I’m a Former Barista and This Is What I Use to Make Coffee at Home (It Only Cost Me $17!)

published Aug 4, 2020
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Pouring a glass of cold brew coffee
Credit: Joe Lingeman

I’ve spent more than seven years working in coffee. I’ve worked as a barista and cafe manager. And I’ve helped open up cafes and train countless new employees. While I have moved on from working in coffee, I still love it and drink copious amounts of it. Cold brew, specifically. Now, instead of making said cold brew for strangers and regulars, I make it just for myself and my loved ones. And I do it using one specific, inexpensive tool.

I’m talking about these $17 Doppelgänger reusable cold brew coffee filter bags, which I use with any pitcher, Mason jar, or large vessel I happen to have on hand.

The cold brew process, in general, is simple: You steep coffee grounds in water overnight or for up to 24 hours, remove the grounds, and you’re left with cold brew concentrate. You can then drink the brew as-is or dilute it with hot or cold water and/or milk. (I personally like to dilute it because I find it’s easier to drink that way while still offering the caffeinated punch I need.)

Read more: How To Make Starbucks-Style Cold Brew Coffee at Home

While there’s no shortage of cold brew coffee makers out there (for example, there’s this one from Ovalware, this one from OXO, and the Toddy), I find that a lot of them are unnecessarily expensive or bulky.

Credit: Nate Perez

These reusable filter bags are the most basic of basic. You just line your chosen vessel with a bag — you get two in a pack, so they’re really just $8.50 each! — and make your concentrate. (I use a rubber band to help keep the bag from slipping into the vessel.) They’re incredibly convenient, but what I love most about them, of course, has to do with the coffee they produce. I’ve used disposable bags and other devices and find that those tend to make a more sediment-filled and bitter-tasting cold brew. These bags are decently thick, so they filter out all the grounds and most of those bitter oils, too. The resulting concentrate is always smooth and bright.

The bags are easy to maintain, too. Once your cold brew has finished steeping, you just empty out the grounds. To get rid of any lingering grounds, you can rinse the bag in the sink. (But try to limit the number of grounds that go down your sink — eventually, they can clog your drain.) For a deep clean, you can wash the bags with hot water or boil them. Hang them to dry and then you can roll them up and tuck them away in a drawer (not something that can be said for most coffee makers!).

It always surprises people to learn that my go-to tool cost me just $17. (Folks just assume it’s a machine that costs a lot more money!) Trust me, though, these bags make cold brew that rivals anything I’ve ever made in a coffee shop.

What’s your go-to coffee-making tool? Tell us in the comments below.