How To Make Cold Brew Coffee - Making cold brew coffee: Nothing could be simpler
But no, I’m not talking about iced coffee; iced coffee is just regular hot coffee cooled and served with ice, with the same acidic and bitter taste. I’m talking more about that type of coffee drink brewed in a way that is unique and different from others and has a very distinctive gentle taste, called cold brew coffee.
Very few other drinks can compare to that satisfying feeling of taking a sip of that cold caffeine goodness. Fortunately, you don’t have to always get in the car and swing by a Starbucks or your favorite local coffee shop to get a cup like that, and you can really save yourself the trouble with some homemade cold brew coffee. But how to make cold brew coffee?
Don’t break a sweat; the secret technique behind Starbucks’ – as well as other big coffee shop brands’ – famous cold brewed coffee might be simpler than you thought and already be at your fingertips. With only some coffee beans to grind, a jar, and an overnight soak in the fridge – things likely already available in your own kitchen – you can easily treat yourself to a Starbucks-style cold brew at home that will definitely give them a run for their money!
Things you will need:
Makes: 2 quarts
✛ You will obviously need coffee first, and lots of it. For this recipe, we’re aiming for 8 ounces (227 g) of fresh coffee beans.
✛ You will also need some cool water. For this recipe, we’re using 8 cups (1.8 L) of clean, preferably filtered water, at a ratio of 1 ounce of coffee per 1 cup of water.
✛ French press (optional)
✛ 2 big mason jars, or jars with airtight lids
✛ A piece of cheesecloth
Cold brew coffee tastes incredibly wonderful, with its gentle flavor and low acidity and bitterness. This method will not only aim to reproduce that incredible taste, but also aim for a brew with a longer shelf life which can be made in many big batches. Ready? Let’s go!
Step 1: Prepare the coffee beans
Grind the coffee beans thoroughly in the coffee grinder until they turn into coarsely ground coffee. Make sure the coffee beans are clean and dry. If the coffee beans exceed the capacity of the machine, just divide them into several batches. Make sure the end product is as coarse as raw sugar.
The reason why we are using fresh coffee beans instead of store-prepared ground coffee is because fresh coffee beans contain much more flavor compared to store-prepared ground coffee. Also, if you are using a French press, you would need a coarser grind than usual.
Step 2: Mix the coffee and water
Put the ground coffee into either a container or a French press, then add water. For a good ratio, you need to add 1 cup of water for every ounce of coffee. You can experiment with different ratios to find your preferred coffee taste; for example, if you like the coffee to taste a bit stronger, you can go with a ratio of 2 ounces of coffee per 1 cup of water.
But for this recipe, we will assume a ratio of 1 ounce of coffee per 1 cup of water will be suitable. Remember to pour the water in slowly and preferably in a circular motion.
Step 3: Stir the mixture
Gently stir to mix them together until perfectly combined into a mixture, then let it rest. The coffee inside will float to the top when it’s completely stilled, but that’s fine. Just make sure that all of the coffee touches and gets submerged in the water.
If you decide to use a French press, you do not need to stir, but do make sure the coffee still gets completely wet. Use the back of a spoon (to prevent sticking) to gently push the coffee down if necessary.
Step 4: Keep refrigerated overnight
Cover the container with a lid, or put the top on if a French press was used. Then put it in the fridge from 12 up to 24 hours, preferably overnight. Make sure not to rush this step, otherwise you will get a very light, watery blend that only slightly tastes like coffee.
Comparable to hot brewing techniques, cold brewing utilizes time instead of heat to obtain the desired coffee concentrate. Soaking the coffee for at least half a day will naturally release the oils and flavors inside the beans without leaking the acidity and bitterness.
Step 5: Extracting the concentrate
Take out the coffee from the fridge. Place a piece of cheesecloth over a fine-mesh strainer on top of a large measuring cup. Slowly pour the coffee-water mixture through the strainer. Depending on the capacity, you might need to strain in several batches.
Do not squeeze the coffee in the cheesecloth, as doing so would make the extracted coffee concentrate more bitter and acidic. If using a French press, you don’t need to use a strainer and can use the metal screen installed in the French press, but a secondary filter like a piece of cheesecloth is still recommended.
Step 6: Prepare for storage
After that, put the extracted coffee concentrate in a clean container, seal it tight and keep refrigerated for long-term storage. This concentrate can last for up to 2 weeks if properly kept.
Do remember that the brew you obtained is heavily concentrated, and should be diluted when serving. And of course, do remember to handle the concentrate with care after each use for the best possible shelf lifetime. You don’t want to ruin your long and hard work, right?
Step 7: Enjoy your result
When serving, pour ½ cup of the coffee concentrate into a long glass along with water, add ice if needed, and then stir. After that, add your favorite coffee cream or milk as necessary. Now, your great summer refreshment is ready to serve! Take a sip, enjoy the sun, and start thinking about how you would go and spend the rest of this beautiful sunny summer day!
PROTIPS FOR BETTER BREWING:
➻ Grinding the coffee to the right level: Unlike normal brewing, the cold brew technique requires a very specific type of ground coffee. Grinding the coffee to a coarseness level closer to raw sugar prevents the coffee from getting too bitter when soaking overnight. It’s better to grind the beans in small batches instead of in one go.
➻ Experimenting with a higher coffee-to-water ratio: The recipe above utilizes a standard ratio of 1 ounce of ground coffee per 1 cup of water, making it easier to scale the ratio up or down. Drip coffee only uses ½ ounce of ground coffee per 1 cup of water.
➻ Gently straining and never squeezing: What makes the Starbucks coffee so beloved is their Toddy System, which utilizes gravity to gently and naturally separate the cold brew from the coffee. While you lack the exact tools to do it like Starbucks does, you can mimic the technique at home by using a cheesecloth and a strainer to gently extract the cold brew. Strain in batches for the best control. After finishing, remember to never squeeze the ground coffee in the cheesecloth, as that will make the coffee concentrate bitter.
➻ Avoid using a coffee filter: While you can technically use a coffee filter to extract the cold brew, it’s comparably slower than the cheesecloth method, and you’re also risking the filtering paper being torn, creating more of a mess and extra work to clean up that you could have avoided altogether.
So, how did you enjoy the tutorial? Did you see how simple the recipe is? Are you feeling like making some cold brew coffee yet? The secret to making the best of that summer cold caffeine goodness on par with the most famous coffee brands is now resting in your hands! Let’s get brewing!
I really love making cold brew coffee. It’s among one of the easiest and most flexible brewing methods, and despite its time-consuming nature, the end result is definitely worth the trouble and anyone can do it at their leisure and in their own home. And you definitely don’t need a cold brew coffee maker to help you make it at all!
The best part is you can decide to make it on one of your weekends and enjoy the rest of the following week with your own fresh, homemade and conveniently-ready-for-those-busy-mornings cup of cold brew coffee, without having to do any extra work.
Now for some FAQs:
#1- Are iced coffee and cold brew coffee the same?
No, and no if I have to repeat again. As explained above, cold brew coffee uses a very different brewing method from most other coffee drinks, using cold water and time instead of hot water to make the coffee concentrate. Iced coffee is just traditionally hot brewed coffee cooled down and served with ice.
#2- What’s the difference between a cup of hot brew coffee and cold brew coffee?
The most obvious difference between them, even showing in their name, is the different temperatures used in each method, which yield very different cups of coffee as a result. In terms of taste, because cold brew coffee uses cool water instead of hot water to brew, it has less acidity and bitterness than hot brew coffee, giving the drink a lighter taste.
Another difference is the time needed to prepare each of them. Hot coffee can be prepared in a variety of ways, from manually brewing to using a brewing machine, both of which should only take a couple of minutes. Cold brew coffee, however, takes at least 12 hours to make.
#3- Can I enjoy my cold brew coffee by heating it up?
Yes, you can, if that’s your “cup of tea.” The “cold” in cold brew coffee is only needed when you are brewing it; after that’s done, you can heat your cold brew coffee up to enjoy, and the taste will still be pretty much the same.
#4- How long can cold brew coffee be kept?
While undiluted, cold brew coffee can be kept refrigerated and stored for as long as 2 weeks in a completely air-sealed container (like a mason jar). However, if milk or sweet cream is added to it, it will drastically reduce the shelf life to just within a few days. This is why it is more advisable to serve each cup of cold brew coffee fresh and save the concentrate in the fridge.
#5- Does cold brew coffee have more caffeine?
The answer is yes; whether it be a blessing or a curse, cold brew coffee contains more caffeine than other coffee drinks. Due to the brewing method used to create cold brew coffee – leaving the coffee exposed to the water for a very long time – cold brew coffee also contains the highest concentration level of caffeine among other coffee beverages.
#6- Can I steep the cold brew at room temperature instead of in the fridge?
Yes you can, but the end goal of cold brew coffee is to get as little acidity and bitterness as possible while still enjoying other solubles in the coffee. Keeping the cold brew refrigerated will minimize the acidity and bitterness that leaks into the coffee, ensuring that signature light taste and gentle flavor you’re looking for.