Cheap, easy, no-mess cold-brew coffee


Oh no, you didn’t actually just recommend that Krups POS did you??? Its not actually a grinder, it’s spinning blades that chop up the beans and get super hot which actually cooks them while it’s doing the chopping, leaving inconsistent sizes (thus impossible to properly extract) and further burnt beans. Please please please if you care at all what your coffee tastes like don’t ruin it with a blade “grinder”

My sense is this would work best for heavy duty coffee drinkers. A pitcher of condensed coffee is a lot to get through in the morning before you have to dump it out to wash the pitcher so you can pack it.

The nut milk bag is a creative re-purposing, and much easier to pack than a french press with plunger.

All that equipment would fill up 50% of my usual carry-on bag. That’s quite a commitment to the perfect cup of coffee on the road! There is a lot of bad coffee out in the world, and hotel room coffee makers should all be chucked into the nearest black hole, but I would think the kind of business travel done by one of BB’s fearless leaders would be to coffee-savvy communities. Instead of packing all that stuff just for a cuppa Joe, why not entrust your handlers/local contacts at each location to bring you a good local offering? Or bring you TO a good local offering?

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Does anyone have a set of proportions for a smaller amount? Like how much (tablespoon scoops?) beans to grind for a liter of coffee concentrate?

I don’t have tons of money, and care about my coffee. My solution is to use a blade grinder in short bursts while shaking it to move the beans around. Avoids burning and gets somewhat more consistent grind. I also don’t attempt to make espresso this way.


Perhaps you should make an Instructables video for this.

Also - for those worried about travel stuff - check with your local Boy Scout supply store (or camping supplies) - there may be a collapsible pitcher similar to collapsible camp cups

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My Mom used to put the coffee in an old tea towel she’d sewn up to make a bag (secured the top with a rubber band). The “nut milk” sack is a good hack, looks to be more convenient and easier to clean. And I’m sure you can make quite decent, coarse-ground coffee with a blade grinder w/o over-heating the beans or otherwise destroying their feng shui :wink:

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Thanks for the nut-milk bag tip - I just followed your link and bought one.

I had been using gallon-sized freezer bags (inside a tall container to keep them upright) and pouring the coffee through a strainer into my cup; it makes nice, powerful cold coffee but it’s a pain. This should be much, much less hassle.

To all the people hatin’ on the blade grinders: absolutely true that you don’t get a consistent grind. If that’s a make-or-break for you (which it shouldn’t be, with this brewing method) then sure, don’t use a blade grinder. But if you’re burning your coffee with it - Jaysis, you’re doing it wrong! If you loaded up a blender with frozen fruit, and didn’t stop to stir it, would you blame the blender for producing a small amount of warmish liquid and a whole bunch of frozen chunks? It’s the same concept, and a bladed coffee grinder is a lot easier to stir than an Osterizer…

  • Load the thing
  • Pick it up in both hands, with your thumbs holding the lid down and one thumb over the GO button
  • Shake it gently while you pulse the power, so you’re not continually grinding the same thin layer of beans
  • Stop when you think the grind is about as fine as you want it (after about the third time you do this, your ear will tell you when)
  • Done!

It ain’t rocket surgery. True, you don’t have to do this with a burr grinder - but I’ve never seen a travel-cheap ($15!), decent burr grinder.


Cory, I like this suggestion. After reading your recipe/methodology from the Playa in Homeland, I’ve been thinking of how I’d like to do cold brew. This will work nicely. Already have a spare pitcher.

When I want to find out way too much information about coffee, I turn to

Conclusion he reached:

  1. Coffee brand doesn’t much matter much. Use cheap coffee. Cold-brewing does not produce all of the flavor compounds as hot-brewing.
  2. Extraction time anywhere between 12 and 24 hours – doesn’t matter much.
  3. Use 167 grams of water to 25 grams of coffee. This produces (120.4+170) 290.4 grams (which I’m assuming is 290.4 cubic centimeters) of finished coffee, which is 1 big mug of coffee. Obviously, this can be scaled up.

As for grinders – for an espresso machine, uniformity of grind is crucial, because the extraction time and pressure can vary, causing straight-up bad results. For a french press, uneven grind means that grit finds its way through the filter. For a drip or pour-over, there’s almost no grit ever, so the grind might affect the flavor, and how much depends on how critically you taste.

So I’ll add my own conclusion:
4) For a cold-extraction, the brew time is so long, uniformity of grind probably doesn’t matter a bit. Smashing the beans with a hammer is probably adequate.

Obviously, the #1 concern of Cory is producing a decent cup with absolute minimum investment of time and suitcase space.

Suggested test:

  1. Weigh a hotel-provided coffee brewing “beans in a paper sachet”. (You’ll only have to do this once.)
  2. Multiply by 20/3, and add that many grams/cc of water, and the bag, to a pitcher. Question: Does this fit in the coffee-brewing carafe? I suspect it might!
  3. Wait 12+ hours
  4. Squeeze out the sachet into the pitcher.
  5. Add enough water to double the contents of the carafe.
  6. Drink.

This would produce cold-brewed coffee that requires ZERO packing.


I have to agree with mak. The Krups chopper I bought almost 30 years ago is still going strong, and I was taught early on to process the beans in pulses while shaking the grinder. I do not have a problem with burning the grounds and every morning I make the most exquisite cappucino with my Aeropress.

Distilled water is not ideal, a certain amount of hardness is required to properly extract coffee.

Great idea about using a nut milk bag – just ordered one!

And by the way folks, do you really think Cory drinks all that coffee at once? Or that the pitcher is not packed full of clothes/whatever, taking up little space in a suitcase? LOL

I can’t help thinking, “You use a nut sack to make coffee.” I am apparently 36 going on 11 years old.


Just get a french press. You can get a small one (around 1 pint) worth about $20.00 to $30.00 dollars. Fill up enough water to about half an inch of the brim and soak beans overnight. Bam, one instrument, great taste.

This isn’t much more that it costs for a Filtron system on sale, and the Ronco clones are even cheaper. I think the brewers that use felt filters (Filtron, Toddy, Ronco) produce a better-tasting concentrate than the various DIY copies.

someone on the nut-bag’s amazon page asserts that the bag is made of nylon. I wonder if you could swing down to the supermarket, cop a pair of L’eggs, hand wash them once, and get good results brewing with them?

Yes it does.

I would not recommend the resultant coffee, except to say that it is much better than using a hotel coffee pot in the usual way.

In fact, there is a 1-cup version. Takes up almost no room or weight while traveling, and if there’s no time to clean it in the morning you can just throw it in a Ziploc bag.

You’re in San Diego, not Antarctica. Why do you have to carry your coffee apparatus around with you like a colostomy bag? That’s even more idiotic than the old ladies who carry their favorite non-dairy coffee creamer in their purses wherever they go… “just in case”.