A serious labour of love but oh so satisfying on a hot, summer day, especially if you’re a coffee drinker. So much more than an iced coffee, a cold brew coffee will quench your thirst and make you keep wanting more because it is that good. Cold brew coffee will give you a serious caffeine kick that is naturally sweeter than iced coffee and more concentrated, as opposed to diluted, often producing a stronger flavour.
The beauty of the cold brew coffee is that you save time and money by (1) not having to buy a cup from Starbucks every morning and (2) you can make this coffee in bulk, keeping it in the fridge for whenever you need it. Think of it as meal prepping but for coffee. Below I have shared a guide to making cold brew coffee at home!
Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew Coffee
Put simply, the difference between iced coffee and cold brew coffee is that the former is generally brewed hot and poured over ice while the latter is ground coffee steeped in cold water and strained. As a result, you get a far richer taste with cold brew coffee because you don’t have boiling water diluting and taking away the flavour of your coffee.
Cold brew coffee also produces lower acidity, making it taste less bitter and, thus, naturally sweeter, and you don’t have to rely on ice cubes to cool down your brewed coffee because it’s already been steeped cold.
Cold Brew: What You Need
- a big jar
- a big bowl
- a sieve (mesh strainer)
- a sheet of muslin or cheesecloth (thicker material to help with straining)
- cold, filtered (ideally) water
- course coffee grounds
- a grinder
- time (brewing takes approx 18-24 hours)
How To: Step By Step
(courtesy of Merlin Jobst from Jamie Oliver)
- Grind your coffee grounds until the are the perfect level of coarseness — ideally around the same consistency as breadcrumbs.
- Sterilize a large jar, placing the coffee grounds at the bottom and pouring the cold water over top. You’ll be working with a ratio that is 1 ounce of water to 1 ounce of coffee per cup (this is a typical ratio for cold brew coffee).
- Stir away until well combined, cover, using a tight lid, and leave to steep overnight (or ideally 18-24 hours), either in or out of the fridge
- Once brewed, strain your coffee into a large bowl using a sieve to filter and remove any larger grounds so that they don’t make it into your coffee. Strain coffee back into the jar, now sans coffee grounds.
- Repeat this process a few times until your brewed coffee is clear of any residue at the bottom.
- You then have the option to serve over ice with milk and sugar, with just ice, or with nothing at all. Whatever floats your coffee boat. Since the coffee is produced with low acidity, if stored properly, your brewed coffee can be stored in your fridge for up to a month. That’s a lot of money and time saved!
Key Tips For Making The Perfect Cold Brew
- Ground consistency: You want to make sure your coffee grounds are ground to perfection. Too small and you’ll be finding a lot of residue at the bottom of your jar when you start to strain your coffee. If you’re using a small home grinder, you want the coarseness to resemble breadcrumbs (as stated above) or raw sugar so that your cold brew doesn’t become bitter overnight. What I’ve realized is that making cold brew coffee is a serious experiment, which will likely mean some trial and error.
- Alter the ratio of coffee to water: I’ve said above that the typical ratio is 1 ounce of water to 1 ounce of coffee per cup, but you can either scale up or down depending on how strong you want your coffee.
- Strain slowly: You want to be able to strain your cold brew coffee through muslin or cheesecloth, or whatever thicker fabric you have at home that can filter your coffee, and do so at a slower pace. Allow gravity to do the work here so that your coffee retains its flavour as the actual brewed coffee separates from the coffee grounds. Slow down to speed up, I always say. It works for coffee too. If you want to maintain as much taste in your cold brew coffee than strain slowly, enjoying and savouring the process as you do so. It makes the final product — and first taste — all the sweeter (literally!)
Ready to try cold brew coffee? Or have you already tried it? Share your experiences below!