How to Make Cold Brewed Cacao Nibs

Move over cold brew coffee. Cold brew cacao is the new kid on the trendy beverages block.

According to market research, cold brewed cocoa is slowly gaining popularity thanks to its nutty, slightly chocolatey flavor; its potential health benefits (cacao contains antioxidant properties, iron, and magnesium); and the fact that it’s slightly less acidic than coffee while still offering a potential energy boost thanks to theobromine, a natural alkaloid found in cacao that may act like a stimulant and mood booster (though research in this area is still mixed).

Cold brew cocoa can be made from whole cocoa beans or cacao nibs (the “meat” of the bean), but most recipe creators prefer cacao nibs for two primary reasons: First, hand-shelling cocoa beans can be tedious and time-consuming; second, cacao nibs tend to produce a less bitter brew than whole cocoa beans.

Ready to try it for yourself? Here’s how to make it happen.

How to Cold Brew Cacao Nibs

As with cold brewing coffee, cold brewing cacao nibs involves steeping the nibs in room temperature or cold water overnight. To cold brew nibs at home, you’ll need:


Aa pitcher or a French Press (see Recipe Notes below)

A fabric bag (such as those used for making nut milk)

A spice grinder or mortar + pestle

Once you’ve got your equipment, it’s time to gather your ingredients. The ingredients list could be as short as cacao nibs and water, or you could experiment with using a milk of your choice in lieu of the water, cold brewing cacao nibs along with coffee, or adding different flavor additions such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or maple syrup.

Here’s one of the simplest recipes possible, slightly adapted from Quartz:


6 ounces  roasted cacao nibs

8 cups cold water


  1. Grind the nibs with the spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Aim for a fine texture but stop before it gets powdery.
  2. Line your pitcher with the nut milk bag. Then pour the ground cacao nibs into the lined pitcher.
  3. Fill the pitcher with water and stir, ensuring that all the grounds are wet.
  4. Cinch the nut milk bag and cover the pitcher.
  5. Allow the pitcher to sit at room temperature for approximately 16 hours. If the room’s temperature is hot, then place the pitcher in the refrigerator and let it sit for a few extra hours.
  6. After the time is up, lift up the nut milk bag and squeeze the liquid into the pitcher. If possible, compost the grounds.
  7. Prior to serving, give the cold brewed cacao a good stir to displace any settled particles. Then serve straight, over ice, mixed into coffee, or with any other additions of your choice (like maple syrup or a splash of almond milk).
  8. Store your cold brew in the fridge.

Recipe Note:

If you’d prefer to use a French press:

  1. Start by grinding the cacao nibs and pouring them into the French press.
  2. Add water and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Then stir the mixture, cover the French press, and set it in the fridge for 24 hours.
  4. Once the time is up, remove the French press from the fridge, stir the mixture, and then slowly depress the plunger.
  5. Use an unbleached coffee filter to strain the cold brewed cacao into a pitcher.
  6. Serve it up to your liking and enjoy!