Saturday, July 21, 2018

How to Make Cold Brewed Coffee

Are you serious about your coffee? Do you know that cold brew coffees are healthier? This article explains why, teach you how to make cold brewed coffee at home, list out the delicious cold brew coffee recipe variations and gives suggestion on one of the best cold brew coffee makers.

how to make cold brewed coffee

Based on Bloomberg's report, 2017 sales of cold brewed coffee rose 80% in the US and this might save the sleepy coffee markets. At the start of the cold brew coffee craze, the growth rate was phenomenal with sales growth of 339% from 2010 to 2015. The 2014-2015 statistics showed 115% jump in sales with 24% of the consumers buying retail-purchased cold brew coffee. But cold brew is expensive because of longer brewing time and more coffee beans required to make this beverage.

So, learn how to make cold brewed coffee at home and save lots of monies.

Before we dive into the process, let us understand a bit more of this hugely popular beverage.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

It is coffee brewed by soaking coffee grounds in water either at room temperature or colder for 12 to 24-hour period. It uses time to extract the coffee's flavorful oil and caffeine, and not heat as in regular coffee. Hence, it is mellower and not as bitter and acidic as regular coffee. But you have to plan ahead to brew cold brew coffee because of its long gradual process.

What is the Difference Between Cold Brewed Coffee and Iced Coffee?

Well, you now know that cold brew coffee is brewed in cold or room temperature water over a longer period.

Iced coffee is your regular coffee made with hot water and cooled down with ice. Iced coffee is not adding ice to leftover coffee or coffee that has been around for a while. This type of coffee usually tastes bitter and flat from the oxidation process. Good iced coffee is made from freshly brewed coffee and ice added immediately.

Cold brewed coffee has the less watered-down taste but a properly made iced coffee should not end up watery - check out this article on how to make good iced coffee i.e. Japanese Iced Coffee - coffee brewed with hot water, directly onto ice.

Cold Brew Coffee Benefits

It is hard to believe, but a cold brew is healthier for the following reasons:
  • Based on the study published on NCBI, it is less acidic than regular coffee. In fact, it is 67% less acidic than hot-brewed coffee!
  • Hence, it is better for people with the sensitive stomach. 
  • And easier on the digestive system.
  • Less acidic means a mellower and tastier coffee. It allows many more coffee flavors to shine through. So, it is unnecessary to add milk or cream or sugar to cold brew coffee.
  • When a coffee bean is exposed to heat or hot water, it loses some of the health benefits and antioxidants. Since no heat is used for cold-brew it retained more of coffee's natural health benefits, its antioxidants and other minerals and vitamins.
  • Regular coffee uses heat to extract coffee flavors but as it cools down i.e. a change in temperature, its taste also changes. Cold-brewed coffee does not use heat and there are no major changes in temperature. So its flavor is locked in and your day-old cold-brew will not stale like your day-old regular coffee.
  • How long is cold brew coffee good for? It can stay fresh longer up to 2 to 4 weeks if refrigerated so you can prepare cold brewed coffee in a big batch for your daily needs.
  • Does cold brew coffee have more caffeine? Cold brew caffeine is lower. Based on the study by Toddy, it has only 40 mg of caffeine against 61 mg for regular coffee (per 100 grams servings).

Why It Is Less Acidic

When you add coffee to water, there is a chemical reaction that pulls out various oils and acidic chemical compounds from the coffee ground and it is best between 195 to 205℉. This also causes coffee to oxidize making it sour and bitter i.e. acidic. To learn more about this, read this article on Coffee Research.

In cold brew coffee, the oxidation process is slower and therefore less acidic.

The Downside of Cold Brew Coffee

Sure, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of and these are:
  • Cold brew coffee uses more coffee than regular coffee in the coffee-to-water ratio about 1:6 compared to 1:20 for drip coffee. So, your packet of coffee beans needs replenishment sooner if you do cold brewed coffee every morning. Surprisingly, as mentioned earlier, studies show that caffeine level is lower despite using more coffee beans.
  • Need to plan ahead and will take at least 12 hours before you can enjoy the drink.
  • The visual appeal, taste, and smell are important senses to prepare our bodies for digesting food and in this case, drinking coffee. The smell of warm coffee will trigger the salivary glands and digestive "juices". It has also inspired so many coffee quotes such as '...The air is thick with the scent of coffee and although I drink in the aroma like everyone else....' Unfortunately, in cold brew coffee, you don't get such romantic moments nor excited salivary glands!
  • You need to strain the brewed coffee when you’re ready to drink it.
These are not life-threatening disadvantages and despite the less romantic sensory feels, you can go ahead and enjoy a refreshing and healthier way of drinking coffee.

cold brew coffees

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee At Home

OK, enough said of cold brew and let's move on to the process of making cold-brewed coffee.
It is simple really, just follow these steps:

  • Coarse grind your coffee beans. Don't use fine grind beans as it will turn out cloudy and affects the taste. Fine grounds also produce harsh or bitter flavors from being over-extracted. If you don't grind, buy fresh coarse ground coffee beans from your roaster.
  • Clean any large container with a lid but if you want to use Mason jar like what you see on many cold brew coffee website, go ahead.
how to make cold brew coffee
For thinner cold brew, use 1:8 ratio instead
  • Cold Brew Coffee Ratio: For a stronger flavor use a 1:6 coffee-to-water ratio otherwise the 1:8 ratio is fine. Put these grounds in the bottom of the container, and cover with water - either cold or room temperature. Use good water, preferably spring water. Gently stir it, then cover. Use a higher coffee ratio to make cold brew coffee concentrate that you can use later as recipe variations (more on this later).
how to make cold brewed coffee
  • How long to cold brew coffee?  As mentioned earlier, leave it to brew for 12-24 hours. (I usually steep it for 16 hours and it comes out just right for me). You can have it in or out of the fridge.
cold brewed coffee leave it to brew

  • Once your preferred brewing time is up, sieve the liquid to remove the larger grounds. Strain slowly. Don't press or squeeze the coffee grounds, as this will extract the bitter flavors. You can use any sieving filter such as muslin, coffee filter or cheesecloth.
  • Do this several times until you remove all the residues.
  • What if I still have them? Then, it could have been fine and not coarse grind beans. Like they say, practice makes perfect.
  • Pour the final product into your tall glass or your Mason jar and refrigerate any extras for next use. They will stay fresh for up to a month if refrigerated. 
  • If you like, you can have it with milk and sugar. If you prefer to add ice, make sure your brew has a higher coffee ratio otherwise it may taste diluted. And if it is strong enough, instead of ice, you can add hot water for a hot cold-brewed coffee! 

1. Cold brew coffee bags: Instead of putting your coffee ground directly into the container for steeping, put them inside a clean coffee filter then wrap it with a cheesecloth to create a giant 'coffee bag'. This will lessen the burden of sieving the liquid to remove the larger grounds.

2. Cold brewed coffee with French Press: Yes, you do cold brew coffee with your French press. This article tells you how.

Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker - Toddy System

You don't need any fancy equipment to do cold brew coffee but if you must have one, the best cold brew coffee maker is from Toddy.

The story of the highly regarded Toddy system begins in 1964. After graduating as a Chemical Engineer, Todd Simpson was posted to Peru and was introduced to coffee created using the ancient Peruvian process. Inspired, he developed the patented system that uses regular coffee beans producing 67% less acid than hot brewed coffee. It is affordable and you can find this cold brew coffee maker on Amazon.

Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

Are there such things as the best coffee beans for cold brew? Well, based on comments from various barristers, the general consensus is the single origin coffee beans, particularly from the Latin American and South American coffees. These give the well-balanced, smooth, sweet, and bold coffee flavor that goes well with the cold brew.

Light roast or dark roast? This is a matter of personal taste. Try out various permutations to find one that suits your taste. But remember that light roasts need longer brewing time to extract all the coffee flavor since it is 'less damaged' during roasting.

Best Cold Brew Coffee Recipe Variations

Need a variation to your cold brew coffee recipe or want a cold brew coffee cocktail? Try these:

  • Add a warmed ginger slice, or a warmed cinnamon stick or clove
  • Add vodka or whiskey to your strong cold brew at your preferred ratio for your very own cold brew coffee cocktail
  • Add coconut water and ice cubes into strong brewed cold brew coffee
  • If you are adventurous with your coffee, try mixing cold almond milk, coconut milk, or macadamia nut milk to your strong brew. 
  • For the less adventurous, use tonic water instead

Can You Heat Cold Brew Coffee?

Yes, you can but the best way is to do it indirectly. Preheat your mug with hot boiling water for a few seconds, then discard the water. Half fill the mug with the strong brewed cold brew (or concentrate), then add the remaining with boiling water.

Making Cold Brewed Coffee

So now that you know everything about making cold brewed coffee, a coffee variation with less caffeine and gentler on your stomach saved some monies and brew them at home instead.


  1. Wow, I must try this. Didn't know that it is that simple.

    1. Yup, doing cold brew coffee is actually simple and you must give it a try

  2. Thanks for sharing this instruction as I have been wondering how to do cold brew coffee