While often grouped together or confused with iced coffee, cold brew coffee requires a different process and is less acidic. This is because, unlike iced drip/filter coffee, with cold brew the coffee grounds are never in contact with hot water. The result is therefore very different from other forms of cold coffee drinks.
One great thing about making cold brew coffee is that the coffee-water ratio can be quite flexible depending on your taste preferences. It is also really easy to make at home. This coffee is a great refreshing drink for the summer months and a serving of concentrate can yield several cups of a lighter brew which means that you spend less time making coffee.
Ready to try your hand at cold brew? Below we cover the basic steps on how to make cold brew coffee at home as well as some tips and FAQs.
RELATED: The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
What you need:
- Coffee grounds
- A french press or a mason jar large enough to hold your batch
- Cold water
- A measuring cup
- Coffee filters or a fine mesh
- A spoon to stir
- Optional: a cup of milk
Servings: Approximately 5 cups if you dilute the cold brew concentrate.
Step 1: Grind
Measure 3/4 of a cup (approximately 85 grams) of whole coffee beans. Use a coffee grinder and grind the coffee to a coarse consistency. The coffee beans should end up looking like sea salt. Set the ground coffee aside.
If you do not have a coffee grinder you can your coffee supplier to can grind it for you. Make sure the coffee is fresh.
Step 2: Combine with Water
Once the beans have been coarsely ground, place them in the container of your choice (french press, jar, etc) along with 3 cups of cold filtered water. If you want your cold brew to be lighter in taste, use more cups of water. Mix with a spoon in order to make sure all the coffee is wet and let it rest.
Step 3: Steep
While the coffee is steeping, you can either leave the container at room temperature or place it in the fridge. This process should take between 12 and 16 hours so that all the flavours can be extracted.
Step 4: Serve
Pour your cold brew into a glass cup over some ice and enjoy. We suggest adding milk, sugar, or sweetened condensed milk if you want a sweeter drink. To avoid undissolved sugar grits in your coffee, try making a simple syrup (heated water and sugar).
Cold Brew Coffee Tips
In order to make a delicious glass of cold brew, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you are using the correct grind on your coffee beans, this means using a coarse grind that looks almost like sea salt.
- Don’t steep the beans too long or the coffee will turn bitter. The rule of thumb is between 12 to 18 hours.
- Use cold filtered water. Your coffee grounds should never be in contact with hot water.
- In order to get a smooth cold brew coffee, filter the coffee through a paper filter or a fine mesh. This step gets rid of all the particles and excess oils in the brew so that they don’t end up in your cup. I tend to strain it first through a mesh and then use a paper filter to make sure it is sediment-free.
- Cold brew coffee tastes great with ice and a splash of milk. Don’t be afraid to experiment and add some sweeteners as well.
I like my cold brew coffee with soda water because it adds a great punch with the bubbles.
Cold Brew Coffee FAQ
Is cold brew stronger than regular coffee?
Yes, cold brew coffee is much stronger than regular coffee. It also has more caffeine than a cup of coffee due to the immersion method that is used. Regular coffee is brewed with hot water whereas cold brew is made with cold water and steeped for a long period of time, resulting in a brew that is stronger than regular coffee.
What is the ratio of coffee to water for cold brew?
Cold brew coffee is usually brewed as a coffee concentrate. We suggest using a ratio of 1:5 (one part coffee for every 5 parts of water). Some people like their cold brew concentrate a little lighter and might go up to a 1:10 ratio depending on the preferred strength. The advantage is that the ratio can be flexible depending on the size of the batch you want to make.
Do you need a special coffee maker for cold brew?
If you want to make cold brew coffee there is no special machine or equipment required. There is some equipment in the market that will make it easier for you to achieve this type of coffee but those are not necessary. All you need is ground coffee, a container and some filters in order to make some great cold-brewed coffee.
How do you make cold brew without a cold brew machine?
In a glass pitcher or large mason jar place coarse ground coffee and add cold water. Mix the coffee in order to make sure that all the grounds are wet and let it steep either in the freezer or at room temperature. Depending on how strong you want your cold brew, you can leave it for 12 to 18 hours. Some leave it up to 24 hours but we suggest starting with less. After the desired time has passed, strain the coffee through a paper filter and into an empty container.
What are the advantages of using a cold brew coffee maker?
Most cold brew makers have an in-filter system that makes it easier if you do not have a coffee filter or a mesh laying around. This results in a drink free of sediments. These devices tend to yield about 6 cups of coffee and can quicken the process by half due to their mechanics. As mentioned above, using a machine is not necessary but can make the process a bit faster.
Why is my cold brew coffee gritty?
Your cold brew might be gritty if the coffee is too fine instead of being coarsely ground. This can result in a coffee that has been extracted unevenly. Make sure your grounds resemble the texture of sea salt in order to create a great tasting brew.
Cold Brew Coffee Recipe
Cold brew coffee is super easy to make at home. This coffee is a great refreshing drink for the summer months and a serving of concentrate can yield several cups of a lighter brew.
Keywords: Coffee, Cold Brew, Iced Coffee, Iced Latte, Drip Coffee
Recipe Yield: 5
Preparation Time: PT5M
Cooking Time: PT16H
Total Time: PT16H5M
- Coffee grounds
- French press or a mason jar
- Cold water
- Measuring cup
- Coffee filters or fine mesh
- Stiring spoon
- Milk (optional)
Recipe Instructions: Step 1: Grind - coarse consistency Step 2: Combine with water - cold filtered water Step 3: Steep - 12 to 18 hours Step 4: Serve - option to add milk, sugar, or other sweetener