Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee: Recipe, Caffeine Content and More

The Ultimate Guide to Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee: How It's Made and Its Caffeine Content

As a coffee lover, you might agree that Starbucks Cold Brew is a game-changer. Its smooth, bold flavor and high caffeine content make it a popular choice for many. However, the cost of regularly buying cold brew at Starbucks can add up quickly.

What if I told you you could make this delicious drink at home and save money? This article will share a step-by-step recipe for making Starbucks-style cold brew coffee in your kitchen.

We’ll also explore cold brew’s caffeine content compared to other coffee drinks and share some tips on customizing your perfect cup. Get ready to become your barista and enjoy the refreshing taste of cold brew whenever you want!

The Irresistible Charm of Starbucks Cold Brew

Starbucks Cold Brew has gained immense popularity among coffee enthusiasts due to its unique, smooth flavor. The cold brewing process brings out hints of dark chocolate while reducing the acidity of regular hot-brewed coffee, resulting in a less bitter and more enjoyable taste.

However, the daily cost of indulging in this trendy beverage can quickly add up. For example, purchasing a Grande Starbucks Cold Brew daily for a month would cost around $150. Over a year, that amounts to a staggering $1,800!

Starbucks achieves this distinctive flavor by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cool water for 20 hours. This slow extraction method is the key to creating the smooth, bold taste that cold brew lovers crave.

However, it’s worth noting that Starbucks typically dilutes its concentrated cold brew with water before serving, which can alter the taste and strength that some customers, particularly enthusiasts, might prefer.

Recipe for Starbucks Cold Brew: How It Is Made

You’ll need the following ingredients and equipment to make your Starbucks-style cold brew home.


  • 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) of Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee
  • 32 cups (7.6 L) of filtered water


  • Two large brew bags (12″ x 12″ reusable coffee filters)
  • Large brewing pitcher (at least 2.6 gallons or 9.8 L capacity)
  • Coffee grinder with a coarse grind setting

Step-By-Step Brewing Method

Step-By-Step Brewing Method

1. Coarsely grind the coffee beans and place them into the brew bags. Ensure the grounds remain loose inside the bag.
2. Place the brew bags in the large pitcher and fully immerse them in room-temperature filtered water.
3. Gently massage the brew bags to ensure all grounds are wet and submerged.
4. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for 21-26 hours, rotating the bags once during brewing.
5. Remove the brew bags and allow them to drain slowly into the pitcher. Do not squeeze the bags.
6. Let the concentrate breathe in the refrigerator for 24 hours before storing it in an airtight container.

To achieve the perfect flavor, consider using recently expired beans from eBay to save money without compromising quality. You can also adjust the coffee-to-water ratio to suit your taste preferences.

Get Creative with Mixing Suggestions

  • For a classic Starbucks experience, dilute the concentrate with equal water and serve over ice.
  • You can add your favorite milk (dairy, soy, almond, or oat) and sweeteners like simple syrup, sucralose drops, or flavored syrups.
  • For a stronger, undiluted cold brew, pour the concentrate over ice and enjoy it straight up.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Brewing Cold Brew at Home

  1. Using the wrong grind size: Use coarsely ground coffee beans. A fine grind can result in over-extraction and a bitter taste.
  2. Not enough coffee: Cold brew requires a higher coffee-to-water ratio than regular coffee. Follow the recipe closely for the best results.
  3. Brewing for too short or too long: Stick to the recommended brewing time of 21-26 hours. Under-brewing can lead to weak flavor, while over-brewing can cause bitterness.
  4. Using low-quality or old beans: Always use fresh, high-quality coffee beans for optimal taste. Avoid using beans that are past their prime.
  5. Not filtering properly: Use a fine-mesh filter or cheesecloth to strain the cold brew concentrate. Improper filtering can lead to a gritty texture.
  6. Storing cold brew incorrectly: Keep your cold brew concentrate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to maintain freshness and flavor.

Additional Considerations: Nutritional and Dietary 

Additional Considerations Nutritional and Dietary

Regarding nutrition, a Grande Starbucks Cold Brew (16 oz) contains around five calories and 0 grams of sugar, making it a low-calorie choice for coffee lovers. However, as mentioned earlier, it does pack a hefty 205 mg of caffeine.

One advantage of making a cold brew at home is the ability to modify caffeine levels according to your preferences. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or looking to reduce your intake, you can experiment with shorter brewing times or mix regular and decaffeinated beans in varying ratios. 

For those with dietary restrictions or preferences, using milk alternatives to flavor cold brew is a game-changer. Alternatives are perfect for those who are lactose intolerant or following a vegan lifestyle.

Almond, oat, and soy milk are excellent options that add a creamy texture and subtle flavor without compromising the cold brew’s essence. 

Lastly, don’t hesitate to get creative with your homemade cold brew! For a healthier twist, experiment with natural sweeteners like honey, agave nectar, or dates. You can also infuse your cold brew with homemade syrups using ingredients like vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, or fresh fruit.

Add a sprinkle of cocoa powder or a dash of pumpkin pie spice for an extra flavor kick. The possibilities are endless, and you can tailor your cold brew to your specific tastes while keeping an eye on added calories and sugar.


In conclusion, making your Starbucks-style cold brew at home is a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy this popular beverage. By following the simple recipe and tips provided, you can create a delicious cold brew concentrate that rivals what you’d find at your local Starbucks.

This allows you to control the caffeine content and customize the flavor to your liking, saving you money in the long run. So, what’s next? Experiment with different ratios, brewing times, and flavor additions to find your perfect cup of cold brew.

Share your creations with friends and family, and enjoy the satisfaction of becoming your barista. Remember, the key to a great cold brew is quality ingredients, patience, and a willingness to explore. Happy brewing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Brewing Cold Brew Longer Increase Caffeine?

Yes, brewing cold brew for longer can increase caffeine content. The longer the coffee grounds steep in water, the more caffeine is extracted from the beans.

Is Starbucks Cold Brew Stronger than Regular Coffee?

Yes, Starbucks cold brew is generally stronger than their regular iced coffee. It contains more caffeine per ounce due to the higher coffee-to-water ratio and longer brewing process.

Viktor Edwards
Viktor Edwards

Viktor Edwards brings over a decade of experience to his craft, having honed his skills in some of the most renowned establishments. A graduate with a degree in Culinary Arts from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Viktor's journey into the world of fine drinks began shortly after completing his education. His career took off when he joined our website's team in 2021, bringing with him a passion for creating innovative beverages that tantalize the palate while offering a nod to classic flavors. Beyond his professional pursuits, Viktor is an avid cyclist and enjoys exploring the great outdoors, believing that inspiration can be found in the natural world around us.

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