1. Home
  2. Drinks

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee: 6 Steps to the Perfect Brew

Do you need a quick coffee infusion before you can start your day? Then read on because we’re going to teach you how to make cold brew coffee at home.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

The Cold Brew Coffee Craze

In the United States, over 400 million cups of coffee are drunk daily by 64% of the population. It is the most popular hot beverage in the world and is also a classic starting point for any good date or budding love story.

However, the days of ordering a coffee and getting a hot beverage in return are gone. There is now far more to coffee than just coffee. In this post, we will look at the most recent craze to sweep through the caffeine-drinking population, cold brew coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Equipment List

Before starting your cold brew coffee adventure, you need to make sure you have the right equipment.

From Coffee Beans to Coffee Grounds to Cold Brew

Unlike other hobbies and kitchen-based experiments, the good thing is that to make cold brew, you need very few items. As a result, it’s an inexpensive way to make a great drink that all your friends will love.

Coffee beans – If you want to make the best cold brew, then you need whole coffee beans.

Coffee grinder – You can get fancy grinders, or you can get manual grinders. The choice is yours, just as long as they can produce coarsely ground coffee.

Coffee filters or a fine mesh strainer – These will strain your homemade cold brew coffee. If you’re in a pinch, even a sheet of cheese cloth will do.

Large mason jar – or a similar receptacle to hold your cold brew.

Chilled water – Colder water works better than room temperature water for making cold brew.

Ice cube tray (optional) – Creating coffee ice cubes is a great way to store your cold brew.

Now you can add some bells and whistles or make some substitutes like a french press instead of a mason jar, but that is the basic list of everything you will need to make outstanding cold brew coffee at home.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

A Great Recipe of Cold Brew

When the summer sun crests the sky, and the heat shimmers on the crowded sidewalk, there is only one thing for it. Home made cold brew coffee. It’s the ultimate summer drink. It is loaded with a high concentration of caffeine and cold enough to combat the most oppressive summer weather.

But how do you go about making your own cold brew? Is it not just another fancy name for iced coffee? We’ll answer all of that and more as we sit back and enjoy our first cold brew of the day. First, however, we have to make it.

For this article, we will discuss the ‘Immersion’ brewing technique. This is the most common and straightforward cold coffee brewing method.

1. Choose and Grind your Beans

Choose the Right Coffee Beans

Any coffee brewing journey starts in the same place, with the beans. Depending on your coffee connoisseur level, the beans you choose will vary. However, a medium to dark roast works best. Even if you usually enjoy a lighter blend for your regular coffee, trust us and choose something with more body for your cold brew.

As we will cover in a bit, cold brew coffee takes time, which means the grind will be in contact with the water for a longer period than other coffees. This means you will need a more coarsely ground coffee than you are used to.

A medium-coarse grind is the best when making cold brew coffee. When grinding, keep in mind that you will want to stick to around a 1:8 coffee to water ratio. Of course, you can adjust this ratio depending on your flavor preference.

Once you have your freshly ground coffee, add them to a French press.

2. Add Your Chilled Water

Chilled Water Makes the Best Cold Brew

Technically, you can use any sort of water for making cold brew coffee. However, using chilled, filtered water is the best option.

You might think you can just fill your french press with water, and presto, you’re done. However, you need a little more finesse to make real cold brew coffee.

Pour the water in a gentle steady stream, moving the jug in a slow clockwise motion. This ensures a nice even coverage of the ground coffee beans.

3. Gently Stir Your Coffee Brew

Give Your Coffee Concentrate a Gentle Stir

Once your French press is filled to the right level, take a long handle spoon, and using the back, gently stir your coffee brew. This should not be a vigorous stir but rather a slow swirl to get the ground coffee moving through the water.

4. Leave your Coffee to Brew for at Least Twelve Hours

Let Your Cold Brew Sit for 12 Hours

Hot coffee is made quickly because large amounts of the coffee dissolve in the hot water. The temperature also helps extract the flavor from the ground beans quicker. However, when making cold brew coffee at home, you need to allow for a much longer brew time.

You will want to let your cold brew coffee steep for at least twelve hours. Leave your french press at room temperature to allow the optimal absorption of coffee oils and flavors. If you are impatient and don’t wait at least the minimum amount of time, your cold brew coffee will be little more than just flavored water.

5a. Deploy the French Press Plunger

Filter or Strain Your Cold Brew

Once you have waited the right length of time, replace the lid and plunger onto your french press down slowly. Do not push the plunger down all the way!

It is important to depress the plunger a few inches. Freeing up just enough cold brew coffee for the cup(s) you want to pour. Pushing the plunger all the way down risks releasing a lot of bitter flavors from the ground coffee beans.

5b. Strain Your Cold Brew Into a Large Mason Jar

If plunging your coffee in stages seems like too much faffing, you can always strain your coffee directly into a mason jar. You can use cheese cloth, a fine mesh sieve, or even a regular coffee filter. Be careful if you use coffee filters, as they can impact the final taste.

By filtering your cold brew immediately, you can store it in the fridge without issue. The grounds can just be disposed of. Once strained, it is possible to keep cold brew coffee concentrate in the fridge for up to two weeks before the flavor starts to diminish.

6. Dilute and Season to Taste

Prepare Your Coffee Just Like a Coffee Shop Would

Because cold brew coffee is a much more concentrated drink than hot coffee, you might find that you want to water it down a little before drinking. You can do this by adding cold water to the brew or by adding a couple of ice cubes.

How to Serve Cold Brew Coffee

Take Serving Examples From Your Local Coffee Shop

Because of how cold brew coffee is made, the flavor profile is entirely different from that of regular coffee. In addition, because of the low temperature at which brewing occurs, the final cold brew drink lacks the acidity and bitterness commonly associated with regular drip coffee.

That means there are different ways to serve cold brew, which may appeal to even the most ardent of milk and two sugars coffee fans.

Straight Up With Ice

A traditional cold brew coffee is served cold and black. Many people don’t feel the need to add any sugar or sweetener to their cold brew simply because the flavor is so different; it doesn’t need it.

Just grab yourself some ice cubes, pour yourself a coffee, sit back and enjoy the refreshments.

With Milk and Sugar

While cold brew has a different flavor to the coffee you are used to, that doesn’t stop it from tasting great served with ice, milk, or even cream and sugar. The sweet, creamy drink will be as far from coffee as you have ever tasted.

A Hint of Maple Syrup Goes a Long Way

If you like your cold brew iced coffee sweet but get bored with the taste of plain sugar, why not get a bit experimental and add some maple syrup?

When you’re pouring your next glass of cold brew, just add a quick shot of maple syrup to your cup, give it a good stir and sit back to enjoy the taste.

Make Your Cold Brew a Hot Brew!

It may sound strange, but yes, some people drink their cold brew coffee hot. Now, this isn’t a tricky way of just saying make regularly drip coffee. No, make your cold brew the same way as we described, but once it is ready, add some hot water to it.

The lack of coffee grounds in the drink means that the base flavor of the cold brew is not diluted but carries over completely into the final hot drink.

Add a Dash of Cinnamon

If you want to give your cold brew a little bit of an extra kick, why not look to spice it up a little.

All you need is to pop a cinnamon stick into your ground coffee and let it sit and brew with the rest of the drink. The flavor will infuse with the iced coffee giving you a little kick every time you take a drink.

Because cinnamon is so hardy, you can reuse the same stick in your next batch of cold brew iced coffee, or you could even just pop it straight back in once you’ve strained your coffee.

This will enhance the flavor. Perfect at any time of year, but come Christmas time, it will give your cold brew coffee that extra festive touch.

Make a Vanilla Cold Brew Iced Coffee

Much like the spicy cinnamon coffee, next time you make a big batch of cold brew, why not consider adding some vanilla to the brew.

Vanilla bean paste does the job perfectly well. Add some to your coffee grounds or to the cold brew mixture just as you add the water. This will give the flavors a long time to sit and meld with the final brew.

If you’re feeling flush, you could add a fresh vanilla pod instead. However, in order to keep things less expensive, the paste works perfectly well.

Understanding Your Cold Brew Ratio

The Right Ratio is Crucial if you Love Cold Brew

Before you start making cold brew, it’s important to understand a little bit of the science behind the drink. It is not like your regular coffee. You might use the same coffee beans but the flavor changes during the steeping process.

Cold brewed coffee is a less bitter coffee and is generally a more concentrated brew containing higher caffeine levels.

The best ratio for home cold brews is 1:4

This means 1 cup of ground coffee for every four cups of water. While ratios are flavor profiles will differ once you start experimenting with your cold brew recipes, the 1:4 is always a great starting point.

Always Start With Whole Coffee Beans

Pre Ground Coffee Just Doesn't Work

You might be thinking, can I just use the pre ground coffee I’ve got in my cupboard?

The simple answer is, yes, you could. However, it is not recommended. If you are making hot coffee, then pre-ground coffee beans work because the finer grind makes for good absorption in hot water.

However! For cold brew concentrate, we are taking our time, and the coffee grounds will spend a lot longer in contact with the water. This means coarsely ground coffee is the best fit. While you could shop around and look for specialist coarse coffee, it still isn’t the same.

You want that finite degree of control if you really love cold brew and want to make a drink you can enjoy.

How to Store Your Cold Brew Concentrate

Storing Your Cold Brew Concentrate

With hot brewed coffee, you pour a cup and drink it fast. Unless you have kids, when you have a hot brewed coffee poured out, forget about it, and gulp it down like a shot once it has gone cold.

For cold brew, however, it’s a bit different. Cold-brew has a longer shelf life than regular coffee. So how do you best store your cold brew concentrate?

Keep it Refrigerated

Make Cold Brew Coffee and Store it in the Fridge

The best place to preserve the integrity of your cold brew concentrate is in the fridge. It’s a cool place that will keep the drink chilled while preserving its shelf life.

In its raw, undiluted form, you can keep your mason jar of cold brew in the fridge for around two weeks. You can eek it out for longer, but the two-week mark is when the flavors and overall quality decrease.

Make Ice Cubes

The Best Iced Coffee is Homemade

On a hot day, there’s nothing better than a nice cold drink. If you’re in a rush and don’t have the time to make cold brew every week, why not pour some of your next big batch into an ice tray?

You can pop this concentrate into the freezer, and then when the sun is shining, you can pop a couple of coffee ice cubes into a tall glass of cold water or icy milk and enjoy a super chilled cold brew any time your heart desires.

It also saves room in your fridge as you don’t need to find space for a mason jar full of strained coffee concentrate.

Final Thoughts on How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

There you have it. Armed with just a coffee grinder, some coarsely ground coffee, and a coffee filter, you have the capacity to make coffee shop-style drinks at home any time you feel the need.

Are you a coffee drinker? Have you started drinking cold brew yet, or maybe this post has inspired you to give it a try.

The comments are open, and we love hearing from you! So let’s sit down, have a nice cup of brew, and maybe a cookie or two.