Cold Brew Espresso: No Fancy Equipment Needed

Does your espresso ever come out bitter and burnt? May I suggest a different way to make your Italian Joe: cold brew espresso. Cold brew espresso does not need any special equipment. More time consuming, yes, but with a little planning it takes no effort and is worth the wait!

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I’ve hit it, guys. I found the gold nugget everyone passed by, sort of.

Everyone’s fawning over cold brew and nitro brewed coffee, I went a slightly different route. And, by the way, the nitro brew was a lot of hype over an okay product. It was good, but not for me.

I digress.

I’m talking about cold brew espresso.

Oh yes. I have brought this monster to life.

Actually, I haven’t. But for a time, I thought I did. And when I thought of it, I thought it was the most brilliant idea ever. Because here is the thing.

Cold Brew Espresso: No Fancy Equipment Needed | Food Drinks Life

Espresso has this reputation of being a bitter, rough drink.

Most people can’t stomach it unless it’s smothered to death with cream, sugar, and flavorings. Even the Americano can taste like burnt water. But this is when espresso isn’t made properly.

I believe that too often, we make or are served espresso made with scalding waters.

Coffee, much like tea, is not a fan of boiling water. As I discussed in my post on making coffee without a coffee maker, coffee grounds taste best with water temperatures around 180-200°F. When espresso is made in a Moka pot and not attended to, boiling water can ruin a perfectly good cup of Italian Joe.

Not to say I don’t love my Moka (or espresso) pot, however. Just don’t turn up the burner to high and expect a smooth espresso!

On a side note, would you guys like a post on how to use a moka or espresso pot? Let me know in the comments down below!

But for those with some more time or better planning skills, I propose the method of cold brew espresso.

Much like cold brew coffee, cold brew espresso is delightfully complex in flavor, with bright fruity flavors and chocolate notes. I’m not throwing a bunch of bougie tasting terms at you. You really can taste a difference.

Cold Brew Espresso: No Fancy Equipment Needed | Food Drinks Life

To make your life easier, you’ll need a few items.

One is paper filters. You can use what you have on hand, but I suggest #4 filters or basket filters. If you don’t already have one, over the cup percolators like my beloved porcelain Melitta are also very handy. If you don’t, feel free to rubber band the filter to a cup like I did in my coffee without a coffee maker post!

And for added flavor, buy whole beans and grind them yourself. Of course, this is also extra. Though a coffee grinder works fine, I prefer to give my arm a little workout and use my burr mill for a more consistent grind. (I do have my eye on an electric burr mill though. 😉 )We’re looking for a grind that is not as fine as pre-ground espresso, but not as coarse as a drip brew. Like a fine drip brew. Just take a look at the pic.

Like I said, all extra. But good for flavor extra.

I tried a bunch of different ratios and times and I found that a 1:4 ratio (1 oz. espresso to 4 oz. water) for 18 hours was the best cup. I didn’t say this was a quick process! It’s more hands-off than anything, like making food in a slow cooker. Just get it started and then let time do its thing. 🙂

And now my beloved Americano, one of my favorite drinks to order/make, becomes more delicious than ever!

What kind of espresso drinks do you want me to make with my cold brew espresso? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers dears!


Cold Brew Espresso

Cold Brew Espresso: No Fancy Equipment Needed | Food Drinks Life

Does your espresso ever come out bitter and burnt? May I suggest a different way to make your Italian Joe: cold brew espresso. Cold brew espresso does not need any special equipment. More time consuming, yes, but with a little planning it takes no effort and is worth the wait!

Yields: About 2.5 oz.

  • 1 oz. ground espresso
  • 4 oz. cool water

Place both ingredients in a glass jar. Stir or shake to combine.

Place jar in the refrigerator for 18 hours. Tip: set an alarm or calendar reminder on your phone so you don't forget

When ready, pour mixture through a coffee filter to strain. Your espresso is ready to drink straight, be made into a espresso drink, or refrigerated for later use. Yield is about 2.5 oz., or about a shot and a half of espresso.

  • Preparation time: 18 hours
  • Total time: 18 hours

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  1. Have you ever tried cold brewing espresso in a french press? I was thinking of using this recipe and plunging with a piece of coffee filter combined with the normal metal mesh filter on my french press. Thoughts? Suggestions?

    1. I would! I have seen people make cold brew coffee in a french press, so I don’t see why espresso would be any different. My only concern would be to grind the coffee a bit coarser so it doesn’t just fall through the wholes of your french press. Good question!

  2. Forgive me for sounding silly , but I am not that educated in coffee beans . So I actually need to buy expresso beans rather then using my regular coffee beans ?

    1. Hi Shirley!
      Good question! To be honest, you could make espresso with any roast coffee that you like. There is no difference between an “espresso bean” or a coffee bean. It’s all about the method in which the coffee is made. Espresso, when bought in the store, refers to the grind and/or roast. Espresso roast is usually darker, so if you have a dark roast at home, definitely give it a try!
      Espresso grind, when bought in the store, is usually very fine. Too fine for conventional drip brewers and are made more for the espresso machines you would see in a coffee shop. I tried making the cold brew espresso with this level of fineness and found it to be a bit bitter for my taste.
      Hope that helps, and happy brewing!

    1. I haven’t made this in larger quantities but it looks like I should give it a try! I don’t see how there would be a problem with scaling up, I would just be careful not to overflow your filter!

  3. hello! i’m just wondering if this works well in hot espresso drinks as well as cold? sometimes experience curdling problems with hot faux espresso in iced lattes with coconut, almond and other nut milks (but not soy), the temperature difference of the 2 fluids can affect it i think. thanks for any input!

    1. Good question! I think that the cold brew espresso would be best enjoyed cold, just because I would be afraid to try and heat it for the sake of the flavor. If you you, however, had the milk heated before you added the espresso I believe the espresso would have no problem coming up to temp.

  4. Hi Gem, thanks for this informative post! How precise is the 18-hour brew time? Would it be fine if I left it for 24 hours?

    Also, since I’m using a coarse grind (for the French press), do I need to adjust either the brew time or the bean/water ratio?


    1. Hi Alex, thanks for the comment! The 18 hour brew time is pretty precise, I wouldn’t leave it for too long after that because I did run a test for 24 hours and I thought the espresso came out bitter.
      As for your second question, I do believe you have me a bit stumped! My thought would be that you would be able to keep the same bean to water ratio, but it might need more time. Again, I’m sorry I don’t have a direct answer for you on that one but I would start with the 18 hours, give it a taste, and if it needs more time, let it go! I hope that helps!

  5. I thought about this concept when I woke up this morning (oddly enough, my brain seems to be it’s most hyperactive, the first few hours after I roll out of bed), and when I goggled “cold brew espresso”, your blog was the first thing I found.

    I was kind of hoping i thought up a new idea, haha. But, on the other hand, I’m sort of relieved to see that someone else has done it successfully. I can’t wait to try this!!

    Also, I completely agree with what you said about espresso not being made properly.

    For years, i thought the burnt tasting garbage at Starbucks is what espresso was supposed to taste like.

    When my wife started working in a cafe that serves Intelligentsia coffee, I tried their Black Cat Espresso and my mind was F***ing blown!! I enjoyed every little sip of a straight hot espresso, with nothing added to it. Then tried an iced Americano with a double shot…. it was so smooth, it was hard not to chug it.

    The more i learn about coffee, the more I realize it’s a lot like beer. When people say the don’t like the taste of it, many of them have just never had the good stuff.

    Anyway, pardon my coffee snob-ish rambling…. I am going to use your guidelines to make a double shot of this stuff when I get home from work today. Can’t wait to try it tomorrow.

    Thanks for the informative post.

    1. I hope it was good! Espresso is one of those things that definitely feels misunderstood. Over the years, I’ve been able to work better with my moka pot, and better coffee makes the difference too. Since I started this blog and probably before this post even came out, a coffee shop opened up near me that has amazing organic, fair trade coffee. Using fresh roasted coffee has upped all my coffee game 110%, so I totally get where you’re coming from.
      Feel free to rant about coffee snobbery anytime, I’m all ears!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I have not made it in a larger batch, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Just be careful when sizing up, you may need a larger filter!

  6. Hi,
    I love your blog.
    What is a good ration for almond milk and espresso cold brew?

    1. Thank you! Honestly, I would use the espresso like any other espresso. If you’re using almond milk, try a latte!

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