Make your own cold brew coffee sustainably at home

The effects of caffeine on health and mood are a bit of a mixed bag (this article from Very Well Mind sums them up quite well). However, there is something to be said for the joy that a ritual can impart, as well as the joy gained from small experiences we truly enjoy. Morning coffee would certainly fall into the category of enjoyable experiences for many of us, myself included.

A few years ago I embarked upon a journey to reduce my personal negative impact on our Earth. This is still a journey that I am very much on, and I have a lot left to learn. One way that I have made this process seem less daunting is to make small changes one at a time, focusing on processes that are frequent and can be wasteful. One such process was my purchasing of coffee on a regular basis, either at a coffee shop or by buying prepared cold brew coffee at the store.

Purchasing brewed cold brew at the store is convenient, but typically not an environmentally friendly choice. As mentioned above, this type of cold brew often comes in a plastic bottle, and it is well-known that single-use plastics have a “devastating impact on our oceans, our wildlife, and our health” (nrdc.org). You can typically also buy cold brew concentrate in a Tetra Pak or glass bottle, which are often recyclable, but still single use and still energetically taxing to our supply chain and waste management systems.

The sustainable method I now utilize to brew my own cold brew at home requires no packaging for the brewing process, and if you buy your coffee beans at a bulk or zero waste store, removes the need for packaging from the process completely. Here’s how it works:

  1. I purchased this Mason Jar Coffee Maker Kit for less than $25 back in 2017. It has been used heavily for the last four years and is still in great condition. I can’t recommend it enough!
  2. Ground coffee is added to the filter. I use a mix of caffeinated and decaffeinated beans, since my caffeine tolerance isn’t very high. A nice benefit of brewing your own cold brew at home is your ability to customize the mix of caffeine, roasts and flavors used.
  3. Add filtered water to fill up the jar. I pour some water through the filter itself to ensure the grounds are saturated, then I slightly lift the filter to pour water into the jar itself, replacing the filter once water nears the top 1/4 of the jar so that I don’t accidentally overflow the entire mixture onto the counter (a lesson learned through experience). Top off the jar by pouring water through the filter, then replace the lid.
  4. I let my cold brew sit out on the counter for at least 24 hours, sometimes more. I find that I like the strength my cold brew reaches after about 48 hours, but if you can’t wait that long, you’ll have a slightly weaker brew after about 24 – 36 hours. Still delicious and still very drinkable.
  5. Once the desired strength has been reached, I remove the filter and discard the used grounds (or try composting them), replace the lid on the mason jar, and store it in the refrigerator.

That’s it! This process is simple and produces delicious coffee. Depending on how much coffee I’m drinking, the mason jar of cold brew lasts me 5 – 7 days. I love my peaceful morning ritual of a glass of cold brew coffee that I’ve brewed myself, a book or writing in this blog, and enjoying the quiet of a house still asleep before the day begins.

Today I’m sending you peace and inspiration for your morning routine. I hope your day begins beautifully.

*This post contains affiliate links.

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