· By Olivia Crowel
How To Make Cold Brew Coffee
Make cold brew coffee at home! It's easy, and your iced coffee will never taste watery or bitter again.
Suppose you crave a good iced coffee in the summer, but loathe the way so many end up tasting watery or overly bitter. In that case, there's only one solution: cold brew coffee. This method guarantees a smooth and icy cup every time.
Making cold brew coffee is no great secret, nor does it require the ninja-level skills of a trained barista to master. You only need a little special equipment beyond a large container for making the coffee and a strainer.
Why Should You Cold Brew Your Coffee?
This coffee-making method has a few things going for it:
- The slow infusion pulls all the great coffee flavor from the beans (and, yes, the caffeine - not to worry!).
- But it also leaves behind most of the compounds that can make coffee taste bitter and sour.
- This means that cold brewed coffee is incredibly smooth and almost sweet-tasting. Perfect for iced coffee.
How To Make Cold Brew Coffee
Here's a guide on how to brew cold brew coffee:
Ingredients and Tools:
- Coarsely ground coffee beans
- Cold, filtered water
- A large jar or container with a lid
- A fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter
- Optional: additional flavorings like cinnamon, vanilla, or cocoa (if desired)
- Ice cubes and your preferred additives (milk, sweetener, etc.) for serving
- Coffee-to-Water Ratio: Start by determining the amount of cold brew coffee you want to make. A standard ratio is 1 part coffee to 4 parts water. For example, if you're using 1 cup of coffee, you'll need 4 cups of water.
- Grind the Coffee: Grind your coffee beans to a coarse consistency. A burr grinder works best for achieving a consistent grind. If you don't have a grinder, you can ask your local coffee shop to grind the beans specifically for cold brew.
- Combine Coffee and Water: Place the coarsely ground coffee in the jar or container, and pour the cold water over it. Stir gently to ensure all the coffee grounds are saturated.
- Steeping Time: Seal the jar or container with the lid and let the mixture steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours for a stronger brew. The longer you steep, the more robust the flavor will be.
- Filtering the Cold Brew: Place a fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter over another container or pitcher after steeping. Slowly pour the cold brew mixture through the sieve to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your sieve.
- Dilute and Serve: At this point, you have concentrated cold brew coffee. To serve, dilute the concentrate to your desired strength. Mix equal parts concentrate and water or adjust according to your preference. Add ice cubes and any additional flavorings, such as milk or sweetener, to your taste.
- Storage: Transfer the filtered cold brew coffee to a clean, airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It can stay fresh for up to one week, allowing you to enjoy multiple servings.
- Experiment with coffee beans and roast levels to discover your preferred flavor profile.
- If you prefer a smoother and less acidic cold brew, consider using a coffee blend with lower acidity.
- Cold brew is naturally less bitter than hot brewed coffee, so you may enjoy it even without sweeteners.
- Customize your cold brew by adding flavors like cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, or cocoa powder during the steeping process.
Remember, cold brew coffee is a forgiving brewing method, and you can adjust the variables (coffee-to-water ratio, steeping time) to suit your taste preferences. Enjoy the refreshing and smooth result of your homemade cold brew coffee!
You can also adjust the concentration of your cold brew coffee, making it stronger or less strong to suit your taste. Start with one cup of beans steeped in four cups of water. This will make a fairly concentrated coffee on its own, but it's perfect for pouring over ice or mixing with milk - or both. If that ratio of beans to water isn't quite to your taste, adjust it up or down until you hit the perfect balance for you.
I also really love that this method for making coffee actually saves me time in the morning. I make a big batch over the weekend, starting it on Saturday or Sunday night and straining it the next morning, and then stash it in the fridge for an easy coffee fix all week long.