Are you a coffee lover but it can be too hot for a steaming cup in the summer days? Then cold brew coffee seems to be a good idea to try. Indeed, this is a simple and tasty way to make coffee. Everything can be done with simple tools and ingredients already in your kitchen. Read on this comprehensive guide to learn how to make cold brew coffee.
What is cold brew coffee?
As the name implies, cold brew coffee is a type that steeps coarsely ground beans in cold water for around 12 up to 24 hours. It is cut with milk or water, typically about a 50-50 ratio, and often served cold on ice. There is no special equipment or machine needed, so everyone can easily make it at home.
Cold brew coffee has gained widespread popularity over the past few years. People love the sweet and richer flavours with a dense concentration as espresso. The best thing is that it can be served in different ways and with various extras, from sweeteners and milk to cream and ice.
Differences between cold brew and iced coffee
While it is possible to make a cup of iced coffee from after cold brewing by serving with ice, both types are not the same. Iced coffee is often brewed with hot water, which results in acidic flavours and bitter tastes. The cold approach, on the other hand, allows for much sweeter and smoother quality.
It is true that brewing coffee with heat would create more flavours, dissolved solids, and aroma compounds than brewing at cold temperatures. However, heat also removes most of the best things in coffee beans. Exposed to less heat, cold brew method can be considerably less acerbic. This means subtle flavours, mild acidity, pleasant viscosity, as well as perfect bitterness.
How to make cold brew coffee
Before starting, you need to prepare the following tools and ingredients:
- Coffee beans
- Coffee filter
- A large container
- Wire mesh strainer
Purchase good quality coffee beans that are mediumly roasted. Ideally, you should try locally roasted bean. If possible, choose products that have yet to be ground and do it yourself to enjoy a better taste and fresher flavour.
Put the coffee grounds into a container and pour in water, which is at room temperature. The recommended ratio is 1 ounce or 28 grams of coffee to 1 cup of water. It allows for a better concentration and longer lifespan. After 10 minutes, stir the mixture thoroughly to extract full flavours from the grounds.
Cover the mixture of water and coffee, then leave it on the counter for 12 to 24 hours. The duration depends on your personal tastes. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the coffee will be. You should often stir the mixture during the steeping process to allow the grounds to saturate evenly.
After the steeping process completes, it’s time to filter the mixture. There are several ways to do this.
A simple option is to place a wire mesh strainer with a large filter or piece of cheesecloth. After that, simply pour the coffee through the filter to get rid of all of the grounds. The remaining is a tasty and smooth cold brew. If you brew with a French press, place and gently press down the plunger on the press until all grounds are on the bottom. Have another filter if there are still some grounds left after the first one.
Now your cold brew coffee is ready for enjoying!
Watch this short clip to learn more how to make cold brew coffee.
How to serve cold brew coffee
Cold brew coffee is concentrated with a smooth texture and bold flavour. You can dilute it with water, milk, cream and other sweeteners to meet your tastes. Keep in mind that granulated sugar will not fully dissolve in cold coffee like hot types. Instead, you need to make a syrup for this purpose.
If you want a hot cup, simply add warm water. Avoid microwave your coffee . It would diminish the quality and ruin the flavour.
Cold brew coffee can be a great alternative to mix up a variety of cocktails or mocktails. It gives you the great flavour of espresso without a fancy device. Thanks to the lack of bitterness, this coffee can also be added to sauces, marinades, or baked goods to give a coffee flavour.
Cold brew coffee can last in the fridge for up to two weeks. All you need is an airtight container.
Useful tips to make cold brew coffee
It is super easy to make cold brew coffee right at the comfort of your kitchen. Below are several tips to help you craft a flavorful and smooth batch.
Type of coffee beans
In general, you can use any type of coffee beans to make cold brew coffee. This is just a matter of personal preference. But there is one thing that you should definitely avoid: purchase cheap products.
Some people might want to save on costs with cheap coffee beans. However, they cannot offer the bold flavours and strong tastes that you want in a perfect cup of cold brew coffee. If you are a true coffee lover, don’t be so stingy.
There are several recommendations for specific profiles. Try African coffee beans if you want a winey and fruity flavour. Any type from South or Central America can be perfect for mixing with sugar or milk.
Coarsely ground beans
To make perfect cold brew coffee, you don’t need to purchase costly beans. Almost all varieties are suitable for making this type. However, it is important to choose freshly roasted options and grind them coarsely, which can be simpler to strain. Your beans should ideally look like coarse cornmeal. Avoid grinding to sandy powder as in drip coffee. It would lead to an over-infused coffee and make your coffee muddy and gritty.
Coffee to water ratio
As a rule of thumb, you should use a ratio of 1:1, meanings 1 cup of water to 1 ounce or 28 grams of coffee. This will allow for a nicely balanced concentration. If you are a beginner, start with this ratio and adjust accordingly based on your taste.
It is important to steep your cold brew coffee at least 12 hours. The longer you wait, the stronger the taste will be. It is fine to reduce the time a bit, but avoid doing that if you have time. Without the heat, the grounds will need more time to infuse the water fully and extract the bitter flavours.
You should also be careful with over-steeping. Letting coffee grounds sit too long, over 24 hours, would extract all of the bitterness and acidity.
If possible, use filtered water. This is actually good advice for brewing all types of coffee in general. Filtered water allows for a sweeter and cleaner flavour.
You should use a large container to cold brew your coffee. It would be a French press coffee maker, a large jar, or a pitcher as long as it has enough space inside. To prevent chemicals or flavours leaching into the drink, try to use a glass unit. This material does not react with the coffee or leach chemicals into your grounds.
There is still some discussion about whether it is better to brew this type of coffee in the fridge or at room temperature. However, many experts often prefer the latter option. While the differences are not big, steeping cold brew coffee at room temperature can create a better flavour and taste.
Benefits of cold brew coffee
There are several reasons why cold brew coffee can be a better option than ist hot brew counterpart:
Heat can extract acid-producing oils in coffee beans. Therefore, cold brew coffee is typically sweeter than regular coffee due to its lower level of acid. Some studies have shown that this brewing method can reduce around 50 per cent less acid than when using hot water. This would benefit people with stomach problems, especially acid reflux.
Along with stomach-churning acids, hot water also leads to bitter tastes in coffee. Heat can speed up the extraction of bitter compounds in coffee beans. On the other hand, the cold brew method makes this process much more selective and slower. The result is a smooth and sweet mixture without too much bitterness.
It is easy to adjust the concentration of cold brew coffee. You can easily make it less strong or stronger to suit the taste. This can be determined by the ratio of water and coffee as well as the steeping time. Ice, milk, water, and other ingredients can also be added later to create a perfect cup of coffee for your daily routine.
Leave hot brew coffee after 1 or 2 hours and you can barely enjoy it. The taste and flavour may go bad quickly. The cold approach, on the other hand, can allow you to enjoy a fresh taste during the first few days. That means you would make a big batch and store in the fridge to enjoy in the coming week. This can save you a lot of time in the morning and make your life better.
Caffeine content in cold brew coffee
Caffeine is soluble in water, meaning that it can be extracted during a long brewing process. Therefore, cold brew coffee tends to contain around twice the amount of caffeine as hot brew coffee. That’s why people often dilute it with water, ice, cream, or mix.
You can mix water and cold brew coffee with a 1:1 ratio. However, it is completely up to your personal tastes. The recommended daily intake of caffeine is around 400 to 600 mg. Consuming more than this amount would lead to some possible effects like headaches, tremors, insomnia, or anxiety.
Cold brew coffee variations to try
If you are a coffee drinker who wants to try out new recipes, here are a few variations to experience with your cold brew coffee:
Add additional ingredients
You can include some extra ingredients to have a fancy drink. Several common options include spices, syrup, sugar, creamer, or milk. This is an inexpensive way to enjoy your fancy café experience right at the comfort of your home
Add milk or dairy-free creamer
By adding milk, you can to reduce the bitterness and create a smooth, creamy drink in a few simple steps. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of coconut milk to create a distinctive tropical flavour. For a nuttier and slightly drink, try 1 or 2 tbsp of macadamia, cashew, or almond nut milk. Mix dairy-free creamer or whole milk to make your drink creamier and smoother.
Heat up for a traditional-style coffee
You can still enjoy a hot drink by heating up your cold brew coffee. This can allow for a traditional experience without significant bitterness and acidity. You should choose a coffee with a strong concentration for this purpose to avoid a too watery result.
Blend with ice
To make a blended iced coffee, you can add cold brew coffee and ice into a blender. Mix with milk if you want a refreshing cold brew cappuccino. This can be a healthier and cheaper way to enjoy blended coffee than at a café.
Mix up mocktail or cocktail
If you want to enjoy your cold brew coffee in an interesting way, then try adding mixers or alcohol. You can mix it with Bailey’s, Kahlua, Mezcal, sherry, or tonic water. Use your creativity to make a refreshing cocktail.
The bottom line
Cold coffee can be the perfect beverage for us during boiling hot days. It can be a great start in the morning, an afternoon break, or a refreshing drink to get away from the heat. Depending on your personal tastes, there can be a variety of recipes, added ingredients, and techniques. We hope you find this guide helpful in making a perfect cup of cold brew coffee for your daily routine.