Project: Cold Brew Coffee with Reusable Coffee Bag

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Project: Cold Brew Coffee with Reusable Coffee Bag

By Haley Pierson-Cox

From the moment I saw this recipe in the New York Times, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with cold brew coffee. Not only is cold brew delicious and easy, it doesn’t require electricity or any special equipment, so you can make it just about anywhere—even when you’re camping or traveling!

I’ve spent a lot of time streamlining the process and perfecting my brew, so I’m really excited to pass my morning coffee routine along to you. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make your own reusable drawstring coffee bag, then I’ll walk you through the cold brew basics. When we’re done, you’ll be ready to make a fresh cuppa joe just about anywhere. (You can thank me tomorrow morning!)


Lightweight unbleached cotton muslin, one 4″ x 16″ rectangle
Baker’s twine, two 6″ pieces
Fabric clips or straight pins
Elastic threader (A safety pin will work too.)
Fabric scissors
Iron and ironing board
Sewing machine or needle and thread
Mason jar, one wide mouth quart size
Water, 2 to 3 cups
Ground coffee, ⅓ cup


Step 1: Wash and dry the muslin thoroughly, then press with an iron to remove any wrinkles. Cut one 4″ x 6″ rectangle.

Step 2: To prepare the coffee bag for sewing, fold and press the fabric as shown above.

a. Fold both 16″ sides toward the center ¼”, then press in place with an iron.

b. With the sides still folded from step a, fold both 4″ edges toward the center ¼”, then press the crease.

c. With the folds you made in steps a and b still in place, fold each 4″ edge towards the center another ⅝”. (Both 4″ edges should now be folded over twice.) Press in place, then secure the folds with fabric clips or pins.

d. On each folded 4″ side, stitch along the bottom edge of the fold with your sewing machine. You should now have a small fabric loop at each end of the rectangle. (You’ll thread baker’s twine through these loops later.)

Step 3: Fold the muslin rectangle in half horizontally with folded edges facing in, making sure that the folds from step 2a are still in place and that the sewn loops from step 2d are lined up with each other at the open end of the pouch.

Starting at the horizontal fold and working toward the horizontal line that you stitched in step 2d, use your sewing machine to sew along each side edge with an ⅛” seam allowance. Make sure that you stop when you get to the horizontal stitches at the top—if you don’t, you won’t be able to insert the bakers twine to finish the drawstring bag.

You should now have a 7″ x 3½” pouch with an opening at one end.

Step 4: Now that the bag is stitched, it’s time to insert the drawstring.

A drawstring is made using two loops of cord that are threaded through the top loops of a pouch in opposite directions. When the cords are pulled away from each other, they cinch the top of the bag closed.

Starting on the right side of the pouch, use an elastic threader or safety pin to thread one 6″ length of bakers twine through both loops at the top of the pouch, making a full circle. Tie the ends of cord together in a knot.

Repeat the process on the left side. When finished, the top of the pouch should close when the cords are pulled.

Step 5: With the coffee bag complete, it’s time to brew some coffee!

Use a spoon to insert ⅓ cup of ground coffee into the coffee bag, then cinch the top closed.

Step 6: Add 2 to 3 cups of water to a quart-sized wide mouth mason jar, then insert the filled coffee bag.

To hold the coffee bag in place, fold the drawstrings over the lip of the jar, then screw the top on.

Step 7: Place the mason jar on the counter and allow the coffee to brew overnight (8 hours or more).

Note: After 8 hours of brewing, ⅓ cup of coffee in 2 to 3 cups of water was plenty strong for me, but you can play with the water-to-coffee ratio and brewing time to find what’s best for you. I designed the coffee bag to be a bit larger than needed to accommodate more coffee or larger batches.

Step 8: When done brewing, remove the lid and pull on the drawstrings to remove the coffee bag. To serve, pour the coffee over ice or heat it up in the microwave, then add your favorite creamers, sweeteners, or flavors as desired. Each jar yields 2 drinks.

To clean the coffee bag, discard grounds and rinse thoroughly. Wash the bag as needed with dark laundry.

About the Author:

Haley Pierson-Cox is a Brooklyn-based craft writer who loves granny glasses and loathes extraneous apostrophes. She blogs about crafts, cats, domestic bliss, and DIY goodness at The Zen of Making.

20 thoughts on “Project: Cold Brew Coffee with Reusable Coffee Bag

  1. Lori says:

    BRILLIANT. Really! This is such a great idea, I wish I had thought of it. :) I love cold-brewed coffee and I like the idea of making a small “batch”. I will make one (or a few) of these tonight & give it a try. Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. Haley Pierson-Cox says:

      Thanks, Lori!

  2. Mike and Akasha says:

    It’s really cute, but why reinvent the wheel? We just use a french press. One heaping cup of grounds in a standard 4 cup french press makes a nice small batch. just let it sit, then plunge.

    1. Haley Pierson-Cox says:

      I use this method because I don’t need to think about having special equipment. My best friend swears by her press, though!

  3. Bsgbumpersticker says:

    I use the Fridge Barista (cost like $20) and it brews, stores and serves all from the one container. Also easy to clean without a lot of water.

  4. Michelle says:

    You can buy a cold brew coffee filter for $8 at that makes 1.5 liters of coffee concentrate at a time. I don’t know that I’d wash my filter bag in the washing machine with soap. I just rinse my bag out with cool water and air dry. 12 hours is too long to wait for only 2 servings of coffee!

    1. Haley Pierson-Cox says:

      Good point about the soap–I generally just rinse mine out between uses. When it does need washing, I use a natural, non-scented detergent and make sure that it has been very thoroughly rinsed to remove any leftover soap residue.

      As for the time, setting up my cold brew is part of my nightly routine. It takes less than a minute to grind the beans and load the bag, then it brews while I’m sleeping. It makes the perfect amount of coffee to meet my needs, and it’s not like I’m actually putting in any effort during those 8 hours that it brews! ;)

  5. Susan says:

    Thanks for sharing! I can see myself making these little muslin bags for more than just iced coffee…I like using peppercorns in my soups and stews but hate accidentally biting into one. From now on they will be secured in a little muslin bag!

  6. greysfabric » Exciting New Uses for Fabric: Cold Brew Coffee says:

    […] a hot summer day. This method will be great for those occasional cravings. I found a few tutorials: Make Zine has one, as does Revolution Coffee Company and the organic folks at The Rodale […]

  7. CheezePoof says:

    Possible Typo? Should step one read: ‘Cut one 4″ x 16″ rectangle’? (NOT ‘Cut one 4″ x 6″ rectangle.’)

    1. Gattino Bambina says:

      Yes, it was a typo in the directions- It does say cut one 4″x16″ rectangle in the, Materials needed before the direction step’s that are given.

  8. The green gift guide: 7 eco-friendly presents | Green Metropolis says:

    […] on your list cold brewing nine to five! In fact, you can create a cold brewer all on your own, here’s how-to-do-it. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll even make you a cup in return – but don’t […]

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley.

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