If you're a fan of cold brew coffee, you might be wondering how to make this refreshing drink from home, without the hassle. With this installment of the Brew How-To blog, delicious cold brew is just three easy steps away!
Not only will you save loads of cash doing so versus buying it at the cafe, you'll also get to experiment and enjoy the process. That's a smart move.
How's It Made?
The cold brew extraction method lets the variety of flavors slowly seep into the water, leaving behind the more sour and bitter components. This results in a nuttier, sweeter, and less acidic cup of coffee than most other methods. Plus, this drink is a great way to cool off on a hot day!
Here's what you'll need:
Which Kind of Beans Work Best for Cold Brew?
We recommend trying your favorite coffee beans for cold brew, as the best beans to use will always come down to personal preference. If you'd like somewhere to start, check out our signature Cold Brew blend.
You might try out a wide variety of beans to see which makes your favorite glass of cold brew. If you go this route, we suggest any medium or dark roast coffee. Cold brew tends out to bring out more chocolatey, nutty, and smokey flavors, and darker roasts will compliment those attributes.
From the soil and elevation to the coffee bean, to how it was stored and brewed, there are many variables that result in how a cup of hot coffee tastes. But cold brew is far more forgiving, and less complex with its flavor profile (though still so tasty). So if you realize that a bag of your favorite coffee is going stale, use it for a batch of cold brew instead of tossing it out. Then buy yourself some new beans ASAP!
1. Grind Your Beans
Achieving a proper, consistent grind for making cold brew is a crucial first step. Grind the beans too coarse, and not enough flavor will be seeped out of the product and into the brew. Grind them too fine, and you could wind up with an over-extracted brew, possibly even sediment in your glass.
Coarse is the best grind size for cold brew. So make sure to check your grinder settings when preparing a batch. If you order pre-ground, make sure it's a coarse one!
2. Add Water and Wait
If you'd like your cold brew to be finished sooner rather than later, you can add your water and let the brew steep (airtight) at room temperature for 8-12 hours. Naturally, the longer it steeps, the stronger (and more bitter) the brew gets!
If you prepare your batch at night and want a cold drink to wake up to in the morning, steeping in the fridge might be right for you. Since the cold method does take longer, it's recommended to steep this way for 12-24 hours.
Don't let your cold brew steep for over 24 hours with either method. This will ruin the drink, and only produce a harsh, bitter taste.
If it's your first time trying the cold brew method, or your first time trying it with a new type of coffee, I recommend checking on it after 8 hours, then intermittently. A small glass, like a shot glass, will provide the optimal taste sampling experience while you figure your desired brew strength out.
Proper Bean-to-Water Ratio
The coffee-to-water ratio in cold brew coffee is much higher than in other methods -- about twice as high. The exact ratio will come down to your own taste and strength preference, but a good starting point would be 3/4 cups of ground beans (dry measure) to 4 liquid cups of water.
3. Remove the Grounds
Simply remove your grounds from the steeper/pot, and make sure to re-seal the pot as airtight as possible. You're now ready to enjoy an energizing, refreshing drink! Your batch of cold brew will stay fresh and delicious for up to two weeks in the fridge, so enjoy it as slowly as you like.
A Few Tips:
- Avoid pressing or squeezing the grounds, as this will release more of the acidic, sour flavor components. If you'd like a stronger extraction, increase the steeping time instead.
- If you're sensitive to caffeine, consider mixing decaf and regular grounds or simply use this same recipe with decaf beans.
- Letting the batch steep in the fridge will slow down the brewing process. For a quicker extraction, let it sit at room temperature and check its strength at the 12-hour mark.
- Some coffee drinkers swear by the "hot bloom method," in which the coffee beans are prepped by pouring hot water over them before they are ground for cold brew. The idea is to release the more subtle flavors from the beans, which are often missing from the cold brew process. However, the cold brew process also mutes the less desirable (bitter) flavors. Many coffee lovers swear by the hot bloom method, others deny its value. We suggest you try for yourself!
- The method in this article isn't for bulk brewing, it will last about two days for a couple of people who drink about one large cup of cold brew a day. For instructions on bulk brewing, check out this great article by Kitchn.
- If you're willing to spend a little more than the $21 cold brew system listed here, the Toddy system is another popular and quality product, starting at just $35.
What's your favorite method for making cold brew at home? Please share it with us in the comments section below!
Be sure to check out our Cold Brew collection for the best beans possible.
Article by Scott Mason. All images are copyrighted property of the article's author.