Even though it’s now mid-February and winter is winding down doesn’t mean it’s too early in the year for cold brewed coffee. Yeah, obviously a big cup of cold brew is great on a summer day, but cold brew is also amazing when you heat it up! More on that later, first though, let’s answer the question: is making cold brew worth it?
For me, and a lot of coffee lovers, the answer is YES! Making cold brew is totally worth it. I look at it this way, most commercially cold brew is either expensive and/or it’s cheap and tastes awful. It’s totally worth it because I can make small batches of different bean roasts and flavors without much effort. You can also keep it in the fridge for around two weeks if it’s not diluted.
Many sites will try to tell you that you need some sort of special brewing system to make cold brew, but there is no truth to that. If you have something like a french press, for example, that’s all you need. Before I get into all things cold brew, you should know that this style of brewing has been evolving for centuries.
Even though cold brewed coffee has become more and more popular over the past ten years, there have been versions of this amazing way of brewing coffee since the 1600s. Way back then it was known by the name Dutch coffee. The Dutch made a version of cold brew coffee concentrate that sailors would bring on long journeys. It was nowhere near the cold brew of today, more like sludge. They could then mix the “concentrate” cold coffee with some hot water for a cup of “something” warm during the difficult journeys.
What Do I Need To Make Cold Brew At Home
- Coarse ground coffee
- A Pitcher with a lid
- A filter
- A strainer to hold your filter
I’ve got an easy cold brew recipe a little further down in the article, but before I get to it, there are a few things I want to cover first.
What is cold brewed coffee?
Cold brew coffee is nothing more than ground coffee steeped in water for about 12 hours and then filtered. As the name suggests, is not about the final way to serve it, but the process of brewing. Cold brew coffee is usually brewed using lukewarm water but can be brewed using cold water also. After the cold brew process, the coffee ends up with as much as 70% less acidity and depending on the beans, as much twice the caffeine as regular coffee.
What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?
Iced coffee is nothing more than hot brewed (regular) coffee that gets poured over ice. What you get with iced coffee is weaker tasting coffee because of the melting ice diluting your coffee
What Is The Ratio For Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
I am going to go over this again, but the basic ratio for how to make cold brew coffee is 1 ounce of coffee to 1 cup of water. Now with that being said, you may want to make adjustments for your particular taste. All you would need to do is add more coffee for a stronger taste or add a little more water for a little less strong taste for your brew.
This 1oz coffee to 1 cup of water ratio makes a pretty stout cold brew concentrate, so I suggest you try a small batch and then adjust from there.
One of the best things about being able to brew a batch of cold brew is how much time I can save, especially in the mornings. Brewing a batch on a Friday night and filtering it on Saturday morning is perfect because I’ll have coffee that’s ready to go for up to 2 weeks.
Lastly, even if all you have is some random all-purpose ground coffee you can still make a decent pot of cold brew. You don’t have to have expensive beans and a fancy cold brew maker.
What Coffee Beans To Use For Cold Brewing?
Between dark and medium roasted beans is the sweet spot for cold brew. They tend to work best because of the long-brewing process but don’t let that stop you from experimenting. You can totally use whatever you want to.
I should note when you cold brew coffee you’ll be bringing out different flavors from the beans and will get a different taste than when hot brewed.
Light roasts, which tend to have a higher acidity, tend not to work as well because they need hot water to bring out the brightness as well as the floral and fruity flavors. When they are cold-brewed their flavor tends to be suppressed and the taste tends to be awfully dull. This is not always the case but happens more often than not.
Is Cold Brew Easy To Make?
YES! Cold brew coffee is incredibly easy to make. You don’t need much to do it as I mentioned at the start of the article. All you need other than ground coffee and water is time. Aside from the long-brewing time, filtering out all the grounds and sediment can also take time, but by no means is difficult. There are plenty of brewing systems you can buy that help with the time it takes to filter, but no matter how you do it, it is going to take time.
How To Cold Brew Coffee Easy
- Coffee Beans – Shop Coffee at Amazon
Whole bean coffee is best, but in a pinch you can use just about any ground coffee**
- Water (preferably filtered) – Shop Water Filters at Amazon
**freshly ground coffee beans are by far the best when it comes to the overall taste of your cold brew coffee. **
If you want to use fresh ground beans, but don’t have a grinder at home don’t worry. Many specialty coffee stores and a lot of grocery stores have grinders you can use when you buy your coffee. If asked by a clerk or attendant, let them know you need coarse grind or french press grind.
Like I mentioned above, the ratio I’ve found that works best for cold brew coffee is 1oz (28g) ground coffee to 1 cup (240g/ml) of water.
For the most part, when I make a batch of cold brew I use 3oz (85g) ground coffee and 3 cups (720g/ml) filtered water. After brewing what I’m left with is a little more than 2.5 cups (590 g/ml) of fantastic concentrated cold brew coffee. That concentrate will equal out to about 4 or 5 cups when diluted with water or milk.
What you need to make Cold Brew
- Unless you have a cold brew pitcher or cold brew drip set up you are going to need something to put the coffee and water in.
- A french press works great for making cold brew
- A bottle or a jar, with a lid, if you’ve got one, works just fine.
- A second bottle or jar with a lid, to dump your cold brew into during the filtering process.
- A filter like cheesecloth, cotton flour sack, a handkerchief, or just plain old paper coffee filters.
- A strainer to hold your filter.
How to make cold brew coffee step by step
Step 1. Grind the coffee beans coarsely
your final grind should resemble cornmeal, but not be a fine powder.
Step 2. Add Coffee Grounds and Water
Dump your coffee grounds into your container and then slowly add the water.
Once all the water has been added, stir with a long spoon. You want to stir long enough to make sure all the coffee grounds are completely soaked.
Step 3. Cover it up
If you have a lid, put it on. If not you can use a plate, saran wrap, a rubber band, or whatever is handy to keep out anything floating around the air like dust…or in some cases, bugs. You can leave it out on the table, counter, or in the fridge. The choice is up to you. I personally put it in the fridge to keep it out of the way.
Step 4. Brewing Time
I have read that you should let your cold brew soak for a minimum of 12 hours. Now with that being said, Starbucks brews theirs for 20 hours. Most of the time when I make cold brew I tend to let it for 18 to 20 hours. To find your perfect tasting cold brew you might need to experiment a little with steeping times, but I would say never less than 12 hours.
Step 5. Strain your cold brew
Once your steeping time is done, you’ve got to get all those grounds out of your delicious cold brew. A strainer and a filter of some type work best. A sieve or the filter in your french press just won’t cut it. A lot of recipes for cold brew coffee call for cheesecloth and I’m sure it works great, but I’ve never used it. The one filter I’ve always used is something I’ve pretty much always got on hand anyway, coffee filters.
Grab your strainer or sieve and filter. Put your filter in the strainer and set it on top of your second container. Pour slowly, you can easily end up with a mess if you pour too fast. You don’t need to rush this part. Let all the cold brew filter out until it slows to a slow drip.
Step 6. Enjoy!
You can enjoy it by warming it up in the microwave or by pouring over ice. Also if needed, dilute with milk or water or any other way you might prefer it your homemade cold brew.
Keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. As long as your finished brew is not diluted with water or milk it will be fine.
Why Does Cold Brewing Take So Long
As I mentioned above, this is because using cold water takes much more time to extract everything from the ground-up coffee beans. Normally, brewing takes between 12 to 20 hours. That’s a huge difference compared to the 4 minutes of steeping in a french press. With that being said, this process of cold brew coffee extraction lets out fewer of the bitter compounds in coffee beans. Overall this makes it a whole lot smoother as compared to regular coffee.
Does Cold Brew Coffee Taste Good Hot
Personally, I love cold brew when it is COLD…with a lot of milk, but you can also heat it up and serve it hot. The taste is basically the same whether it’s hot or cold. What I really love about cold brew is that you can save it in the fridge for when you need a quick cup, but don’t feel like making a pot drip coffee.
Is A French Press Good For Cold Brew?
Yes, a French Press is one of the best ways to make a small batch cold brew in my opinion.
Both hot French press coffee and Cold brew coffee are immersion brewing methods using a French press is perfect because the solid filter and scree make filtering cold brew super easy. For a specific French press cold brew recipe check out our post on all things related to the French press.
Concluding Is Making Cold Brew Worth It
My hope is that you got some good information about brewing in the cold brew style from the post. I think the only thing I can suggest is to try cold brewing with different beans, roasts, and ratios until you find your perfect cold brew style. If you made it this far and found that cold brewing isn’t for you or are looking for more coffee info check out our post on stovetop espresso or our post on easy pour-over coffee.