How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

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What sounds better than a refreshing iced drink while you are sitting outside and getting a tan on a hot summer day? Sipping on some tasty cold brew coffee is the perfect solution for those who need a little caffeine pick-me-up. 

Like iced coffee, cold brew is the latest and greatest in the coffee world. Instead of watching your once-strong iced coffee slowly melt away in the hot weather, turning hot water in a matter of minutes, you can solve this problem with a tall glass of cold brew coffee. With our simple steps of preparing and making cold brews, you will learn how to make the ideal summer drink. 

What Is Cold Brew Coffee?

You might be wondering, what is the difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee? It looks the same, so it must taste the same – right? In short, the answer is no. Cold brew coffee has much more caffeine and flavor than you would find with typical iced coffees or lattes from your corner shop. 

Since cold brew coffee contains a higher ratio of water to coffee, typically between 1:4 and 1:8, it is much more concentrated than iced coffee. If you want to limit your caffeine intake, you can choose dark roast coffees since dark roast beans have a lower caffeine level than medium roast coffees.  Not sure, which coffee to get? Check out our top recommendations for the Best Coffee for Cold brew.

Along with the higher caffeine concentration, cold brew coffee has a different taste than you would find with iced coffee. Since cold brew is slow-brewed with various coffee beans, sipping cold brew will produce a completely unique taste than you would find with hot coffee brewing methods. Some of the most popular cold brew flavors include:

  • Spicy
  • Molasses
  • Caramel 

Ingredients and Equipment Needed

Before you can begin making cold brew coffee, you need to start with just a few ingredients and equipment. The best thing about making cold brew coffee is that there is very little that you need to purchase and forget to read ahead of time. For those who are always busy or on the move in the mornings, check out this easy list of must-have ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of medium-coarse grind coffee
  • 3 cups of filtered water
  • A 28 ounce mason jar
  • Strainer
  • Cheese Cloth 

Steps to Making Cold Brew Coffee

Now that you have all of your ingredients, it’s time to learn how to make cold brew coffee!

Step 1

Ground whole coffee beans to a medium-coarse grind

Step 2

Combine the coarsely ground coffee and water in the mason jar.

Step 3

Stir the mixture to ensure all of the coffee grounds are thoroughly soaked. Cover and let the mixture sit between 8-12 hours.

Step 4

Strain the cold brew using the strainer with a cheesecloth.

Step 5

Pour the newly-filtered cold brew into a sealed container and refrigerate it until chilled. 

You are ready to serve! You can pour the cold brew coffee over ice, drinking it by itself, with sugar, or with milk/milk alternative. 

Why YOU Should Make Cold Brew Coffee vs. Iced Coffee 

Not only is cold brew coffee a more robust version of iced coffee, filled with unique flavors that you can choose by hand selecting your preferred coffee beans, but cold brew coffee has other benefits over iced coffee. 

Iced coffee is just regular drip coffee or espresso with ice added after the fact. You can also add milk to the iced coffee to make an iced latte or add ice water to create an iced americano. 

The method appears much more complicated with cold brew coffee, but the end result is more than worth it. Since you steep the coffee for a more extended period, you can extract the small nuances of flavor not released during the quick drip-coffee method you would use with an iced coffee. 

Not only is cold brew coffee higher in caffeine content to help you fix your slow start to the morning, but you will experience a more profound and stronger flavor than you would with iced coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Facts 

  • Cold brew is great for energy: Skip the pre-workout and drink cold brew coffee instead! Since you will get an excellent caffeine jolt, gym rats can enjoy this energy boost before lifting heavy weights or running on the treadmill.
  • Ice cream, anyone?  You can use leftover cold brew to make sweet and coffee-flavored smoothies, coffee-infused ice cubes, ice cream, or other desserts in just a pinch. 
  • Cold brew has higher levels of flavor: Along with being more elevated in caffeine content, studies have shown that cold brew coffee contains higher levels of flavonoids than hot coffee extraction methods. 

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

Along with having a unique taste and strong caffeine content, cold brew coffee has numerous other benefits that are helpful for those who are new to brewing coffee, short on time, or want to reuse their old coffee beans. 

Prepare Batch Quantities Ahead of Time 

Learning how to make cold brew coffee means that you can prepare large amounts ahead of time. So, instead of having to brew a fresh pot of coffee every single day, you can schedule a few days’ worth of cold brew in advance. 

Use Old Coffee Beans

In addition, learning how to make cold brew coffee means that you can use your old coffee beans that have been sitting on your top shelf for months. 

Instead of waiting for the perfect time to brew a pot of coffee – which may be few and far between if you live by yourself – you can use these older beans to make batch quantities of cold brew to keep in the fridge for the week! 

You Can Experiment With New Flavors

Unlike with iced coffee, where the end product almost always tastes the same regardless of bean or water choice, making cold brew coffee provides you with the flexibility to really experiment with new flavors.

If you change the types of beans you use, the filtering method, the water, and the milk, you can create unique and fun coffee drinks every day of the week. 

Studies have shown that the particle size, contact time, and coffee type can affect the flavor profiles and characteristics of cold brew coffee. Therefore, you can experiment with new beans and brewing methods to create exciting flavor profiles.

Extra Tips for Making Tasty Cold Brew on Your First Try 

If you are a newbie to making cold brew coffee, there are a few tips to keep in mind so you can make sure your first batch is sweet, tasty, and strong. Luckily for beginners, making cold brew coffee is simple, easy, and fast, providing you with a strong caffeine punch first thing in the morning. 

Drink Within a Few Days if Using Alternative Milk

If you are using your cold brew coffee with an alternative milk, like oat, soy, almond, or pea, you should consume the batch cold brew within a few days to avoid spoiling. That shouldn’t be hard to do when considering just how good this combination is. 

You Don’t Need Any Special Equipment

If you read how-to instructions or expert advice on making cold brew coffee, don’t listen to anyone who says you need to purchase any expensive or special equipment. 

The only thing that you need to make tasty and robust cold brew coffee is a large vessel like a bowl or large mug and a filter. Once you have these two items, you are good to go! 

Choose a Fruity Bean!

Since cold brew coffee uses a unique type of long-brewing method that pulls out the intricate flavors of the coffee bean, choosing a fruity coffee bean is one of the best choices for cold brew coffee drinks. 

Since the fruity coffee will be lighter in flavor and acidity than you would find with dark chocolate beans, you will get a refreshing cup every time. 

Use Fresh and Drinkable Water

Along with choosing a tasty coffee bean, make sure you use good water. Although this may seem like an essential “ingredient” for your cold brew, it can make or break the end product. 

Why would you use tap water for a cold brew if you never drink water from the tap? Using only filtered water for your cold brew ensures the highest quality for the final product. 

Should I Really Learn How to Make Cold Brew Coffee?

As you can see, learning how to make cold brew coffee is a walk in the park. Once you get the hang of the process, the minimal ingredients and equipment needed will make this just another part of your morning routine. 

Being able to make batch quantities of cold brew coffee is the perfect way to save time AND save money in the process! 

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Antonella is the founder of Hot Coffee Tips. In addition to running Hot Coffee Tips, she works as a Senior Motion Designer at a leading global beauty company, where she handles video content for several brands. In her free time, she enjoys chillaxing at the beach, cooking, and sipping wine with her friends.