Cold brew coffee has quickly become an essential summertime beverage for coffee connoisseurs worldwide. Slowly extracting coffee grounds over a long period results in an incredibly smooth and flavorful cup that will satisfy your taste buds. Not only does this method produce a delicious iced coffee, but it also requires far less equipment than making hot brewed coffee – all you need are a vessel for the extraction and a strainer.
Unlike traditional hot-brewed coffee, cold brew does not use heat or pressure to extract its flavour. Instead, it relies on time for the grinds to steep overnight, resulting in much less acidity compared to other methods. As a result, cold brew has become known for its notably sweet taste and velvety texture – so much so that many coffee lovers are now abandoning traditional iced coffee altogether in favour of this delightful alternative.
What is Cold Brew?
Unlike regular hot coffee, cold brewed coffee is created by steeping ground coffee beans, preferably coarsely ground, at room or cold water temperature - usually around 12 hours up to 24 hours. During this process, the flavour and aroma compounds are slowly extracted from the beans, creating a smooth and mellow cup of coffee.
Cold brew has a much lower acidity than hot-brewed coffees, giving it a sweeter flavour profile with notes of chocolate, nuttiness, and even fruity undertones depending on the bean origin. In addition to its unique taste profile, cold brew also offers many health benefits due to its high concentration of antioxidants and nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B3. With less acidity and more caffeine per ounce than regular hot drinks, cold brew can provide an extra burst of energy without a bitter aftertaste.
Steps in Making Cold Brew Coffee
Making your cold brew coffee at home is actually quite simple if you have the right equipment. While a coffee shop may use specialised machines for their cold brew, you can make it just as easily in your kitchen with some basic equipment.
Prepare Your Ingredients and Equipment
Gather a coarsely ground coffee of your choice, filtered water, and a strainer. You'll also need water and a container for the coffee — a French press or cold brew carafe are ideal.
Fill the French press or carafe with 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee and 4 cups of filtered water. If you’re using a drip coffee maker, add 1/2 cup of ground coffee to the coffee filter. Slowly pour 2 cups of water over the grounds, making sure to distribute them evenly over the surface.
Alternatively, if you’re using a French press, add the water and coffee grounds together and stir to combine.
Cover and Steep
Once all of the water has been added, cover the French press or carafe with its lid. Let the coffee steep overnight (12-24 hours) at room temperature or in a cool place.
If you have a drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe, you can leave the mixture in the refrigerator overnight. Otherwise, keep it in a cool place.
Strain and Enjoy
In the morning, strain the coffee and store it in an airtight container. The resulting brew should be a smooth and mellow concentrate.
Feel free to look for a cold brew coffee recipe to follow. Some recipes call for a different ratio of coffee grounds to water, while others suggest steeping times or stirring the mixture as it steeps. Add hot water, milk, sugar or cream to your cold brew concentrate according to your preference.
Cold brew coffee is delicious served hot or cold. If you’re looking for something a little more indulgent, try blending it with vanilla ice cream and a splash of milk. You can also use the concentrate to make iced lattes, cappuccinos or even mochas.
Cold Brew Coffee Tips and Tricks
To help bring out the best flavour out of your cold brew, here are some tips for success:
- Use freshly ground coffee. The fresher the grinds, the better the flavour and aroma.
- Add cold filtered water. This prevents the flavour from becoming too acidic.
- Opt for a medium-coarse grind size. Too fine, and you'll end up with over-extracted coffee; too coarse, your brew won't be strong enough.
- Start with a ratio of 1:4 coffee to water. This can be adjusted to fit your preference.
- Steep between 12–24 hours. The longer it steeps, the more intense the flavour will be.
- Make multiple batches with varying steep times. This will allow you to taste the differences and find your favourite flavour profile.
- Use quality ingredients. After all, the better your ingredients, the tastier your coffee will be.
- The right equipment and tools can make all the difference when it comes to making cold brew. Invest in an Aeropress, French press, or cold brew carafe for the best results.
- Experiment and find what works for you. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to coffee, so feel free to adjust the water ratio, steep time, and other variables until you get the perfect cold brew for your taste buds.
For those looking for something different than their run-of-the-mill cup of hot java, cold brew coffee is the way to go. Offering a smoother, richer flavour than regular hot drinks, cold brew can provide an extra boost of energy without any bitter aftertaste. With the right ingredients, equipment, and brewing process, you’ll be on your way to making delicious cold-brewed coffee at home or for your business.
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