How to Make Organic, Cold Brew Coffee at Home

By Analiese Paik

cold brewCold brew coffee’s popularity is rising right along with the mercury. Coffee aficionados have long considered cold brew to be the gold standard in summer coffee drinks; now the rest of us are catching up. Hot brewed coffee that’s been chilled and watered down with ice may deliver some refreshment and a dose of caffeine, but the flavor pales in comparison to cold brew.

Cold brew is simple to prepare and yields a result so delicious you can skip the milk and sugar. Vegans, sugar-free dieters, and anyone who claims to dislike coffee, this one’s for you too.

Shearwater roasteryI visited with Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters’ founder Ed Freedman at his roastery in Trumbull to get a lesson in cold brewing and understand why it’s become such a popular beverage this summer.

Cold brewing “doesn’t change the chemistry of the coffee and affects both taste and acid level” says Freedman. “Cold brew is 70% less acidic than brewed coffee, so our Running Rapids is creamy smooth with great flavor and chocolate notes that pop.”

cold brew bottleAfter tasting Shearwater’s Running Rapids Cold Brew over ice, I chose to drink it black. There were no bitter notes nor the high acidity typically found in brewed coffee, just refreshing, round, coffee flavor. With no milk and sugar added, this cold brew is calorie-free decadence.

Shearwater coffee basketFreedman recommends drinking cold-brewed coffee within ten days of making it, which makes me wonder about the freshness of bottled concentrate sold in stores. It’s so easy (and cheaper) to make your own, and you’ll gain freshness and flavor in the process.

Freedman tested many blends of Shearwater’s single origin, organic coffees using different extraction times before creating Running Rapids, a custom blend of USDA organic beans from three continents that makes a delicious, 17-hour cold brew (see below for retailers). Visit Shearwater’s roastery in Trumbull to buy freshly made Running Rapids Cold Brew in 32 ounce, reusable Grolsch flip-top bottles for $12 ($3 bottle deposit).

coffee pot and mugMake Your Own Running Rapids Cold Brew Concentrate

Ingredients and Tools:

  • 2 cups medium coarse grind Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters Running Rapids coffee
  • 1.25 quarts filtered or spring water
  • a cold brew maker, French press, or large mason jar
  • a sieve, strainer or nut milk bag


  1. Grind the coffee to a medium coarse grind to yield 2 cups.
  2. If using a cold brew maker, follow instructions in the user manual for adding water and coffee. If using a French press, add coffee then fill with water and stir gently to combine, then fit with lid with the plunger in the up position. If using a large mason jar, fill with water, then add coffee directly to water and stir. If using a nut milk bag (this saves you straining later on), fill it with coffee, cinch it closed and add it to the jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight for 17 hours.
  3. Remove the filter from the cold brew maker, cap the bottle, and serve over ice or dilute to taste. If using a French press, gently depress the plunger and serve over ice or dilute to taste. If using a mason jar, strain the coffee grounds using a fine mesh strainer, or if using a nut milk bag, squeeze it gently to remove any coffee, then serve over ice or dilute to taste. Drink within 10 days and keep refrigerated.

Green Tip: Please compost your coffee grounds. If you don’t have a dedicated compost pile, please use them to fertilize the garden soil or sprinkle them on the ground where they will quickly be absorbed. They are Ph neutral, nitrogen rich, and help the soil retain water.

Serving Ideas

Cold Brew Float – for an afternoon treat, fill a high ball glass halfway with cold brew and top with a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

Cold Brew Soda – fill a glass halfway with cold brew then add carbonated water (seltzer), either purchased or made in your SodaStream, until desired flavor and carbonation are achieved. Add some chocolate syrup (organic of course) and milk to make a riff on a New York egg cream.

Cold Brew with Cold Brew Cubes – fill an ice cube tray with freshly made cold brew and freeze. Fill a tall glass halfway with cold brew ice cubes, then fill with cold brew. Your coffee with stay icy cold with no flavor dilution.

You can purchase Shearwater Coffee Roasters’ Running Rapids coffee to make cold brew at home at the stores listed below, in their online store, and in their roastery at 100 Corporate Drive, Unit B106 (rear building), Trumbull, CT 06611 from 10 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday and from 11 am to 5 pm Saturday. Restaurants and coffee shops serving Shearwater Coffee are listed below, with notations for those serving their Running Rapids cold brew.

Shearwater Organic Coffee is sold in specialty markets and grocers including:

  • Walter Stewart’s Market in New Canaan (serves Running Rapids cold brew)
  • The Pantry in Fairfield (serves Running Rapids cold brew)
  • Whole Foods in Fairfield, Westport, Danbury, and White Plains
  • Big Y in Stratford, Monroe, Bethel, Newtown, New Preston and Naugatuck
  • Caraluzzi’s in Bethel, Georgetown and Newtown
  • The Village Market in Wilton
  • Common Bond Market in Stratford
  • Ridgefield Organics
  • The Fresh Market in Westport and Avon
  • Edge of the Woods Market in New Haven
  • Whitneyville Food Center in Hamden

Shearwater Organic Coffee is served at the following restaurants and coffee shops:

  • Artisan at the Delamar Hotel in Southport
  • L’Escale at the Delamar Hotel in Greenwich
  • Parallel Post at the Marriott Hotel in Trumbull
  • The Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton
  • Tusk and Cup in Ridgefield (also sells 12 oz. bags)
  • Robeks Juice bars in Stamford
  • Billy’s Bakery in Fairfield
  • Martel in Fairfield
  • Maione’s in Fairfield (Running Rapids cold brew served)
  • Osianna in Fairfield
  • Elm in New Canaan
  • Aribella in Shelton
  • The Spread in S. Norwalk
  • Mezon in Danbury
  • Stanziato’s in Danbury
  • Olio in Stamford
  • Palmwich in Darien
  • BlueBird Inn in Easton
  • Bar Taco in Westport, West Hartford, Stamford, Port Chester, plus other US locations in Tampa, Reston, and Atlanta
  • Seasonal Sweets and Catering in Derby
  • Elm City Social, opening soon in New Canaan
  • Back 40 Kitchen in Greenwich
  • Down to Earth coffee shop in Glastonbury (Running Rapids cold brew served, 12 oz. bags sold)
  • Sweet Frog in Guilford (Running Rapids cold brew served, 12 oz. bags sold)
  • The Buzz Truck (Running Rapids cold brew served) Follow @thebuzztruckct for daily locations
  • Focaccia’s Café and Catery in Shelton

Shearwater Organic Coffee can also be purchased at the Black Rock Farmers’ Market and Branford Farmers’ Market. Shearwater’s coffee will be served at select Max Chef to Farm events, the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival in October, and the Americares Airlift Benefit in October.

2 thoughts on “How to Make Organic, Cold Brew Coffee at Home”

  1. After a couple of years of attempting/making cold brew, success was finally achieved upon using the Filtron cold brew system, which can be purchased at Amazon, etc. and is recommended by Stumptown. The Toddy device is nearly identical and a suitable alternative, which is what Starbucks uses. Soaking in a mason jar then straining, even with ideal coffee, doesn’t cut it, in my experiece. In joy!

Leave a Comment

Fairfield Green Food Guide
Like the content you see here? Join our weekly mailing list...
* We hate spam and never share your details.