • It’s a cheaper but popular commercial drink option
  • You can add various delicious toppings to it, especially Cold Foam

Cold Brew

  • Making cold brew requires more care and time. It isn’t as straightforward as an iced coffee
  • It needs coarse-ground coffee. The coffee has to be steeped in cold water for 12 – 24 hours
  • After this long steeping, the coffee grounds are filtered out. Leaving you with a strong coffee that can be blended with milk or water
  • The longer the coffee sits, the stronger and more mature the flavor will be. This makes the coffee strong (high caffeine), low in acid, and smooth-tasting
  • Since, it requires skill, time, and more care; cold brew is an expensive drink of choice


Do You Have To Strain Cold Brew Coffee?

Yes. Straining will separate the coffee from the coarse grounds and give you its trademark smooth mouthfeel.

Can I Use A Coffee Filter To Strain My Cold Brew?

Yes, you can, and it’s one of the highly recommended ways to strain cold-brew coffee.

Does Cold Brew Get Stronger With Time?

No. Cold brew gets stronger when you use less water against each ounce of coffee ground. Time has nothing to do with getting stronger brew.

Can You Strain Cold Brew With A Paper Towel?

Yes, it’s one of the recommended methods. But you may need multiple paper towels to avoid any tearing while you pour the brew on it.

Should You Steep Cold Brew In The Fridge?

Not a mandatory option to refrigerate your cold brew. But it’s a safe step anyway. It’s better also to brew for at least 20 hours if you are steeping the brew in a refrigerator.

Can You Reuse Cold Brew Coffee Grounds?

Yes, you can use cold brew grounds twice! But the first batch will be the strongest. Don’t expect otherwise. Also, reuse the grounds only for the cold brew method, not anything else.

Does Cold Brew Have More Caffeine?

Since it’s a concentrated coffee drink, it carries more caffeine content than iced coffee and slightly less than the same amount of hot coffee. But, it’s not as caffeinated as an espresso.


Summarizing how to strain cold brew coffee conundrum, let’s remember that, the immersion and straining methods of the cold brew make it so unique yet so widely accepted. The slow long extraction with cold water exposure is the key behind its sweeter undertone. The smoothness depends on the straining method. That is why so many people use different ways to strain their cold brews.

Each strain technique has its own ups and downs. But, like most things in life, practice makes you better. So, we highly suggest using and tasting various techniques to find out which serves you the best. Do not let the internet dictate what’s best for you or not.

Enjoy Your Coffee!

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