The History of Cold Brew: From Ancient Times to Modern Day

Coffee is a beloved beverage enjoyed by millions of people around the world every day. From lattes to cappuccinos, there are many different ways to enjoy coffee. One of the newer trends in the coffee world is cold brew. Cold brew coffee has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, but did you know that the history of cold brew dates back to ancient times? In this article, we'll dive into the rich history of cold brew coffee, from ancient times to modern day.

Ancient Times

The practice of brewing coffee with cold water is believed to have originated in Japan and was called "Kyoto-style" coffee. This method was popular during the 1600s and involved brewing the coffee in a large glass vessel called a "Mizudashi". The coffee was then filtered through a cloth and served cold over ice.

Another ancient method of making cold brew involved using a clay pot called a "Qvevri". This method was used in Georgia (the country, not the state) and involved filling the pot with coffee grounds and water and allowing it to sit for several hours. The result was a smooth and flavorful cold brew coffee.

The Rise of Cold Brew in the United States

While cold brew coffee has been popular in other parts of the world for centuries, it didn't gain popularity in the United States until much later. In the 1960s, a company called Toddy Products invented the Toddy Cold Brew System. This system allowed people to make cold brew coffee at home using a unique brewing process that involved steeping the coffee grounds in water for several hours.

Fast forward to the 2000s, and cold brew coffee started to become more mainstream. Starbucks and other coffee chains started offering cold brew as an option, and it quickly became a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts.

The Modern Day Cold Brew Craze

Today, cold brew coffee is everywhere. You can find it at your local coffee shop, your favorite restaurant, and even in grocery stores. The rise of cold brew can be attributed to a few different factors.

First, cold brew is less acidic than traditional hot coffee, which makes it easier on the stomach. This has led many people who previously couldn't tolerate coffee to become cold brew enthusiasts.

Second, cold brew has a smooth and rich flavor that many people love. Because it is brewed slowly over many hours, the coffee has time to develop a unique flavor profile that can't be achieved with traditional brewing methods.

Finally, cold brew coffee is incredibly versatile. It can be used in a variety of different drinks, from iced coffee to coffee cocktails. Its versatility has made it a favorite among bartenders and mixologists.

Making Cold Brew at Home

If you're a cold brew enthusiast, you may be interested in making your own cold brew at home. Luckily, it's easy to do!

  • Start with coarsely ground coffee beans. The coarse grind will prevent the coffee from becoming too bitter as it steeps.
  • Combine the grounds with cold water in a jar or other container.
  • Let the mixture steep for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours for a stronger brew.
  • Strain the mixture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to remove the grounds.
  • Enjoy your homemade cold brew over ice with your favorite creamer or sweetener.


Cold brew coffee has a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. From the "Kyoto-style" coffee of Japan to the Toddy Cold Brew System invented in the United States, cold brew has evolved over the years to become the beloved beverage it is today. Whether you're a seasoned cold brew enthusiast or just trying it for the first time, cold brew coffee is a tasty and refreshing way to enjoy your daily caffeine fix.