Cold brew coffee is coffee brewed without hot water. It’s a concentrate that is then diluted with water or milk. The advantage of cold brew is that it’s less acidic than regular coffee, which many people find more palatable.
Cold brew is also super easy to make at home, and all you need is some coarsely ground coffee and a vessel to steep it in. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to making cold brew coffee.
Steps for Making Cold Brew Coffee
Making cold brew concentrate at home is super easy and only requires two ingredients: coarsely ground coffee and water. Simply mix these two ingredients together and let them steep for 12-18 hours before straining out the grounds using a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
You can enjoy your cold brew concentrate on its own or diluted with water or milk—however you like it! Experiment with steeping times and ratios of grounds to water until you find a cold brew recipe that suits your taste buds perfectly!
Step One: Coarsely Grind Coffee Beans
The first step to making cold brew coffee is to grind your beans coarsely. The grounds should look like coarse cornmeal, not a fine powder. This is important because if the grounds are too fine, they will over-extract and make your coffee taste bitter.
Conversely, if the grounds are too coarse, they will under-extract and make your coffee taste weak. Luckily, most coffee grinders have a setting for coarse grinding, which is usually the same grinding setting for French Press coffee.
If you don’t have a grinder, you can always ask your local barista to grind the beans for you.
Step Two: Combine with Water
Once you have your coarsely ground beans, it’s time to combine them with water.
- First, find a vessel that is large enough to hold the beans and water at the ratio you choose. I usually use a large quart glass measuring cup, but a bowl or pitcher would work just as well.
- Second, pour the water over the top of the beans.
- Finally, stir gently with a long-handled spoon to make sure the grounds are thoroughly saturated with water. You can also use a spoon to gently press the grounds down and ensure that all of the grounds are wet.
Step Three: Steep for 12-18 Hours
Now it’s time to let the cold brew steep. I like to let my cold brew concentrate steep for 12-18 hours, but you can adjust this time depending on your preferences.
Just keep in mind that the longer you let it steep, the stronger the flavor will be. Once the steeping time is up, simply strain out the grounds using a cheesecloth or coffee filter and enjoy!
Why Overnight Steeping is Important
When you brew coffee using hot water, the brewing process takes place quickly and the coffee is ready to drink soon after it’s done brewing. With cold brew coffee,
The brewing process happens slowly for 12 to 24 hours. This extended brewing time gives the coffee plenty of time to develop its flavors and results in a cup of coffee that has a richer, more complex flavor than traditional brewed coffee.
Moreover, because the brewing process happens slowly at a low temperature, cold brew coffee is less acidic than its hot-brewed counterpart, making it easier on your stomach if you’re sensitive to acidity.
Step Four: Strain and Filter the cold brew Coffee
Straining and filtering your cold brew coffee is an important step in the brewing process. By removing the grounds, you’ll make your cold brew more smooth and palatable. There are a few different ways that you can do this, including using a strainer, sieve, or French press.
The most common way is to simply pour the coffee through a strainer. A fine mesh coffee strainer will work well for this purpose. Another option is to use a fine mesh sieve in conjunction with a fine cloth like cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
If you have a French press, you can use that to filter out the grounds. Whichever method you choose, make sure that you strain or filter your cold brew coffee before adding any water or milk so that you don’t end up with clumps in your drink.
Step Five: Storing Your Cold Brew
The best way to store cold brew coffee is in a pitcher or carafe with a lid. This will prevent the coffee from becoming oxidized, which can cause it to become bitter and less palatable over time. When stored properly in a sealed container, cold brew coffee will last for up to two weeks.
Step Six: Serve the cold-brew coffee
When it comes to cold brew coffee, there are two schools of thought on how it should be served. Some people prefer to serve it over ice, while others prefer to serve it warm.
Both methods have their benefits. Serving cold brew over ice helps to keep the drink from becoming watered down. As the ice melts, it releases its water into the coffee, diluting the flavor.
Serving cold brew warm helps to bring out its inherent sweetness. If you microwave cold brew for a minute or two, you can enjoy all of the flavors without any bitterness.
No matter how you like your cold brew, serving it with a little bit of milk or cream can help to round out the flavors and make it even more enjoyable.
Cold Brew Coffee: Why You Should Make It at Home
There are lots of reasons why cold brew has become so popular in recent years—it’s simple and cheap to make at home, saves time, and has a smooth non-bitter flavor. Plus, since it’s less acidic than regular drip coffee, it might even have some health benefits. So if haven’t already, give the cold brew a try —you might just end up becoming a convert!
If you’re thinking of making the switch from regular coffee to cold brew, or if you’re simply curious about what all the fuss is about, read on to learn more about why you should try making cold brew coffee at home.
1. It’s Super Simple to Make
One of the best things about cold brew coffee is that it’s very easy to make at home. You don’t need any special equipment, just a container (like a mason jar) and some coffee filters.
Simply grind your coffee beans, mix them with water, and let the mixture sit overnight. In the morning, strain the coffee using a filter, and voila—you’ve got cold brew concentrate that you can dilute with water or milk to your desired strength.
2. It Saves You Money
If you’re used to buying your coffee from a cafe every day, making cold brew at home can save you a lot of money in the long run.
A pound of coffee beans costs around $8 on average and depending on how much concentrate you make, that can last you up to 2 weeks. That means each cup of cold brew concentrate costs around $0.20—a far cry from the $3-$4 you might pay for a cup of cold brew from a cafe.
3. It Saves You Time
Another great benefit of making cold brew at home is that it’s very easy to make a big batch all at once and then store it in the fridge for later.
This saves you time because you won’t have to make coffee every day, and it’s also more convenient because you can grab a cup whenever you want without having to wait for your coffee to brew. All you need to do is add water or milk to your concentrate when you’re ready to drink it.
4. No Bitter Flavor
Cold brew is known for its characteristically smooth, non-bitter flavor, which is because brewing coffee with hot water causes bitterness-inducing compounds like oils and acids to be released from the beans. When you make cold brew, these compounds aren’t released, so you get all the flavor without any bitterness.
5. You Can Customize It However You Like
Since cold brew is made by steeping grounds in water for an extended period of time, it’s very concentrated. This means that when you dilute it with water or milk.
You have total control over how strong or weak your final drink will be—unlike with regular drip coffee where the ratio of grounds to water is fixed. So if you like your coffee weak or strong, now you can easily make it exactly how YOU like it.
6. Cold Brew Health Benefits
In addition to being delicious and convenient, cold brew might also have some health benefits thanks to its lower acidity levels. Lower acidity means that cold brew is easier on your stomach and might cause fewer gastrointestinal issues like heartburn and indigestion compared to regular coffee— although this isn’t conclusive since everyone’s tolerances are different. If you have a sensitive stomach, cold brew might be worth a try.
3 recipes for cold brew coffee to get you through summer
Cold brew coffee is the perfect drink for hot summer days. It’s refreshing, and invigorating, and can be made ahead of time so you can enjoy it all week long. If you’re new to cold brewing, or just looking for some new ideas, check out these three recipes.
Classic Cold Brew Coffee
This recipe is simple, and straightforward, and results in a delicious cup of coffee that isn’t too strong or too weak. All you need is coarsely ground coffee and water.
To make, combine 1 part coffee with 4 parts cold water in a jar or other container. Stir well and let steep overnight (or for at least 12 hours). In the morning, strain the coffee using a cheesecloth or paper filter and enjoy! If desired, add milk, sugar, or other flavorings to taste.
Iced Latte Cold Brew Coffee
This recipe is perfect for those who want their cold brew to be a little sweeter and more decadent. It’s also super easy to make – all you need is cold brew concentrate (which you can either make yourself or buy at most grocery stores), milk, ice, and vanilla extract.
To make, combine 2 parts cold brew concentrate with 1 part milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a glass. Add ice and stir until combined. That’s it! You can adjust the proportions to suit your tastes – if you like your iced latte on the sweeter side, add more vanilla extract or use sweetened condensed milk instead of regular milk.
Vietnamese-Style Cold Brew Coffee
This recipe is for cold brew purists who want a strong cup of coffee without any added flavors. Vietnamese-style cold brew is ultra-concentrated and incredibly smooth, thanks to the slow brewing process and the addition of sweetened condensed milk.
To make, combine 1 part coarsely ground coffee with 2 parts sweetened condensed milk and 4 parts water in a jar or other container. Stir well and let steep overnight (or for at least 12 hours). In the morning, strain the coffee using a cheesecloth or paper filter and enjoy! No need to add anything else – this cup of coffee is perfect just the way it is.