How to Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate for Espresso Martinis

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As you probably know, the main reason why I have this website is to share what I’ve learned in the bar world with you, the people who actually read this junk 😉 But one other small reason why I record my findings here is that is serves as a record for when I need to look it up and can’t find one of the many coasters, notebooks, or scraps of paper I’ve written recipes or techniques down on.

This post serves that purpose.

I’m tired of never remembering how I make my cold brew coffee concentrate for our Espresso Martini, so I’m posting the proportions here for myself to find. And while I’m doing that, I might as well turn it into a post and share it with the world.

Before I begin, let me just say that I am not a barista. I am not a coffee nerd, I don’t know the first thing about coffee. But I drink it every day, I love it, I spend much of my time in coffee shops or making coffee at home in one of my many contraptions. But I definitely do not know what I’m talking about and if you’re looking for serious coffee knowledge you’re best looking elsewhere. I. Am. Not. An. Expert.

That said, I do know that this process we use at the bar works very well. And we feel very strongly about using cold brew concentrate instead of espresso for our Espresso Martinis because… we don’t have an espresso machine. Here’s how we make it.

1. Get yourself a pound/half kilogram of coffee.

Real coffee nerds will tell you to use the freshest stuff available. I will tell you that I use stuff that isn’t fresh enough to make hot coffee with anymore. We’ll both tell you to use a coarse grind. If you don’t have a grinder at home, see if your local coffee shop will grind it for you. Tip them generously for doing this for you.

2. Throw it in a tub.

Make sure you’ve got enough room. Something three quarts/liters or larger should do. You just don’t want to have this brown sludge spilling out over the sides when you’re trying to stir it.

3. Add half the water.

Add a quart/liter of cold water, and stir it around until all the grounds are wet. Let it sit for a half an hour. This is really just to get the grounds wet and a little more manageable than trying to stir up a half gallon of water and a pound of coffee.

4. After half an hour, add the rest of the water.

Add another quart of cold water and give that a stir. Now pop a lid on it and let it sit for 24 hours.

5. Let sit for 24 hours, then strain.

I pop a mesh strainer over another tub and strain all those grounds out. I also let it sit for a while to make sure I’ve gotten every last drop out of the grounds.

6. Run the strained mixture through a coffee filter.

You could stop at step five, but the resulting concentrate is super oily and cloudy. I like to strain the concentrate through a coffee filter to clarify it. It takes a while so I just let it sit for a couple of hours to do its thing.

And here’s what the difference is between unfiltered concentrate (left) and filtered concentrate (right)

So those proportions are:

  • 1 pound (.5 kg) course ground coffee
  • 2 quarts/liters cold water

Which will make 1 quart (roughly 1 liter) of cold brew concentrate.

Now, if you want to have some delicious cold brew to sip on, simply cut this mixture with an equal part cold water and serve. But an even better application would be to use it in an Espresso Martini.

Espresso Martini Print Me

  • 1 oz cold brew concentrate
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml vodka
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml Kahlua
  1. Combine all ingredients with ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Optional: finish with lemon oil from a fresh peel, discarding the peel.
  4. Optional garnish with three coffee beans.

Recipe printed courtesy of

66 Replies to “How to Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate for Espresso Martinis”

  • Mitch says:

    Thanks for posting this! I feel like I’m missing something really obvious here but if there’s 1 pound of coffee into 2 quarts of of water why is the yield only 1 quart?

  • Jeff says:

    What did you mean by “cut this mixture with an equal part cold water”?

  • Monica Hsu says:

    Hi there! I’ve been looking for so long for a recipe like this. I’m going to be making a big batch of espresso martinis and don’t want to be hard on my espresso machine. This could be a solution. Are you able to still get good foam with this concentrate?

  • K says:

    Just made some! How much of the concentrate would equal a cup of coffee, caffeine-wise, do you think? Thank you.

  • Scott B. says:

    I see simple syrup mentioned in the comments but I don’t see it in the recipe, did I miss something?

  • Bigmouse says:

    Found your site through your sweet corn coffee cocktail, which was delicious, but I only made once or twice. This, however, ive made at least once a month for a year, just to have cold brew in the house. Me and my roommates super appreciate you! Letting the grounds soak a sec first is a gamechanger.

  • Mert says:

    Hey Jeffrey! I have a question about the kahlua part. How would you adjust the recipe with a less sweet coffee liqeur like Mr. Black? I’m sure adjusting the simple syrup should be enough but I don’t have kahlua at home so I cannot compare both and adjust recipes.

    • I’m not really sure, I’ve never tasted them side-by-side in Espresso Martinis like that, but I might suggest you start by doubling the brown sugar syrup, and see how you want to take it from there.

  • Cle says:

    Late to the party! For the first strain should I be squishing as much liquid from the grounds as I can or just leave it to strain on it’s own?
    Western Australia 😊

  • Laura says:

    Does it really keeps 1 week in fridge? It seems too much. If so, great news

  • Julie Veitia says:

    Thanks. How much expresso concentrate does your recipe provide?

  • Marie says:

    Made the concentrate and the martini… both great! Thanks for being generous with your recipes.

    This changed my mind about cold brew coffee. As it turns out, the ones I’ve tried just weren’t good ones – some had an unpleasant raw taste, others just bitter. I used my favorite beans and followed your recipe, and it’s magic!

  • Louise says:

    Hi there, thanks for the info! Really helpful. Have just made a batch – unfortunately I couldn’t access a coffee grinder for the course consistency, so I had to go with pre-ground coffee. (Although it’s really nice ground coffee and is made for filtering etc). Just isn’t as course as it should be. As a result, I let it sit for about 14 hours instead of 24 -as assuming the finer the grain, the more it soaks into the water etc. Do you think that’s okay?

  • Mel Hack says:

    Hi Jeffery,
    How long does the mix last for?

  • Ethan says:

    Having gone through questions, would I be right in assuming that this only makes 1 litre of extract?
    And in order to make 2 litres I simply just double it.

  • Dylan Evans says:

    Late reply, but this is even easier with a 10 nanometer filter bag, procurable at your local chemist (or amazon). You put the grounds in the bag, and submerge the bag in the bucket, and put the whole thing in the fridge. I let it sit for 4 days; it’s even stronger.

  • German says:

    Hola Jeffrey
    Están bien las proporciones???
    O,5 kg de café
    0,5 litros de Agua (2 x 0,25)
    Gracias por la ayuda

  • Franco says:

    I followed these instructions exactly (divided in half though—home drink maker, so I practice on myself), and it turned out just perfect. Big fan. Drink what you want!

  • Axel says:

    Hi, do you think that it is possible to use the same coffee for a second batch or do you recommend using new coffee?

  • terence smith says:

    Thank you for this recipe. Made two liters. One to use immediately and one to freeze in the form of large cubes for future cocktails. Do you see any problems with pre mixing the ingredients when preparing for a party? Would certainly make serving a lot easier. Thanks again.

  • Will says:

    Hi, are you fining you’re having an issue with the foam on top of the Martini not holding? I’ve ran a few tests and the foam has completely dissipated after about 10 minutes of the drink sitting still (this doesn’t happen when the drink is made with fresh espresso) I’m assuming this is from the cold extraction not yielding the same oils and acids that a hot brewed espresso shot would.

  • Ashley Judd says:

    I’ve been meaning to make my first batch of homemade cold brew for the past two weeks and have been putting it off. Thank you for the lovely, detailed post! I will definitely reference when I get around to making it 🙂

  • Pia says:

    Hi there, thank you for the recipes. Quick question how many espresso martini’s could I make from this quantity? I need to make a 100 for a charity gig – so I believe need 3 litres of concentrate… any advice appreciated!

  • Seongbin Kim says:

    I don’t like vodka to use in cocktail because it doesn’t have any flavor
    so, can I change the vodka into whether bourbon or dark rum? Do you thing that would be good? thanks!!
    (sorry I’m not used to english)

  • Soren B. says:

    Wow, this is great stuff. By far the best Espresso Martini I’ve ever had. Perfect balance.

  • Mick says:

    Quick question. Am I leaving out on the counter for 24 hours or in the refrigerator?


  • Eric says:

    I finally got around to trying this. You made it look easy. I somehow managed to use every strainer, funnel, ladle and bowl in the house. But wow! It’s really good! Thanks for sharing.

  • Marko says:

    Does it work the same if you want to add suggar to it to make like a super concentrated cold brew syrup or does it change its properties somehow?

  • Lisa says:

    I swear my husband and I were just talking about this as the staff keeps drinking all the espresso pods and we always run out. You’re the best! Perfect timing…

  • George D Davis says:

    Yeah I am sneaking this into work on my mornings. Shhhh… its all filtered baby… 😉

  • David Kanter says:

    Great article, thanks a ton!

    I’ve seen a variant that is Patron Cafe, Frangelico, and cold brew concentrate with a hot pepper garnish. You might experiment and see how you like it.

    Are there any particular kind of beans you would recommend?

  • Kevin N. says:

    Thanks for the info Jeff! Slingshot Coffee Co. from Raleigh, NC makes a damn fine cold brew concentrate for those who can’t bother making their own or don’t want to go through the trouble. Can order it on their website too!

  • Igor says:

    Purely looking at taste and discounting resources/cost, would you do this or go for a rapid-infusion of vodka with coffee beans to use in lieu of the vodka here, maybe with a dash of Frangelico for the nutjobs?

    • I wouldn’t, I would do it exactly the way I’ve outlined it here. And this is why: infusing the vodka isn’t going to make the drink any better, and coffee-infused vodka really has one use. By keeping everything as it is, you have many more options.

      • Igor says:

        Using cold brew results in by far the best espresso martini I’ve made/had, and it’s a popular enough drink around the house to warrant trying to get fancy with the infusion- sounds like it’d just be a waste of an N2O cartridge, so we’ll just stick to the normal approach. I’ll admit to being a lazy ass and buying bottled cold brew for this from time to time if I fail to plan ahead and make my own batch – not bad if you can score good cold brew from a store near you!


        Enjoying the World’s Best Amaretto Sour in the Wisconsin Cold

  • Johnny Wishbone says:

    Hey Jeffrey, don’t you find that people that order an espresso martini want something a little flashier? Do you ever top with a float of cream or shake with a little cream and do a rim of some sort? Thanks for the recipe!

    • In the five years we’ve been serving this, we haven’t had a single complaint that the drink isn’t flash enough. We serve it in the spirit of Dick Bradsell’s original creation, without cream or some sort of rim. But if you want to do a bunch of stuff to it, by all means, go ahead!

  • Eric says:

    As a former coffee nerd who made espresso martinis in a quality coffee shop I completely agree with the choice to use cold brew. 1. It’s easier. 2. It doesn’t require an espresso machine. 3. It works in favor of the drink because you’re not starting with a blazing hot ingredient. I also highly recommend the St George NOLA as a quality substitute for the coffee liquor.

  • Brett says:

    Do you use decaf for any particular reason, or is it just what you had on hand for this post?

  • Daniel says:

    How long does this stuff keep? Can you freeze it and use what you need when you need it?

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