How To Keep Up Your Cold Brew Habit Without Spending $5 Per Day On It

I have an iced coffee addiction. Well, maybe addiction is too strong a word, it’s more like an obsession really. I love all kinds of coffee, but I really really love cold coffee the best. Cold brew is the pinnacle of the iced coffee hierarchy, natch, but the stuff tends to run on the expensive side. So, say I like to drink coffee every day (I do), and that I like to drink cold brew every day (I do).

A standard cup of cold brew from a place like Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle — or even Starbucks these days — runs close to $5. Extrapolating that out, if I bought a cup of it every single day, that’s $35 a week, $140 a month and about $1,680 a year. Basically, the same price as my car payment. Little financial insight into my life: There’s no way in hell I should be spending that much on iced coffee.

What’s the alternative? I wake up extremely early to be up for EST — coffee is a must, and good coffee is a necessity because I like to enjoy my life. Which leaves me making coffee at home. But refrigerating brewed coffee only gets you so far, the taste gap between cold coffee, even from my prized Melitta pour over, and cold brew itself, is large.

That’s because iced coffee is generally brewed with hot water and then cooled down, whereas cold brew is made with cold water itself. That’s part of why the flavor is so different; it extracts natural flavors and aromatics without getting any of the bitterness and acidity that heat can bring. But making cold brew tends to take forever and require all sorts of enormous, complicated contraptions with tubes or cheesecloth or the kind of barrel that would barely fit into my one bedroom Silver Lake apartment.

These processes can take days to brew, which frankly isn’t worth it. Not even close.

Enter Dripo, the small thermos-shaped contraption that drastically cut down on my coffee budget and borderline changed my life. Dripo only has four parts: The bottom half of the plastic tumbler, the coffee grounds bucket, the top half of the plastic tumbler, and the lid, with convenient pouring spout if you decide to use this later as a cup.

For the ice drip method, place the coffee grounds bucket in the bottom half of the plastic tumbler, which is empty and waiting for cold brew to literally drip into it. Fill the coffee grounds bucket with, you guessed it, coffee of your choosing (about 1.5 oz is recommended), then place a small Dripo filter on top.

It’s best for brewing if you sprinkle some water on top and get the filter ready for water to drip onto it. Then, affix the top half of the plastic tumbler and fill it with ice and icy cold water. About 12 oz is recommended. Twist the lid on to avoid spills, not too tight though so air can flow through, too much pressure stops the functionality. Then, set the whole thing on the counter and wait. In two or three hours, the ice water will pass through the coffee grounds and fill the bottom half of your tumbler with delicious, strong, cold brew. If it ends up too strong for you, you can dilute it a bit with water, or put some in the fridge and save it for later.

The second method is cold brew immersion. Take the same amounts of coffee and water, but fill the bottom half of the plastic tumbler, then stick the coffee grounds basket down into it. For this method, you let the grounds sit in that cold water for about 12 hours, then remove the liquid and filter it after, as some of the grinds will flow into the water itself. If you want, when either of these methods are finished, you can remove the coffee grinds basket and the top half of tumbler that was filled with water, and use the bottom half as a thermos by twisting the plastic lid right on.

It’s literally the easiest, quickest, cheapest way to get cold brew into your life on a daily basis. I’ll set one up the night before and place it in the fridge so I have icy, delicious coffee waiting for me in the morning. There’s not a single drawback, and you can also bring this small contraption with you anywhere you go. You can make yourself some iced coffee on a plane, at your in-law’s house, at your boyfriend’s, anywhere in the world, really.

The Dripo was conceived of back in 2015 by a group of inventors who raised $60,000 on Kickstarter to make it a reality. The entire thing is made with BPA free plastic and costs about $35… the exact same amount I’d spend every week on buying a new cup marked up at a coffee shop.

There you go: It’s time to usher in the DIY era of cold brew.