Cold brew is popular, refreshing, and ridiculously easy to make. We use a dark roast for our cold brew – it’s exceptionally smooth and not the slightest bit bitter.
You can make cold brew at home using implements you have on hand. All it takes is a container (a pitcher or a mason jar, for example), a filter or strainer (cheese cloth works well) some filtered, good quality water, and of course coffee.
Cold Brew is Not the Same As Iced Coffee
Iced coffee is made by brewing coffee hot and pouring it over ice. The result is a mediocre concoction at best – swill at worst.
Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in water for 12+ hours. The result is a delicious, versatile concentrate that you serve over ice. You can enjoy it black, or with any type of milk and/or sweetener combination you choose.
Use a Coarse Grind
We’ll get into more detail on which grind to use for what brewing method in a later post. For now, just know that you need to use a coarse grind setting on your burr grinder to make your cold brew. We do NOT recommend using a blade grinder for this, as blade grinders produce an inconsistent grind, and can produce powder if you keep the button down for too long.
Ideally you buy freshly roasted beans for your cold brew and grind as you go. If you don’t have a grinder, be sure to tell the roaster you’re buying it from that you’re making cold brew – and ask for a coarse grind. If you’re buying ground coffee from a supermarket for this – don’t. I mean, you can, but the taste won’t be nearly as great as it could be. And you deserve great tasting cold brew.
A course grind looks like this.
Use Good Water
We can’t stress enough the impact good water has on the taste of coffee. If you’re in an area where your tap water tastes great, no worries. If you’re in an area where your tap water does not taste great (hello Las Vegas!), you’ll want to filter it or buy bottled water.
Water To Coffee Ratio
Use 1 cup of ground coffee in 4 cups of water. The end product is a concentrate, so before drinking you’ll dilute it with water, milk, or milk alternative of your choice.
Here’s How One of Our Customers Makes Her Cold Brew At Home
I purchased a very inexpensive cold brew coffee maker that came with an extra large ball mason jar and a filter.
I grind the coffee, add to the filter, pour room temperature water over the coffee grinds, and the water filters through to the mason jar.
It sits overnight (12-24 hours is usually good) then ready to drink.
I love that the coffee comes out bold but not bitter. It’s also convenient because the large mason jar is enough for a few days and doesn’t get bitter sitting in the refrigerator.
If You Don’t Want to Buy A Cold Brew Maker, You Can Make It Like This
1. Put one cup of coarsely ground coffee in the bottom of a mason jar, pitcher, or container of your choice.
2. Add 4 cups of water, stir thoroughly.
3. Steep for 12-15 hours, on the counter or in the fridge.
4. Strain the liquid into a clean container (cheesecloth works well for this – so does a fine strainer or paper filter)
5. Remember, you’ve just made coffee concentrate. For drinking you’ll want to add water at a 1:1 ratio or add your favorite milk or milk alternative at a 1:1 ratio. You can always experiment with this ratio till you figure out what tastes best.
6. Serve over ice and enjoy!
Reflections of a Coffee Snob
NOW is the best time to learn to make cold brew – because a lot of us have extra time right now. Summer is coming up. Cold brew tastes delicious on its own and there are many things you can add into it.
All this to say – I don’t drink cold brew.
I don’t drink cold brew and there is no reason for that – other than, I don’t drink cold brew.
Growing up I loved the smell of coffee brewing every morning (my parents used Yuban out of a can). And when I was about 16, they let me drink it for the first time. I started drinking it black and the thought of adding anything to it never entered my mind. To this day I drink my coffee black. I can’t even FATHOM adulterating it with milk or (gag) sweetener.
But cold brew – that’s another story. I think I would enjoy gussying up some cold brew and drinking it during the hot summer months. So . . . I think I may try it this summer. Maybe one morning a week to start. Because there is no reason I don’t drink cold brew – and now is as good a time as any to see if I want to add it to my daily routine.