How to Filter Cold Brew Coffee: 5 Best Ways to Strain the Concentrate

This method of coffee making is effortless and results in a smooth-tasting cup with lower perceived acidity.

Still, one of the trickiest parts of the whole brewing process is knowing how to filter cold brew coffee in a way that’s best to keep the sediment out of your brew.

Keeping your cold brew concentrate free of fines is even more challenging if you use regular ground coffee from the supermarket.

Related Post: Best Pre-ground and Whole bean Coffee for Cold Brew

What’s worth noting is that you don’t need coffee filter papers for cold brew.

Quite the contrary – other types of filters work way better. I’ll go over them so that you know what to use instead.

Other than that, you only need a mason jar and medium-coarse grounds to brew delicious concentrate that you can later dilute to your liking.

Related post: Cold Brew Coffee Drinks: Best Ways to Dilute Your Concentrate

You can check out my cold brew guide to see detailed instructions on coffee-to-water ratio and steeping time.

With that being said, let’s see what filters you can use for cold brew.

How to filter cold brew coffee

To filter cold brew coffee you can use:

  • Cheesecloth.
  • Fine mesh cold brew coffee filters.
  • Fine mesh strainer.
  • French Press.
  • Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker.

It’s worth noting that if there are fines left in the container you keep the concentrate in, the small coffee particles will continue to extract. Overextracted coffee tastes bitter and harsh, so we’d want to avoid that. Especially considering the fact that you can keep cold brew concentrate in the fridge for as long as 10 days.

Now I’ll go over the aforementioned ways to filter cold brew coffee in detail. This way you will find out how to best filter cold brew depending on your personal preferences.

1. Cheesecloth

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One of the best ways to filter cold brew coffee is by using cheesecloth. It is reusable, eco-friendly and it keeps the sediment out of your brew.

Just make sure you double up the unbleached cotton fabric to keep the tiny coffee particles out of your cup.

I recommend using cheesecloth instead of regular cotton cloth, as it’s less likely to add unpleasant flavors to your coffee.

Furthermore, since it’s light and thin, it dries out quite fast.

It can be reused multiple times within a short period.

Author’s Note: Some coffee enthusiasts keep their cheesecloth soaked in water in a sealed jar in the fridge to avoid the accumulation of unpleasant odors.

Anyway, if you make cold brew in a mason jar often, you should definitely get a piece of cheesecloth to filter your concentrate.

Unlike regular coffee filters, the cotton fabric allows for a decent flow rate.

Paper filters are thicker and aren’t produced with the intention to be used for bigger batches of coffee.

That’s why it may take quite a while for you to filter 34 fl. oz. of cold brew concentrate with them.

Therefore, using cheesecloth instead of regular coffee filters is much better for filtering cold brew at home.

Cleaning this type of cold brew filter is also quite easy. After you strain your coffee, you should simply dispose of the coffee grounds, rinse the fabric, squeeze it out and hang it up somewhere to dry out.

When people ask me what is the most environmentally-friendly way of making coffee I always say that making cold brew in a jar and filtering it with cheesecloth is the most sustainable option.

Even if you’re not a fan of iced coffee beverages, don’t hesitate to try out this combo.

After all, cold brew coffee can be served hot as well.

Therefore, if you feel like having a cozy caffeinated beverage, you can definitely make a warm drink with your cold brew concentrate.

2. Fine Mesh Cold Brew Coffee Filters

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Using a fine mesh filter bag is one of the most convenient and effective options when it comes to filtering cold brew coffee without making a mess. You just need to add the coffee grounds to the bag, tie up the strings tightly, place the bag in a mason jar and add water.

If you’re making more than 34 fl. oz. of coffee at a time you may want to use two bags instead of one and split the coffee dose in half. This way you’ll be making sure that all of the coffee grounds are nicely soaked in water.

The cleanup of these filter bags by HOMYHEE is quite easy, but most people would only use each bag once.

Apart from all else, these cold brew filter pouches are quite affordable.

Furthermore, they can easily be used for cold brew tea as well, so if you’re a fan of refreshing summer beverages, you should definitely look into this convenient and effective filtering option.

3. Fine mesh steel strainer

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If you wonder how you can filter cold brew, you can simply use a fine-mesh steel strainer to strain the coffee concentrate.

While many cold brew fans use this tool for filtering, it’s worth noting that it isn’t the best in terms of removing all the coffee silt from the brew.

Still, using a metal strainer is the go-to filter option for those who aren’t that rigorous about their coffee being completely free of sediment.

The metal strainer is quite convenient to use and the cleanup process is rather effortless.

Furthermore, it can be reused virtually unlimited number of times.

All in all, the only downside to using fine mesh strainer for filtering cold brew is if you use a finer grind.

If that’s the case you will find some fine coffee particles on the bottom of your cold brew carafe after filtering.

It’s also worth noting that some coffee grinders don’t provide consistent results on coarser settings.

This means that there would be more fine coffee particles that will pass through the metal filter and end up in your cup.

To avoid that, you can either have your beans ground with a high-quality grinder in a coffee shop, or get an adequate grinder for coarsely ground coffee. This way you will limit the number of coffee fines.

You can check out my guide on the best grinders for pour-over to find great product recommendations that match the coarser-settings requirement and won’t break the bank.

It’s essential to point out that grinding your beans at home is always better. Freshly ground beans result in a better-tasting cold brew with a more rich and complex flavor profile.

For more information on how long coffee beans last, and how coffee oxidation affects flavor, you can check out this post.

4. French Press Coffee Maker

Click here to check out the price of this 34 fl. oz. French Press by Coffee Gator.

Making cold brew in a French press is quite convenient, as you can easily use the plunger to filter out the coffee grounds after they’re done steeping.

You can check out my French Press Cold Brew guide where you can find detailed instructions and photos of how a cafetiere can be used for making delicious cold brew concentrate.

The thing is that, as with the metal strainer, some of the coffee sediment will pass through the filter disc.

I wouldn’t say that this is a deal-breaker, but those who want to stay away from any coffee silt whatsoever should bet on the cheesecloth filter or the fine mesh filter bags.
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Apart from being quite convenient for making cold brew coffee, French press coffee makers are also great for cold brew tea.

So if you’re having a hard time figuring out how to filter your homemade beverages, you should definitely consider getting a French Press coffee maker.

5. Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.

The Toddy Cold Brew System is the ideal coffee maker for cold brew coffee lovers.

It comes with a brewing container which is used for steeping the coffee grounds.

It also has a glass decanter that can be utilized for storing the cold brew concentrate.

The Toddy Cold Brewer comes with reusable round filters that are to be placed on the bottom of the brewing container. They are perfect for filtering cold brew, as they don’t let any coffee sediment into the glass decanter. This results in a clean brew that’s free of coffee silt.

The thing is that the Toddy filters may get clogged up if you use regular ground coffee for your homemade cold brew.

So stick to medium-coarse grind if you are to use this effective coffee maker.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that will make it even easier for you to prepare refreshing cold brew coffee at home, you should definitely look into the Toddy Brewer.

In the video below, you can see how it can easily be used:

Final Words

As you see there are different ways to filter cold brew at home.

In conclusion, I’d say that using a mason jar in combination with a piece of cheesecloth or the aforementioned fine mesh filter bags are the best filtering options.

With that being said, if you want to invest in a convenient to use coffee maker that comes with filters of its own, you can go for the Toddy Cold Brew System, or for a French press.

There are actually other cold brew coffee-making devices, such as the OXO Coffee Maker, or the Ovalware glass carafe that comes with a stainless steel filter.

Furthermore, you can even use your AeroPress for making delicious cold brew coffee in only 2 minutes.

Anyway, the vast world of coffee has a lot to offer even when it comes to cold brew.

I hope that you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below!

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