Hot summer days call for refreshing iced coffee, but nothing ruins this caffeinated summer treat more than a watery, diluted taste.
That’s why cold brew coffee is the winning alternative that’s always chill and full of flavor. Best of all? This trendy beverage is simple to prepare and serve at home.
We give you step-by-step instructions on how to make cold brew coffee in this article.
What is Cold Brewed Coffee?
You might be looking at your iced coffee and thinking cold brew must be the same thing. I mean, how different can cold coffee be?
You’d be surprised how the brew method changes your coffee immensely, and that’s exactly the case with the cold coffee category.
Iced coffee is made by pouring hot brewed coffee over ice. This melts the ice, resulting in a more diluted drink with less caffeine.
Sure, you can brew hot coffee and stick it in the fridge for a few hours, but any coffee aficionado knows that this only kills the freshness for an unfavorable experience.
Cold brew coffee, on the other hand, takes the chill factor to extremes by adding more coffee to water than you would when brewing hot coffee, then letting it sit for hours.
We’ll get into the intricate details of how to make your own cold brew coffee later in the article, but the main takeaway from here is that it is the best way to enjoy a cold coffee with more caffeine to give you that extra jolt.
Why You Should Cold Brew Your Coffee
Starbucks helped bring cold brew coffee to the spotlight, but why buy Starbucks cold brew coffee when you can make your own cold brew at home?
These are the main benefits of making it yourself:
- The refreshing, smooth, and sweet flavor
- Saves money on Starbucks
- You can make a large batch of cold brew coffee at once
- If you fancy hot coffee you can heat your cold brew
- It’s ridiculously easy to make
Not a morning person? Hey, not many of us are. That’s where cold brew coffee flies in to save us with its refreshing taste and extra zing of caffeine. There’s no waiting around, messing with a coffee maker, or boiling water.
As we mentioned, you’re steeping coffee grounds for an extended period of time, and that slow infusion is the magic touch that extracts all of the flavors and caffeine from the beans.
At the same time, the bitter compounds are left behind, resulting in a smooth and subtly sweet flavor that is a delight when chilled.
Since the acidity is diminished, this also makes cold brew an ideal drink for those who may experience an upset stomach after drinking espresso.
Freedom is yours with cold brew, and you can adjust the concentration to make it as strong or weak as you like. You can also add milk or any of the traditional coffee fixings to perfect your recipe.
Feel free to whip up a large batch over the weekend, and then you’re set for the busy week to come. Just wake up, open the fridge, and pour your cup. The morning grumpies won’t even have a chance to surface, and your family will thank you.
Now without further ado, let’s learn how to make the best cold brew coffee, shall we?
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
What we’re doing is making a cold brew concentrate, so don’t panic if the coffee: water ratio is off, or you forget about the brew and let it sit in the fridge for a day.
This method is flexible, forgiving, and you can still adjust the taste after the process is finished.
What You’ll Need
The best coffee beans for cold brew are fresh, whole beans that are ground right before use. Any variety of roast will work fine; just make sure it’s a coarse grind to avoid gritty coffee.
If you can, use filtered water for steeping your ground coffee. This ensures the best coffee flavor that hasn’t been tainted by impurities.
We’ve put together this helpful table to give you an idea of the different containers you can use and the coffee: water ratio for each container.
For reference, you need 1-cup water per 1-oz of ground coffee (¼ cup whole beans).
|Water: Coffee Ratio||Water||Coffee Grounds||Cold Brew Coffee Yield|
|Cold Brew Coffee Mason Jar 1-Quart||3 cups of water||3-oz ground coffee (¾ cup whole beans)||2 ½ cups of cold brew concentrate; 5 glasses of cold brew|
|Cold Brew Coffee Mason Jar 2-Quart||6 cups of water||6-oz ground coffee (1 ½ cups whole beans)||5 cups of cold brew concentrate; 10 glasses of cold brew|
|Cold Brew French Press||5 cups of water||5-oz of ground coffee (1 ¼ cups whole beans)||4 ¼ cups of cold brew concentrate; 8 ½ glasses of cold brew.|
Cold Brew Recipe
The secret to the best cold brew coffee recipe is…there is none! This couldn’t be easier to whip up at home, and after you get the hang of it, you can experiment with different beans and caffeine levels to put the finishing touches on your delicious recipe.
The easiest way to make cold brew coffee is by combining the grounds with the water by following the ratios outlined above, let it steep overnight for at least 12 hours, strain the grounds, and you’re ready to enjoy.
Here’s the detailed version:
1. Grind Your Coffee Beans
The fresher the beans, the better flavors and aromas you’ll get out of your cold brew. If you have a coffee grinder at home, then you can buy your favorite roast and grind them up right before brewing.
If you don’t own a grinder, you can purchase whole beans from your local cafe or market, and they might be able to grind up the beans for you.
If you have a bag of beans at home, no grinder, and no motivation to head out to the cafe, there are plenty of other ways to grind your beans at home. Remember, the best cold brew grind is coarse, not fine.
2. Mix & Steep
Fill your container of choice with fresh coffee and water. Stir it up and cover it before storing the container at room temperature to steep for up to 12 hours.
If you go longer than 12 hours, no harm is done except you’ll have a strong, bitter coffee. You can adjust the taste and caffeine level by diluting it with water or adding milk.
3. How to Filter Cold Brew Coffee
There are a few ways to strain your cold brew coffee once it has finished seeping. Most recipes call for cheesecloth, but if you don’t have it, a paper basket filter for a coffee maker works or a thin cotton cloth or handkerchief if you are out of options.
Pick your cold brew coffee filter and drape it across the opening of a fine-mesh sieve. Secure the sieve over a pitcher and pour the cold brew concentrate through the sieve.
4. Enjoy Your Homemade Cold Brew Coffee
Chill the coffee, add milk, pour it over ice– the possibilities are up to you! We’ll give you more ideas on what to add to cold brew coffee in the next section.
How to Serve Cold Brew Coffee
There are no hard rules regarding how to drink cold brew coffee. It’s a concentrate, so you can dilute it with more water to get the right consistency or add your favorite dairy or non-dairy creamer to lessen the bitter taste of a strong cup.
Instead of using water to dilute the concentrate, you can also pour it over ice. The ice will melt a little bit to dilute the coffee without making it too watery.
If you want it chilled without dilution, freeze coffee ice cubes and add this to your cup of cold brew.
Hot, cold brew coffee is a thing; all you have to do is heat it in the microwave. It won’t affect the brew quality, and it’s convenient if you make large batches of cold brew at once and want a fast cup in the morning.
How to Store Cold Brew Coffee
If your cold brew coffee is undiluted, you can store it for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. If you’ve added water and diluted the coffee already, then it will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
Final Thoughts: How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Now that you know how to make cold brew coffee, you might be saying sayonara to your local cafe! It’s such an easy DIY process that requires very little materials and effort.
Cold brew coffee is great for people on the go who need a fast cup of joe in the morning or for those who love iced coffee, but something with more of a caffeine kick.
References & Resources:
- How to Make Starbucks-Style Cold Brew Coffee at Home, Kitchn.
- How to Make Cold Brew Coffee as Tasty as a Coffee Shop’s, Taste of Home.
- How to Make Cold Brewed Coffee at Home, Thrillist.
- How to Brew Coffee, NCA.
- 9 Impressive Benefits of Cold-Brew Coffee (Plus How to Make It), Healthline.