Making cold brew at home is easy. It requires very little hands-on and is much more cost-effective than running to the coffee shop every day
What is Cold Brew
Cold-brew is sweet, refreshing, and ultra-smooth coffee.
Unlike regular coffee, it does not use heat for extraction. Instead, coarsely grounded coffee beans are steeped with room-temperature water over long hours.
This limits the acidity and bitterness that already exist in coffee making. Without heat, they don't get dissolved as much from the coffee grounds.
The result is richer, smoother coffee concentrates that you can then dilute with water or milk to your liking. If you prefer hot coffee in the morning, a couple of minutes in the microwave does the trick.
Best of all, it can be made in batches that last up to a week. That means no boiling water, or fussing with the coffee maker.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Unless you live in a home with little to no kitchen equipment, you probably have everything to get started.
Apart from a few containers, water, and coffee; there is no special equipment required.
Here's how to make cold brew coffee:
Coarsely Ground Coffee
Medium to dark roast works best for cold brew. Stores usually provide grinding services or a coffee grinder. Ask for french press ground size or the coarsest setting.
Pre-grounded beans are fine but will lose flavors as the oil dries out over time. If you have a coffee grinder at home, grinding them only when needed will yield better results.
Combine Coffee and Water
Combine 1.5 cups (roughly 120grams) of grounded coffee with 4 cups of filtered water over the top. Give it a good stir to make sure all the grounds are well saturated.
Steep in the Fridge
Put the lid on and let it steep in the fridge. Depending on personal preference, 12-20 hours is good enough for extraction. Longer steeping time creates bolder flavors.
Strain the Coffee Grounds
Line strainer with cheesecloth and place it over another container. Pour coffee into the strainer and let it drain. Allow gravity and time to do the work without squeezing them.
About using cheesecloth
One downside of using cheesecloth is the grittiness in coffee.
From experience, most of the silt will settle to the bottom of the container by the next day.
If you have a pour-over like Chemex, make use of it with a paper filter. It takes a bit longer to drain but will end up with super-smooth coffee.
How to Store Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee is best stored in an airtight container. It can last up to a week in the fridge.
Freezing them into coffee cubes is another good idea to serve cold brew.
What Beans are Best for Cold Brew
Generally, a medium to dark roast coffee works well for cold brew coffee. The lighter roast can be hard to get enough extraction and require a longer steeping time.
Freshly grounded coffee gives better flavor since oils don't dry up as much as pre-grounded beans. If you don't have a grinder at home, opt for your nearest coffee roasters to get fresher grinds in small batches.
What is the Right Coffee to Water Ratio
There is no correct ratio. It all comes down to personal preference and the type of beans used. For instance, a 1:8 coffee to water ratio will produce ready-to-drink coffee. But it may end up too watered down to your liking.
I recommend the 1:4 ratio to create a concentrate. Since you can add more water or liquid to dilute the final product but you can't take out water if the coffee is too weak.
Other ways to Strain Your Cold Brew
Dealing with cheesecloth and coffee grounds may not be ideal for everyone. Consider using a paper filter over a pour-over dripper. Use the thinnest paper filter so it doesn't take forever to drain. Large disposable tea bag is another convenient option.
Some products like the Toddy Cold Brew System are designed to make cold brew easier at home. There are even nitro cold brew kits that can turn cold brew into creamier, richer, foamy coffee with nitrogen.
Cold brew coffee is easy to make, cost-effective, and can save you many trips to the coffee shops.
It can last longer in the fridge, without dramatic changes in flavor like hot coffees do. You only have to deal with washing once a week, and there's less fuss with a coffee maker or boiling water.
The end product is versatile enough to be served cold or hot. And soon, you'll be so in love with its delicious flavors.