Cold Brew coffee is extremely popular, especially in the warmer months. With some simple preparation and a little patience, you can make cold brew at home to leisurely enjoy.
What Is Cold Brew
Cold brew is different from regular iced coffee, as it is a distinct brewing method, just like there are different ways to brew hot coffee. Iced coffee is basically regular brewed coffee at 1:15-1:18 coffee to water ratio, served over ice. With cold brew, the coffee to water ratio is 1:8. Roasted coffee beans are ground and steeped in cold or room temperature water, for anywhere between 12-16 hours. The slow immersion extraction changes the flavor of the same coffee if it were brewed hot, as some of the flavors and characteristics of the roasted beans are not released at low temperatures. People often find cold brew coffee to be less bitter and with lower acidity.
What Equipment Is Needed
If you are currently using a pour over or press to enjoy your coffee, then you can utilize these to make your cold brew or invest in some good and often inexpensive cold brew makers on the market, such as OXO or Toddy.
The main items needed to make cold brew are:
- A vessel to immerse the coffee in water
- Filter to separate the coffee from the brew
- Burr grinder – coarse setting
- Fresh whole bean roasted coffee
- Cold or room temperature water
If you have any glass mason jars or similar, these work well to let the coffee soak overnight, or make it in your French-press and then filter it using your pour over filters (e.g., Chemex) into a clean carafe or large Chemex.
What Coffee is Best for Cold Brew
Any good, fresh coffee can make cold brew. You will get different flavors depending on what you use, such as floral and fruity if you use a light Ethiopian or chocolate, earthy and nutty tones if you use darker roasts, such as Sumatra.
Experiment with blending your own coffees too! Try blending beans such as Colombia and Brazil, or Sumatra and Ethiopia. Mexico and Costa Rica make a good blend. Our Ox Pasture and Turrentine Espresso blends make delicious cold brews, as well as all the coffees we offer! Try making cold brew with your favorite coffee you have on hand. Let us know if you need any help or advice on the blend ratios, as it can sometimes be a lot of trial and error!
How To Make Cold Brew
You can either make ready to drink cold brew or a concentrate. The concentrate will use a stronger coffee to water ratio, resulting in a much higher strength coffee which you simply dilute down with cold water or ice to your taste preference.
Ready to Drink Ratio
Use a ratio of 1:8 coffee to water, for ready to drink cold brew. A 1:8 ratio would be 1 part coffee to 8 parts water, which equates to a half-cup of ground coffee to 6 cups of water or 4oz coffee to 48oz water (113g coffee / 1.4 liters water). A full bag of coffee (12oz) would need 144oz water (4.2 liters).
Use a ratio of 1:4 coffee to water for a strong concentrate, that you simply dilute down with water or ice to drink. To use the concentrate, add I part concentrate to 2 parts cold water (gives a 1:10 coffee ratio, compared to a 1:18 ratio of hot coffee) or dilute further depending how strong you want your cold brew to be. For a 6oz glass of cold brew, you would use 2oz concentrate and 4oz water, or 4oz of ice.
Make sure you have your equipment clean and ready and then follow these simple steps.
- Grind fresh coffee beans. We recommend using a coarse grind, as this will make filtering easier and slows extraction as it steeps for 12-16 hours.
- Ensure you use clean filtered water.
- Grind the coffee to a coarse setting – you can go slightly finer if making concentrate.
- Pour the coffee grinds into the brewing container and soak with about half of the water and stir. Let it bloom for about 30 seconds and pour in remaining water. Stir once again, making sure all the grounds are immersed and soaked.
- Place the container in the fridge for 12-16 hours, depending on your preferred strength. Depending on the equipment you use, make sure the coffee is covered by a lid or cloth, so any food odors do not get absorbed into the coffee.
- Filter the coffee, using a Chemex filter or similar. If your cold brew equipment already has a metal mesh filter, you can pour it through a Chemex filter, if you like your coffees clear and uncloudy. This will remove any coffee particulates that managed to get through the mesh filter. Make sure you rinse the new filter with clean water beforehand, to remove any papery tastes.
Your cold brew is ready to drink or dilute down! If you add ice, bear in mind some of this will melt, diluting the coffee further, so take this into account when adjusting the strength. Adding the concentrate or strong cold brew to iced milk or non-diary milk, makes a refreshing cold brew latte.
Cold brew can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days if kept airtight.
Reuse those old coffee grinds! See our separate blog on using leftover coffee. Creative Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds and Leftover Coffee