Cold brew has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Everyone loves the sweet and nutty notes it brings. Not to mention it is so refreshing! But, did you know that you can make your own cold brew at home? And what is more, you do not need any kind of fancy equipment.
If you are interested in learning how to make cold brew at home, keep reading. We will share with you our favorite cold brew recipe. We have tried this recipe with different types of coffee beans and got amazing results every time. You will want to go make this recipe every week and have it ready for those busy mornings and hot summer afternoons.
What is cold brew?
It is easy to confuse cold brew with iced coffee but they are actually pretty different. Iced coffee is just regular brewed coffee that is poured over ice to cool it down. Cold brew is made with cold or room temperature water and, unlike traditional warm coffee, the brewing process can take from 12 to 24 hours. Cold brew has a very particular taste. Because of the slow brewing process it is more sweet and less acidic than your regular cup of coffee. Therefore, it is a lot easier to drink it without adding milk or sugar even if you normally find black coffee too bitter.
Cold brew vs cold brew concentrate
When we talk about making cold brew we are actually preparing a cold brew concentrate. This means that the resulting drink is meant to be diluted with ice or water before you drink it. This is because cold brew recipes usually call for a much lower coffee grounds to water ratio compared to regular hot brewed coffee. While hot brewed coffee usually calls for a 1:15 to 1:18 ratio, you will see that most cold brew recipes tell you to use a 1:3 to 1:5 ratio. For this recipe we will be using a 1:4 ratio to make our cold brew concentrate.
What coffee should I use?
We are biased towards dark roast beans. After trying this recipe with different roasts, we have found that dark roast beans result in a richer and sweeter drink. Although, light roast beans can produce a very refreshing cold brew too. If you are not a fan of lighter roasts because of the acidity, cold brew is a good way to enjoy them. The cold brew process does not extract much of the acidity from the beans. Also, some people like to use old coffee beans to make cold brew before they go stale. This is because the brewing process is very forgiving and you will get a decent cold brew no matter what beans you are using. We recommend you experiment with different roasts and notes to find the flavor profile you enjoy the most.
How to make cold brew at home
You will see that there are different kinds of cold brew making equipment available such as the Toddy System or the Hario Mizudashi. However, if you are just starting to get into cold brew making you don’t need to go and buy this equipment. We will tell you how to make cold brew at home with just a French Press that you may already have or a simple mason jar.
Ok, enough preamble, let’s get into the recipe. We will be making 500ml or 4 servings of cold brew concentrate so feel free to modify the quantities around that. We say one serving of cold brew concentrate is only 125ml because we will later dilute it with equal parts water. This will give us 4 cold brew servings of 250ml each.
- 125g of coffee beans
- 500g of room temperature or cold filtered water
- French press or mason jar
- Coffee grinder
- Kitchen scale
- Paper filter (optional if using French Press)
1. Grind your coffee
Use your scale to weigh 125g of coffee beans. Grind the beans using the coarser setting in your grinder. The grounds should be even coarser than what you would use for regular French Press brewing.
2. Add coffee and water
Weigh 500g of cold or room temperature water. Remember to use filtered water! Add the coffee to your French press or mason jar. Then add the water.
Stir and push the grounds down to make sure all of the grounds are wet.
4. Steep overnight
And now we wait. You can leave your cold brew outside at room temperature or put it in the fridge. The extraction will happen faster at room temperature. If you are leaving your cold brew outside, let it steep for 12 to 16 hours. If you are leaving it in the fridge instead, wait for 16 to 24 hours. Don’t forget to cover your French Press or jar so that the coffee does not pick up other aromas.
5. Filter and pour it into another container
Press the plunger on the French Press but do not squeeze the grounds. Then, transfer the cold brew into a new container. If you are using a mason jar, now it’s time to filter your cold brew using a paper filter.
How to serve
Dilute your cold brew concentrate by mixing equal parts concentrate and cold water or just pour the concentrate over ice. From there, the options are limitless. Add your favorite milk or milk alternative. We find that adding some milk brings out the natural sweetness in the cold brew.
How long will it stay fresh?
Cold brew can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This is why it is really convenient to batch prepare cold brew concentrate. This recipe does not take more than 10 minutes and then you can have cold brew ready to enjoy for the next few days.
Benefits of cold brew
Forgiving brewing process
Other brewing methods can be very hard to get right. A slight variation in the grind size or a few more seconds added to the brewing time can make the difference between a good and a terrible cup of coffee. This is not the case with cold brew. The slow brewing process helps extract all the good flavors from the coffee beans while keeping the acid extraction to a minimum. As long as you make sure you are using a very coarse grind size, it is hard to get a bad cold brew.
Cold brew can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks if stored properly. Just make sure to keep it in a different container than the one you used to brew and to cover it to avoid picking up external aromas. You can make multiple servings of cold brew at once and have it ready to enjoy whenever you need a refreshing drink.
Cold brew extracts less acids compared to hot brewing methods. This makes it perfect for people with more sensitive stomachs or people that just dislike the acidic notes in coffee.
Get the same caffeine boost
You can get a similar amount of caffeine from cold brew as you get from hot brewed coffee. You may have heard that cold brew has more caffeine than other kinds of coffee but this is not correct. While cold brew concentrate definitely has a higher caffeine content than espresso or dripped coffee, we are not really drinking cold brew as a concentrate. After you dilute it with water or ice the resulting drink has similar levels of caffeine to those of hot brewed coffee.
Avoid throwing away your old coffee beans
Are you afraid your coffee beans are going stale? Make some cold brew with them! You can still get a good cold brew using old coffee beans. The slow brewing process is good at extracting the more subtle notes that you usually would not get with hot brewing especially if you are using older beans.
As you can see, you may already have all you need to make cold brew in your kitchen. So go and try this recipe yourself. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare and you will have a delicious batch of cold brew ready to enjoy every morning.