What To Add To Cold Brew Coffee: The Ultimate Guide

Discover the ultimate guide on what to add to cold brew coffee. Unleash your inner barista and explore delicious cold brew creations.

You know what’s the ultimate drink for summer (and all year round, tbh)? Cold brew coffee! It’s the smoothest, coolest, and most refreshing way to get your caffeine fix. It’s made by soaking some coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for 12 to 24 hours, which makes it less acidic and more concentrated than regular coffee.

But why settle for plain old cold brew when you can make it even more delish and fun? Whether you want to sweeten it up, spice it up, or mix it up, we’ve got you covered with 15 amazing things you can add to your cold brew coffee to make it extra yummy and satisfying. Whether you’re feeling classic or adventurous, there’s something for everyone on this list.

The Basics of Cold Brew Coffee

Get ready to dive into the wonderful world of cold brew coffee! This trendy beverage has captured the hearts (and taste buds) of coffee aficionados everywhere with its smooth, less acidic flavor. Unlike your regular hot cup of joe, cold brew is all about the slow and steady steeping process. Join us as we break down the essentials of cold brew coffee and share insider tips to help you achieve barista-level results right in the comfort of your own home.

The Art of Cold Brew Coffee

Let’s kick things off with a crash course in the cold brew coffee brewing process. Picture this: coarsely ground coffee beans and cold water coming together in perfect harmony. This magical mixture is left to steep for an extended period, typically ranging from 12 to 24 hours. As time goes by, the cold water works its magic, gently extracting the rich flavors from the coffee grounds. The result? A concentrated coffee concoction that will make your taste buds dance with delight! Once the steeping is complete, it’s time to strain out those grounds, leaving you with a glorious coffee concentrate that can be diluted to your desired strength before sipping.

Why Cold Brew Coffee Rocks!

Prepare to be wowed by the numerous advantages that cold brew coffee has over its traditional hot brewed counterpart. First and foremost, let’s talk about acidity. Cold brew’s longer steeping process means it extracts fewer acidic compounds from the coffee grounds, resulting in a smoother, less bitter taste. That means even those with sensitive stomachs or pesky acid reflux issues can enjoy a delicious cup of java without worry!

But that’s not all—there’s more to love about cold brew. The slow extraction process used in cold brewing brings out unique flavor profiles that differ from those found in hot brewed coffee. Picture this: a rich, full-bodied brew with subtle flavor notes and a velvety smooth finish. Cold brew gives you the opportunity to truly appreciate the nuanced flavors of various coffee beans. It’s a coffee adventure waiting to be explored!

Mastering Your Cold Brew Game

Now that you’re ready to embark on your cold brew journey, we’ve gathered some insider tips to help you create a batch of cold brew coffee that will rival your favorite coffee shop’s offerings:

  • Seek Out Stellar Coffee Beans: Start with the finest, freshly roasted coffee beans you can get your hands on. Look for beans that match your flavor preferences, whether you’re a fan of light, medium, or dark roasts.
  • Grind Like a Pro: When it comes to cold brew, a coarse grind is the way to go. This ensures that you don’t over-extract your coffee, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable final product.
  • The Perfect Coffee-to-Water Ratio: Aim for a ratio of 1 part coffee to 4 or 5 parts water by weight. But hey, don’t be afraid to experiment! Adjust the ratio to suit your personal taste preferences and discover the strength that makes your taste buds sing.
  • Steep Like a Pro: The steeping time is where the magic happens. Let your cold brew mixture steep for anywhere between 12 to 24 hours, depending on how strong you like it. Remember, patience is key! However, be cautious not to overdo it, as steeping for too long can lead to a bitter brew. Find your sweet spot.
  • Strain with Finesse: Once your steeping time is up, it’s time to say goodbye to those trusty coffee grounds. Grab a fine-mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or coffee filter, and strain your cold brew like a pro. This step ensures that your final brew is clean, smooth, and free of any sediment that might otherwise spoil your sipping experience.
  • Dilute and Delight: Cold brew concentrate is meant to be diluted before serving. Mix equal parts of your concentrated brew with water or milk, and then adjust to your liking. Want a refreshing pick-me-up? Serve it over ice for an invigorating cold brew experience. Feeling adventurous? Get creative with different variations and recipes to truly make it your own.

By following these basic steps and letting your inner coffee connoisseur shine, you’ll be well on your way to creating a delectable and personalized cold brew coffee that perfectly suits your taste buds. So sit back, sip, and savor the joys of exploring the vast world of cold brew. Who knows? You might just discover your new go-to coffee obsession along the way. 

Sweeteners and Syrups: Elevate Your Cold Brew Coffee with Sweet Delights

Cold brew coffee with soda and lemon

When it comes to bringing out the sweetness in your cold brew coffee, the possibilities are endless. Discovering the perfect sweetener or syrup can take your cold brew experience to new heights, unveiling a symphony of flavors. Prepare to embark on a delectable journey with these popular choices:

Popular Sweeteners for Cold Brew Coffee

  • Sugar: Ah, the timeless classic. Sugar effortlessly dissolves into cold liquids, making it a versatile option for your cold brew. Whether you prefer granulated sugar, cane sugar, or the rich undertones of brown sugar, a pinch will bring a delightful touch of sweetness to your brew.
  • Honey: Nature’s golden nectar. Honey presents a tantalizing alternative to sugar, with its natural sweetness and distinct flavor. When blended with cold brew coffee, it bestows a subtle and delicate taste that harmonizes perfectly with the coffee’s notes.
  • Maple Syrup: Indulge in a realm of richness and complexity. Maple syrup adds a touch of refined sweetness to your cold brew, transforming it into a sensory delight. Its distinct flavor profile weaves a tapestry of depth, enhancing the overall experience.

Alternative Sweeteners for a Healthier Twist

  • Stevia: For those seeking a guilt-free indulgence, enter the realm of stevia. This zero-calorie, plant-based sweetener packs a powerful punch of sweetness, surpassing sugar in intensity. A mere sprinkle will suffice, ensuring that you can enjoy the flavors without worrying about extra calories or blood sugar levels.
  • Agave Nectar: Derived from the agave plant, this natural sweetener offers a healthier alternative to traditional options. With a low glycemic index and a touch sweeter than sugar, agave nectar effortlessly dissolves into your cold brew, providing a convenient and wholesome option.

Flavorful Syrups to Delight Your Palate

  • Vanilla Syrup: Embrace the timeless elegance of vanilla. This classic syrup choice adds a silky and sweet flavor to your cold brew, accentuating the coffee’s natural nuances. Prepare to be transported to a realm of sophistication and pure delight.
  • Caramel Syrup: Unleash your inner decadence with the indulgent twist of caramel syrup. If you savor the velvety allure of caramel, this syrup is a match made in heaven for your cold brew. The rich, buttery notes dance in perfect harmony with the coffee’s smoothness, creating a sublime fusion.
  • Hazelnut Syrup: Venture into a realm of nutty bliss with hazelnut syrup. Its aromatic and slightly sweet essence adds a tantalizing layer of flavor to your cold brew. The delicate nutty undertones intertwine gracefully, creating an enchanting symphony that pairs exquisitely with your coffee.

When it comes to sweeteners and syrups, experimentation is key. Feel free to adjust the quantities according to your taste preferences, crafting a personalized masterpiece. Start with small amounts, gradually increasing until you find your desired level of sweetness. With the right sweetener or syrup, a simple cup of cold brew coffee transforms into a canvas for culinary artistry. 

Creamers and Milk Alternatives

Indulging in a perfectly creamy and rich cold brew coffee is a true pleasure. Luckily, the world of creamers and milk alternatives is teeming with enticing options. Whether you’re a fan of classic dairy-based goodness or seeking non-dairy alternatives, this section will take you on a delectable journey to enhance your cold brew coffee experience.

Classic Creamers: Timeless Delights

  • Milk: Ah, the classic choice for that much-needed creaminess! With milk, you have a range of options to suit your preference. Whole milk offers a decadently rich texture, while low-fat or skim milk provides a lighter touch.
  • Half-and-Half: Craving a truly luxurious taste? Look no further than half-and-half—a velvety blend of milk and cream that takes your cold brew coffee to new heights of indulgence.
  • Cream: Prepare to enter a realm of pure delight with heavy cream or whipping cream. These luscious options yield a smooth, silky texture, infusing your cold brew coffee with unparalleled richness.

Dairy-Free Options: Creaminess Without Compromise

  • Oat Milk: Prepare to be captivated by oat milk, a dairy-free alternative that has taken the world by storm. Boasting a creamy texture and a hint of gentle sweetness, it harmonizes perfectly with cold brew coffee, lending a subtle nutty undertone.
  • Almond Milk: Almond milk, a beloved choice for those seeking a dairy-free creaminess fix. Its delicate nuttiness and lighter texture provide a refreshing twist when blended with cold brew coffee.
  • Coconut Milk: Transport yourself to a tropical paradise with the dreamy creaminess of coconut milk. This exotic alternative imparts a slightly sweet flavor to your cold brew coffee, elevating it to new levels of deliciousness.

Unique Creamers for a Flavorful Adventure

  • Condensed Milk: Brace yourself for a decadent delight with condensed milk—a sweet and thick elixir that adds creamy, irresistible sweetness to your cold brew coffee. Whether you’re sipping a traditional or iced variation, this magical ingredient never fails to enchant.
  • Flavored Creamers: Step into a world of endless possibilities with an array of flavored creamers available in stores. From velvety vanilla and luscious caramel to delightful hazelnut, these ready-made wonders infuse your cold brew coffee with tantalizing flavors that will leave you craving more.

Embrace the spirit of adventure and embark on a journey of creamers and milk alternatives to discover your personal oasis of creaminess and taste. Feel free to mix and match, unlocking the secret to your very own unique cold brew coffee experience. Remember to consider your dietary restrictions or preferences, ensuring a harmonious union between your chosen creamers or milk alternatives and your well-being.

Spices and Flavorings

If you’re looking to take your cold brew coffee to the next level, spices and flavorings are the secret ingredients that can transform your drink into a flavor sensation. Get ready to embark on a delicious journey as you experiment with different combinations, adding a delightful twist to your usual cold brew experience. Here are some delectable ideas to get you started:

Common Spices

  • Cinnamon: A timeless choice, cinnamon infuses your cold brew with a warm and comforting aroma. Sprinkle some ground cinnamon into the coffee grounds before brewing or stir in a cinnamon stick during the steeping process to embrace its irresistible charm.
  • Nutmeg: For a subtly spicy and nutty flavor, grate some fresh nutmeg into your cold brew. A pinch of this magical ingredient will work wonders.
  • Cardamom: This aromatic spice introduces hints of citrus and floral notes to your cold brew. Crush a few cardamom pods or sprinkle some ground cardamom into your coffee grounds before brewing to create a captivating infusion.

Extracts and Flavorings

  • Vanilla extract: With just a few drops of vanilla extract, you can give your cold brew a smooth and sweet twist. Add it directly to the brewed coffee or mix it with your creamer before pouring it into your cold brew for a luscious indulgence.
  • Almond extract: For a tantalizingly nutty and slightly sweet flavor, introduce a small amount of almond extract to your cold brew. Remember, a little goes a long way, as this extract boasts potent charm.
  • Coconut extract: Transform your cold brew into a tropical paradise by adding a splash of coconut extract. Let its enticing essence mingle with creamers like coconut milk or regular cream for an exotic delight.

Spice and Flavor Combinations

  • Spiced Cold Brew: Combine the dynamic trio of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hint of cardamom to craft a spiced cold brew that evokes memories of cozy holiday treats. It’s like sipping a comforting hug in a glass.
  • Mocha Spice Cold Brew: Elevate your cold brew with a mocha-inspired twist by stirring in a dash of cocoa powder and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Indulge in the harmonious dance of chocolate and spice.
  • Orange Zest Infusion: To infuse your cold brew with a subtle citrusy essence, add a strip of orange zest to your coffee grounds before brewing. Watch as the bright flavors dance on your taste buds.

Remember, when venturing into the world of spices and flavorings, start with small quantities and adjust to your personal taste preferences. Cold brew coffee offers unparalleled versatility, so don’t be afraid to unleash your creativity and discover your own signature flavor combinations.

Immerse yourself in the exhilarating process of finding the perfect blend of spices and flavorings that will transport your cold brew coffee to new heights of deliciousness. Embrace the journey, savor every sip, and relish in the satisfaction of crafting your very own liquid masterpiece. Cheers to the joy of a truly extraordinary cold brew experience!

Refreshing Twists on Iced Cold Brew Coffee

Get ready to embark on a tantalizing journey of flavors with iced cold brew coffee. Combining the smooth and rich essence of cold brew with invigorating elements, these variations promise a delightful experience. Let’s dive in and explore the possibilities:

Cold Brew Coffee Over Ice

Indulge in the sheer simplicity and refreshing nature of cold brew coffee by pouring it over a glass brimming with ice cubes. This method instantly chills the coffee, offering a thirst-quenching treat. To elevate the experience, add a zing of freshness with a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint.

Cold Brew Coffee with Sparkling Water

For those seeking a bubbly twist, combine cold brew coffee with sparkling water. The effervescence of the sparkling water adds a delightful texture that complements the smoothness of the cold brew. Adjust the coffee-to-sparkling-water ratio to suit your taste preferences and serve it over ice.

Cold Brew Coffee with Flavored Ice Cubes

Elevate your cold brew coffee game by incorporating flavored ice cubes. These cubes can be infused with complementary flavors like vanilla, caramel, or a hint of citrus zest. As the ice cubes melt, they release subtle nuances that enhance the overall taste of your cold brew.

Cold Brew Coffee-Based Cocktails

Orange Cold Brew Coffee Spritz

Unleash your creativity and craft refreshing and invigorating cocktails using cold brew coffee as the star ingredient. Explore combinations like vodka, rum, or even flavored liqueurs to concoct unique and delicious drinks. Whether it’s an Espresso Martini or a Cold Brew Mojito, these recipes will impress your guests or serve as a special indulgence for yourself.

When venturing into the realm of iced cold brew coffee variations, remember the importance of balance. The goal is to enhance and complement the coffee’s natural characteristics while experimenting with flavors. Strive for a harmonious and enjoyable beverage that perfectly marries the added elements with the essence of cold brew.

As you delve deeper into this world of possibilities, don’t hesitate to let your imagination run wild and create your own unique recipes. The versatility of cold brew coffee opens up endless avenues for exploration, enabling you to tailor your beverage to your preferences and relish a truly personalized coffee experience.

Related: Coffee That Tastes Like Chocolate: The Irresistible Trend Brewing Worldwide 

Serving and Presentation

When it comes to cold brew coffee, it’s way more than just the flavor—it’s all about the extraordinary journey it takes you on. Serving and presentation aren’t just ordinary tasks; they hold the power to transcend your cold brew coffee experience to celestial heights. Whether you’re savoring a cool, invigorating glass of cold brew under the scorching sun or treating your esteemed guests to a remarkable gathering, it’s the meticulous attention to every detail that sets you apart and creates an unforgettable impression.

Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker

Say goodbye to pesky coffee grounds with our Fine-Mesh Coffee Filter. Plus, the Tritan plastic can withstand hot temperatures for those who crave a steaming cup. Fits perfectly in most fridge doors.

GMSWEET Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee Maker
GMSWEET Mason Jar Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Whipping up a batch of refreshing cold brew has never been simpler with this user-friendly coffee maker. Just pop in your favorite coffee grounds, drench them with water, and let it steep overnight. Wake up to a delightful jar of homemade cold brew that you can customize by adding water or milk to suit your palate.

Bodum Bean Cold Brew Press and Iced Coffee Maker
Bodum Bean Cold Brew Press and Iced Coffee Maker

Crafted with high-quality stainless steel, rubber, and silicone, it guarantees a smooth and naturally sweet java experience, minus the acidity found in regular brews. Served in a sturdy BPA-free plastic carafe, it’s durability at its finest.

ANOTION Mason Jar with Lid and Straw
ANOTION Mason Jar with Lid and Straw

Sip in style with these adorable Mason Jars! Designed with a convenient handle, they double as trendy drinking glasses and tumblers.

Selecting the Perfect Glassware

When it comes to serving cold brew coffee, the choice of glassware can truly elevate the experience, both visually and in terms of enjoyment. Opt for glass containers or clear glasses that beautifully display the rich hues of the cold brew. Whether you choose charming Mason jars, elegant tall glasses, or even sophisticated stemmed cocktail glasses, the right glassware adds a touch of refinement to your presentation.

Endless Garnishing Options

Take your cold brew coffee to new heights by incorporating visually stunning and flavorful garnishes. Imagine crowning your cold brew with a delightful dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of luscious chocolate shavings, or a dusting of exquisite cocoa powder. For a tantalizing twist, adorn it with a fragrant cinnamon stick or a few crushed coffee beans.

Creative Ways to Serve Cold Brew Coffee

  • Coffee Ice Cubes: Freeze some of your cold brew coffee into ice cube trays and let these captivating coffee-infused ice cubes cool your cold brew without diluting its impeccable flavor.
  • Layered Artistry: Unleash your creativity by crafting visually captivating layered cold brew drinks. Alternate between different ingredients to create a stunning effect. For instance, start with a luscious layer of sweetened condensed milk, followed by a generous layer of cold brew coffee, and top it off with a frothy layer of milk.
  • Affogato Elegance: Indulge in the exquisite combination of your favorite ice cream or gelato with cold brew coffee. Simply place a scoop of your preferred frozen delight in a glass and pour the velvety cold brew over it. This luxurious treat harmoniously marries the robust flavors of coffee and the creamy decadence of ice cream, delivering a delightful dessert-like experience.

Cold Brew Coffee Recipes

Get ready to take your cold brew game to the next level because the possibilities are simply limitless! Sure, a basic and timeless cold brew is undeniably satisfying, but why settle for ordinary when you can embark on an exciting flavor adventure? Brace yourself as we plunge into a delightful array of cold brew coffee recipes that will tickle your taste buds and keep you feeling cool and revitalized. Let’s dive in and explore the world of refreshing cold brew concoctions!

Simple and Classic Cold Brew Recipe

Looking for a simple and classic way to enjoy the smooth and invigorating flavors of cold brew coffee? Look no further! This easy recipe will have you brewing the perfect batch in no time.


  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups of cold water


  • Grab a large jar or pitcher and combine the coarsely ground coffee beans with the cold water.
  • Give it a gentle stir, ensuring that all the grounds are fully saturated.
  • Cover the jar or pitcher and let the magic happen. Allow it to steep at room temperature for a glorious 12-24 hours.
  • Once the steeping is complete, it’s time to separate the liquid gold from the grounds. Grab a fine-mesh sieve or coffee filter and strain the coffee concentrate into a clean container.
  • Now, it’s time to customize your cold brew. Dilute the concentrate with an equal amount of water or get creative with your choice of liquid—milk, water, or any alternative milk will work wonders.
  • Take a moment to appreciate the beauty in front of you—a jar filled with smooth, velvety cold brew coffee. Serve it over ice and savor each sip. Ah, the bliss!

Mocha Cold Brew

Are you a chocolate aficionado craving an extra touch of decadence in your cold brew? Look no further! Our luscious Mocha Cold Brew recipe combines the rich flavors of cocoa with the smoothness of coffee, creating a match made in beverage heaven.


  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of milk or cream
  • Ice cubes


  • Start by following the steps of our Simple and Classic Cold Brew Recipe (Section IX, Recipe A) to prepare the perfect cold brew concentrate.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar until they form a harmonious blend.
  • Add a small amount of hot water to the cocoa powder mixture and whisk it until it transforms into a smooth paste.
  • Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for—grab a glass and fill it with ice cubes. Pour the cold brew concentrate into the glass, creating a strong foundation.
  • Stir in the delightful cocoa powder mixture and your choice of milk or cream. Watch as the flavors intertwine, creating a symphony of taste.
  • For an added touch of elegance, consider garnishing your creation with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or some luscious chocolate shavings.
  • Savor every sip of your indulgent mocha cold brew!

Vanilla Almond Cold Brew

If you’re in the mood for a refreshing and subtly sweet cold brew, our Vanilla Almond Cold Brew recipe is just what you need. The delicate notes of vanilla and the nutty essence of almond come together to create a captivating and smooth concoction.


  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • Ice cubes


  • Begin by preparing the cold brew concentrate using our Simple and Classic Cold Brew Recipe. Patience is key, as you let the flavors dance during the steeping process.
  • Now, it’s time to assemble your refreshing masterpiece. Grab a glass and fill it with ice cubes, creating a chilly foundation for your creation.
  • Pour the cold brew concentrate into the glass, allowing the rich aroma to awaken your senses.
  • Add a touch of sweetness by incorporating vanilla extract and almond milk into the mix. Stir well, ensuring that all the flavors mingle harmoniously.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, consider garnishing your creation with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drizzle of honey. These little touches add a delightful twist to your vanilla almond cold brew.

Tropical Coconut Cold Brew

Dreaming of a tropical getaway? Our reader-submitted recipe for Tropical Coconut Cold Brew will transport you to a beachside paradise with every sip. Let the flavors of coconut and a hint of agave syrup whisk you away to sun-drenched shores.


  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of agave syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Pineapple or orange slices (for garnish)


  • Begin by following the instructions for our Simple and Classic Cold Brew Recipe, ensuring that the coffee grounds and cold water marry beautifully.
  • Pour the cold brew concentrate into a glass filled with ice cubes, creating a refreshing base for your tropical creation.
  • Add the creamy goodness of coconut milk and a touch of sweetness with agave syrup. Stir well, allowing the flavors to blend harmoniously.
  • For an extra touch of paradise, garnish your creation with slices of pineapple or orange. This visual treat will transport you to sandy shores and azure waters.

Spiced Maple Cold Brew

Embrace the comforting flavors of autumn with our reader-submitted recipe for Spiced Maple Cold Brew. The aromatic spices and the sweet embrace of maple syrup create a harmonious blend that will warm your heart and soul.


  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of milk or cream
  • Ice cubes
  • Cinnamon sticks (for garnish)


  • Start by preparing the cold brew concentrate using our Simple and Classic Cold Brew Recipe. Allow the flavors to develop and deepen during the steeping process.
  • Fill a glass with ice cubes, creating a chilled canvas for your masterpiece.
  • Pour the cold brew concentrate into the glass, allowing its rich essence to shine through.
  • Add the warm and aromatic spices—ground cinnamon and ground cardamom—to the mix, creating a tapestry of flavors that dance on your palate.
  • Enhance the sweetness and richness with the delightful touch of maple syrup and your choice of milk or cream. Stir well, ensuring that the flavors are fully incorporated.
  • Garnish your creation with a cinnamon stick, adding a visual and aromatic element to your Spiced Maple Cold Brew.

Feel free to explore these recipes or unleash your creativity to create your own unique combinations. Cold brew coffee is a versatile canvas waiting for you to paint your flavor palette upon. Let your taste buds guide you on a delicious journey of discovery and enjoy every sip along the way!

This guide is merely a launchpad for your cold brew adventures. Feel free to mix and match, tweak and experiment until you find the combinations that resonate with your palate. What to add to cold brew coffee is a question that only you can answer, so embrace the joy of exploration and savor every sip as you embark on this flavor-filled journey.

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