Home » How Long to Steep Cold Brew? (2023) The Perfect Time Unveiled!

How Long to Steep Cold Brew? (2024) The Perfect Time Unveiled!

Cold brew coffee has become hugely popular in recent years thanks to its smooth taste and lower acidity levels. If you’re new to cold brewing, you might be wondering how long you should steep your coffee for the best results.

Cold brew coffee is a refreshing, summer beverage that can be enjoyed hot or iced. But how long should you steep cold brew coffee to get the perfect cup? Here are a few things to consider when deciding how long to steep your cold brew. Read on to learn more!

Cold Brew Steeping Time Recommendations

We recommend stepping the cold brew for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. This will result in a flavorful cup of coffee that is not too strong or overly bitter. If you prefer a weaker cup of coffee, you can shorten the steeping time to 8 hours. However, we do not recommend steeping for longer than 24 hours as the coffee will become too strong and bitter.

If you’re looking for a strong and flavorful cold brew coffee, steep your coffee for around 18 hours. This will extract more of the coffee’s oils and flavors, resulting in a smoother and richer taste. Keep in mind that steeping for too long can result in a bitter brew, so make sure to taste your coffee regularly during the steeping process. Once it reaches the desired flavor, remove the grounds and enjoy your delicious cold brew!


If you choose to refrigerate your cold brew, we recommend doing so for at least 16 hours. This will help preserve the flavor of the coffee and keep it from going bad too quickly. However, if you do not have time to refrigerate your cold brew, you can step it at room temperature for 12 hours and it will still be safe to drink.

Looking to explore Nitro Cold Brew vs. Cold Brew methods? Unveil the secrets behind their brewing techniques and choose your favorite. Learn more: Nitro Cold Brew vs. Cold Brew Methods Unveiled.

French press or other immersion brewing style

If you are using a French press or other immersion brewing method, we recommend steeping your cold brew for around 18 hours. This will result in a stronger and smoother flavor. If you do not have time to let your cold brew steep for this long, you can still enjoy a delicious cup of coffee by steeping it for 8-12 hours. Just be aware that the flavor will not be as smooth or well-rounded as it would be if you let it steep for 18 hours.

The Sweet Spot for Cold Brew Coffee Steeping Time

As with most things in life, finding the perfect cold brew steeping time is all about trial and error. Depending on how strong you like your coffee and what flavors you’re looking for, you’ll want to experiment with different steeping times until you find what works best for you. That said, here are a few general guidelines to get you started:

  • 10 hours: For a weaker flavor and milder acidity levels, aim for a steeping time of 10 hours. Keep in mind that the shorter your brew time, the more watery your coffee will be.
  • 15 hours: If you’re looking for an acceptable cold brew flavor, aim for a minimum steeping time of 15 hours. This is typically the sweet spot for most cold brew recipes.
  • 18 hours: For a super smooth cup of coffee, shoot for 18 hours of steeping. After about 18 hours, your coffee will start to lose some of its bitterness and take on a richer flavor.
  • 18-20 hours( the sweet spot): For the best cold brew taste, aim for a steeping time of 18-20 hours. This is where flavors really start to shine, resulting in an amazing cup of coffee. Just be careful not to let it steep for too long or else it will become too strong.
  • 24 hours: And finally, if you’re looking for a cup of coffee with bold flavors, go ahead and let it steep for 24 hours. Just keep in mind that this will result in a very strong cup of coffee.

As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to cold brew steeping time. It all depends on your personal preferences and what flavors you’re looking for. So go ahead and experiment until you find what works best for you! We hope this guide has been helpful—happy brewing!

Steeping cold brew to perfection is an art. But did you know the water-to-coffee ratio plays a pivotal role? Unravel the Extraction Process & Coffee Ratios for the ultimate cold brew experience.

Mastering the art of cold brew steeping? Dive deeper into the coffee realm by comparing Cold Brew Extraction Vs. Iced Coffee. Discover the intricacies behind each method and elevate your brewing exp.

Unlocking the secrets of steeping cold brew? Don’t miss our guide on the perfect cold brew coffee ratio. Find the balance for a sublime brew every time!

Perfecting your cold brew steeping time? Discover how Starbucks nails it every time with our Starbucks Cold Brew Steeping Time guide. Unlock the secrets to that iconic taste!

Why Cold Brew Needs Time to Steep

Cold brew coffee is a refreshing treat on a hot summer day, but did you know that making cold brew takes care of some important business under the hood? Without the heat used in most coffee brewing methods, the water needs a lot of time to pull flavor and caffeine out of the beans.

This is why cold brew needs to steep for at least 12 hours—any less than that and you’ll end up with a weak, watery brew that lacks flavor and can be astringent. Keep reading to learn more about why cold brew needs time to steep and how it affects the taste of your coffee.

How Cold Brew Works

In order to understand why cold brew needs time to steep, we need to first understand how cold brew works. Essentially, cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds at room-temperature or cold water for an extended period of time. Because there is no heat involved in this process, the coffee extractions happen much more slowly than they do with other brewing methods.

As the water sits with the coffee grounds, it slowly begins to pull out all of the dissolved solids—this includes everything from flavor molecules and oils to caffeine. The longer the coffee steeps, the more of these dissolved solids will be extracted from the beans.

That’s why it’s so important to let your cold brew steep for at least 12 hours; any less than that and you won’t get all of the flavor and caffeine that’s hiding inside those beans.

Taste is Important, Too!

Not only does cold brew need time to properly extract all of the good stuff from the beans, but it also needs time to develop a complex flavor profile. If you’ve ever had a cup of cold brew that tastes weak and watered-down, it’s likely because it wasn’t given enough time to steep.

When cold brew is properly made, it should have a rich, robust flavor that stands up well on its own or with milk and sugar added.

The next time you make a batch of cold brew coffee, make sure to give it plenty of time to steep. Your taste buds (and your caffeinated brain) will thank you!

Over-Extracted Cold Brew: What Happens If You Steep For Too Long?

We all know that cold brew coffee is delicious. But what happens if you steep your cold brew for too long? Will it still taste good?

The answer is no—if you steep your cold brew for more than 24 hours, you’ll get over-extracted coffee. This means that the coffee will be bitter and have an unpleasant flavor. So, how can you avoid over-extracting your cold brew? Keep reading to find out!

How to Avoid Over-Extracting Your Cold Brew

There are a few simple tips you can follow to avoid over-extracting your cold brew:

1. Use fresh, quality beans: If your beans are old or of poor quality, they’ll be more likely to over-extract. Make sure to use fresh, quality beans for the best results.

2. Steep for no more than 24 hours: This is the golden rule of cold brew—don’t steep for more than 24 hours, or you’ll end up with an over-extracted, bitter beverage.

3. Use a coarse grind: A coarse grind will extract less flavor from the beans than a fine grind will. This means that your coffee won’t be as strong, but it also won’t be as bitter.

4. Use filtered water: Just like with any other type of coffee, using filtered water will result in a better-tasting beverage. Filtered water will remove any impurities that could affect the flavor of your coffee.

5. Adjust the ratio of coffee to water: If you use more coffee than the recommended ratio, your coffee will be stronger and more likely to over-extract. Make sure to use the correct ratio of coffee to water for the best results.

6. Store your cold brew properly: Once you’ve made your cold brew, make sure to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Storing it properly will help preserve its flavor and prevent it from going bad too quickly.

following these simple tips will help you avoid over-extracting your cold brew and ruining its flavor. Be sure to use fresh beans, don’t steep for longer than 24 hours, and use a coarse grind for the best results.


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    Born in New Orleans in 1990, Andrew Georgiadis brings a rich blend of experience to Coffeescan.com. Inspired by his travels, he designed a unique coffee mug line. A USC Public Relations grad with a Culinary Arts Certification, he’s also an IACP Award recipient. His journey is marked by a rare mountain coffee discovery and a passion for sustainable coffee practices. Andrew’s brew method of choice? The Chemex, valued for its clarity and elegance.

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    Portland-born Matthew Bash is the Senior Coffee Editor for Coffeescan.com. A Columbia grad in Food Journalism and a certified Q Grader by CQI, his passion for coffee runs deep, from barista expertise to Webby-winning content. Iced Latte enthusiast, he ensures authentic coffee insights for readers.