#expatproblems: Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

#expatproblems: Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

It has long been my hope to start adding some recipe and lifestyle posts to my blog, so here we go! This recipe has been helpful in maintaining my American coffee tastes.

Last April, we had a glorious weekend, similar to the heatwave that struck a couple weeks ago. One Sunday it was 80 degrees and sunny. Blissful.

That Monday, it was back to normal temperatures, but still sunny and the high of spring really having come at last was strong. It was also the weekend I had chopped off a bit of my finger preparing dinner, so on Monday morning I was off to the GP to get my wound checked out. As a small gift to myself, I stopped into Starbucks on the way to grab an iced coffee.

“Iced coffee’s not in season yet,” the barista told me.

I must have looked confused because the very nice barista quickly offered to make me an Americano over ice. Where I come from, iced coffee doesn’t have a season. In New England, we carry cups of the stuff through snowstorms and here it had been a summer’s day just the day before. #expatproblems

After a laugh, I took my Americano over ice and headed on my merry way. I patiently waited for iced coffee to come into season. When it finally did, it landed at the price of £2.95. That’s almost FOUR dollars. Four dollars! For a cup of coffee!

There are moments of expat life that put your usual routine under the magnifying glass. What can you live without? A daily ritual for me, like my cup of coffee, is one such instance where my routine and the coffee culture here clash. As the warmer months approached, it came time to find an iced coffee solution.

Cold Brew Coffee

My sister has been making her own cold brew for years. For some reason, I have always been intimidated by this. It was time to have her teach me her ways.

My sister recommended getting a special cold brew pitcher and helped me find this one on Amazon. All I needed to do was fill it with coffee grounds, pour in some water and leave it in the fridge overnight and voila! cold brew ready to go.

Cold brew coffee


Over the past year, I’ve perfected my recipe and technique. Enjoy!

The Basic Bon Vivant's Easy Cold Brew
Prep Time
5 mins
Steeping Time
1 d

Never pay for Starbucks again! This recipe is super easy and tastes great.

Servings: 4
  • 3/4 cup freshly ground whole bean coffee
  • 800 ml cold water
  1. Grind whole beans using a coffee grinder, food processor or blender. 

  2. Add coffee beans to mesh section of the carafe. 

  3.  Pour cold water over grounds to fill carafe.

  4. Cover and put in the fridge for 12-24 hours before removing coffee beans. Finish within a week.

Recipe Notes

You can use pre-ground coffee beans, but I have found that fresh ground taste much better.

You can steep your coffee grounds for 12-24 hours. I prefer 24, it creates a stronger cold brew taste. The 12 hour brew tastes pretty watery to me, but it depends on your personal preference.

If you forget about your brew or it comes out too strong, simply dilute it by adding more cold water when serving.

For those making cold brew in the UK, my favorite beans I’ve found to use to make this are these Waitrose Intense, Dark and Distinctive Italian Style Coffee Beans. I grind them using my blender (I’m sure that sentence makes a hipster perish, but that’s what I got!).

Cold brew

This year, it has been much easier to find cold brew or iced coffee at Starbucks, which now offers it on tap all year. They even have a nitro cold brew, so London is making big strides in iced beverages. But with such a big price tag, it’s just not something I am willing to buy. Luckily, I’ve come to prefer the taste of this homemade cold brew!


Jenn is an American expat living in London, spending her time freelancing, traveling and writing on this here blog. Thank you for reading. Are you planning a trip here? Tell me your plans in the comments!

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