Alton Brown Cold Brew Coffee

Alton Brown Cold Brew

Are you looking for the popular Alton Brown cold brew coffee recipe to enjoy at home but you have no idea what ingredients you need and how to start? Don’t worry, you have just found the right place to start from.

Although it takes a long time to be brewed, cold brew is a delicious and smooth drink that doesn’t only taste great but also has many benefits for your health. It is easy to make and does not require a lot of ingredients, however, we find different recipes of cold brew online, which can confuse us sometimes, but have you ever heard of Alton Brown’s recipes?

If you are a food fan, then you have probably heard of the famous Alton Brown and his popular shows and recipes, but if you are a coffee lover specially a cold brew addict, then you must have heard of Brown’s two trendy cold brew recipes: cold brew with chicory and Kyoto-style cold brew.

So, if you are wondering about these two delicious recipes, then we have some good news for you. In our guide article, we tried to include everything you need to know about these two coffee drinks and how you can try them easily in the comfort of your own house.

Who Is Alton Brown?

Alton Brown is a famous American television personality, celebrity chef, and author. He is well-known as a food scientist because he has been hosting different TV shows teaching people the science of cooking.

Among his most popular TV shows are Good Eats, Cutthroat Kitchen, and iron chef America. In addition, Alton is also famous for publishing different food and cooking books like his popular EveryDayCook.

Moreover, in the world of coffee, he is also known for his strange brewing methods and tricks like adding salt to coffee for example! He claims that by adding some salt to the coffee grounds before brewing, your final drink will be smoother and less bitter.

Alton won people’s hearts by his entertaining personality and wide knowledge, and mostly by his love of food experimentation, which allows him to come up with many innovative food recipes, including coffee recipes that we will discuss in this article.


What Is A Cold Brew?

Alton Brown Cold Brew

Cold-brew is a popular term that refers to a coffee drink that is made by steeping coffee grounds in cool water at room temperature for a long period of time, then the coffee grounds are strained out, and the remaining drink is chilled and served.

Unlike regular coffee that is made with hot boiling water that gives it an acidic and bitter taste, a cold brew has a fresh, sweeter, and less acidic flavor profile.

To make a cold brew, you need to steep the coffee grounds and let them sit for 12 to 24 hours, and the more it sits the more flavorful the drink will be; however, it is not recommended that you leave it for longer than 24 hours because steeping it for too long may cause bitterness to come back.

The brewing process is different than other techniques and so is the grinding of the beans. To make this sweet and smooth cold brew you will need to use a coarse grind because the water needs to circulate freely through the ground coffee for optimal extraction which will not the case if you use a fine grind.

Many people confuse between a cold brew and iced coffee, while the truth is they are totally different. Iced coffee is served cold and it is simply prepared like any regular hot coffee and then poured over ice after been cooled down for a while.

And to make an iced coffee drink, all you need to do is to choose your favorite brewing technique whether it is a single-serve style, espresso, pour-over, French press, drip coffee, etc., then prepare your coffee and pour it over ice. The whole process won’t take more than a few minutes.

Alton Brown Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

Alton Brown Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

The two recipes we are presenting in this article are some of the most popular coffee recipes of Alton Brown, and they are also mentioned in his book, EveryDayCook.

We tried both recipes and we love them both, they really taste better than any regular cold brew recipe out there, however, let us just inform you that these recipes are time-consuming and require a lot of patience since they are prepared using an unusual technique, but the final result is really fantastic.

Cold Brew with Chicory

Cold Brew with Chicory

Let’s first take a look at the most important ingredient of this recipe, which is the Chicory. If you heard the term for the first time, then you are not alone since a lot of people are not familiar with it. The chicory is simply a blue-flowered plant that is part of the daisy family, of course, we are not adding flowers to our coffee, but the important part for us is its roots.

The roots of this plant are cultivated, dried, and then roasted. They can either be used as a caffeine alternative or they can be added to coffee to reduce the bitterness and make the coffee smoother.

To make this cold brew with chicory you will need:

  • Fresh coffee beans.
  • Roasted chicory.
  • Filtered water.
  • Ice cubes.
  • Agave syrup.
  • Blackstrap molasses.

And for the equipment you will need:

  • A burr coffee grinder.
  • Digital kitchen scale.
  • Two clean glass jars.
  • Fine mesh sieve.
  • One tall coffee glass.

And for the instruction:

  1. Start by grinding your fresh coffee beans on a medium to coarse setting, then measure 90grams or approximately 1cup and 2tablespoons.
  2. Grab one of the glass jars and add your coarsely ground coffee, 45grams of roasted chicory (1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon), and mix them together.
  3. Add 24oz of water, seal up the jartight and shake it, and then let it sit away from sunlight and heat overnight (8-10 hours).
  4. Grab the other jar or a plastic bottle, and combine 3tablespoons of agave syrup, 3tablespoons of honey, 1tablespoon of molasses, then add 3.5oz of water, seal the jar tight and shake the mixture vigorously until you get a nice thick syrup.
  5. After the brewing time is complete, re-shake the jar for 3minutes, then strain the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve, then repeat by straining it through some layers of cheesecloth, then your cold brew is ready and can stay fresh in the fridge up to 7 days.
  6. For serving, combine your coffee with 1tablespoon of the syrup you prepared beforehand, then fill a tall glass with ice cubes, and pour the coffee over.
  7. For extra smoothness, add some whole milk or half and half and stir, and enjoy!

Kyoto-Style Cold Brew


The Kyoto-style cold brew is a rich and aromatic coffee that is made differently. The entire process consists of dripping cold or room temperature water slowly through coffee grounds for 8-12 hours, and then chilling the brew and serving it with chocolate and milk.

This type of cold brew is usually prepared using a special Kyoto-style coffee maker, however, in Alton Brown’s recipe, we will show you how to make this delicious cold brew without this machine.

This recipe is a great one and the coffee produced tastes super good but it requires a lot of patience and some “strange equipment”, so if you are ready to make a fun and unique coffee recipe, grab all you need and let’s get started!

To make this Kyoto-style cold brew recipe you will need:

  • Fresh coffee beans.
  • Filtered water.
  • A lot of ice cubes (7 cups).

And for the equipment you will need:

  • A burr coffee grinder.
  • Digital scale.
  • 2 clean soda bottles.
  • Utility knife.
  • 1 thumbtack.
  • 2-quart glass pitcher.
  • 2 paper coffee filters.
  • 2 rubber bands.
  • 2 chopsticks.

And for the instruction:

  1. Start by grinding your fresh coffee beans on a medium to coarse setting, then measure 110grams or approximately 11/2cups.
  2. Grab your utility knife and the two soda bottles (preferably of 3 liters) and carefully cut and remove the 3 inches in the bottom.
  3. Remove the lids and carefully make a star-shaped hole in one of the lids, then poke a small hole in the other lid, and screw the lids back to their bottles.
  4. Grab 1piece of cheesecloth and squeeze it into the neck of the bottle with a small hole.
  5. Place your coffee grounds into the paper filter and fold them in the sides and place it into the other bottle with a star-shaped hole.
  6. Place the bottle on the glass pitcher and put the whole thing on top of the kitchen scale.
  7. Tare the scale and start pouring 4.4 ounces of water slowly over the coffee grounds in a circular motion, then top with a small coffee filter.
  8. Place the bottle with a small hole over the other one, then secure with the rubber bands and chopsticks on the sides.
  9. Zero the scale one more time and fill the top bottle with ice on top of the cheesecloth.
  10. Let the whole thing sit for 10-12 hours away from sunlight and wait until all of the ice is melted.
  11. Once the brewing time is complete, remove the bottles from the pitcher, and there it is your Kyoto-style cold brew concentrate.
  12. Serve it over ice and add your favorite sweetener, cinnamon, or coffee syrup, you can save the rest in the fridge for up to seven days.

Final Thoughts

In brief, Alton Brown is known for his strange and weird recipes and the chicory cold brew and the Kyoto-style method were no exception!

The whole process of the two recipes, especially the Kyoto-style cold brew, is a bit tricky and time-consuming, however, the result is worthy of every minute of your time.

Both recipes, however, are not perfect for someone in a hurry in the morning of course, but rather for someone who loves experimentation and has no problem in spending some time in the kitchen. And the coolest thing is that you don’t even need a coffee maker for these two recipes, you just need a bit of patience.


Selena started writing about Coffee to document her own journey. She fell into some very bad habits and knew things had to change. That’s why she began this site!