The Ultimate Guide To Making Cold Brew Coffee at Home!
I don't know about you, but for me, one of the most refreshing beverages during the hot summer months is a icy, smooth, cold brew iced coffee. It's delicious, flavorful, but can run you around $4-$5 a pop at coffee shops. Today I will teach you everything you need to know about making it at home! Not only will you be saving money, you'll be saving time in the morning and can be assured that your coffee is made just the way you like it! Even though it's usually enjoyed cold, cold brew can be heated if you're in the mood for hot coffee.
According to Essence Coffee, "the real difference of [the cold] brewing method is the water temperature in which the extraction of coffee takes place. While regular Coffee methods use near boiling temperatures to quickly extract the properties of coffee, Cold Brewing exchanges time for temperature, taking from 4 up to 24 hours depending on the method to make a full batch." This slow, cold brewing method allows the coffee's flavor to be more smooth, less acidic, and naturally slightly sweeter than coffee made with hot water. Also, because the coffee stays cold throughout the entire process, you don't end up with watery iced coffee!
Japanese Kyoto-Style Coffee is the earliest record of cold brew, dating all the way back to the 1600s. According to Driftaway Coffee,"Instead of submerging grounds for hours, the coffee is brewed drop by drop [in Kyoto-style coffee]. A single bead of water is let down through the coffee grounds at a time". Cold brew has only been around in the United States for about 10 years!
Now, lets get brewin!
The coffee is the most important part of the cold brewing process, obviously! You can use whatever type of coffee you want: flavored, decaf, pre-ground, light roast, dark roast, or whole beans that you grind yourself, as long as it is coarsely ground. A coarse grind is very important in the cold brewing process because using a fine ground coffee will result in a bitter cold brew.
Ground coffee to water ratio is another important aspect of cold brew making. Incorrect ratio could result in cold brew that is too strong or too weak. In my experience, the perfect cold brew ratio is 1 part coffee to 8 parts water. Using a kitchen scale makes getting the perfect ratio super easy: measure 1 ounce of ground coffee per 1 cup of cold water.
There are many methods that you can use to make cold brew concentrate. No matter which method you use, you will likely have to dilute the concentrate with water to your desired intensity.
1. Mason Jar or Large Container with Lid
If you have a large mason jar or a container with a lid that can fit in you're refrigerator, you can easily make cold brew. Figure out how many ounces the container fits. Add 1 ounce of coffee for every 8 ounces of cool water. For example, in my 32 ounce large mason jar, I add 4 ounces of ground coffee. Stir the coffee grounds and water well, close tight and place into the refrigerator for 12-18 hours.
After the steeping period, it is time to strain the cold brew! I put a very thin coffee filter in a plastic coffee filter cone that is placed over another mason jar. Pour your cold brew through the strainer and let it filter into the bottom mason jar.
2. French Press
Determine how many ounces your French press holds. Add the appropriate amount of ground coffee for the size of the French press to the bottom. Add cool water and stir to saturate the grinds. Add the lid and leave the plunger in the up position. Place in the fridge for 12-18 hours. After the steeping period, press the plunger down to strain the grinds from the cold brew. Transfer into a container with an airtight lid.
3. Cold Brew Maker
With the increasing popularity of cold brew comes cold brew makers. Most of them are reasonably priced and make it even easier to make cold brew at home by involving a filter that you fill with grinds that submerges into the water, meaning that no straining is required! I recommend with the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions as the above ratio may not be sufficient for these systems.
DRESS IT UP
Perhaps the most fun part of the whole cold brew process is adding flavors to make the coffee your own. Experiment by adding syrups and sauces (like the ones from Torani), milks, creamers, or whipped cream. Or, if you're a seasoned coffee lover, drink it black!