Today, we are going to go over how to make cold brew coffee.
But first, have you heard of cold brew coffee?
Cold brew coffee is pretty easy to make, but first we should start with my “why” behind cold brew coffee.
A little back story – my wife often makes fun of me for viewing food as “what can it do for me” as opposed to “how does it taste”. I am way more concerned about the benefits of the food or beverage I am consuming than the way it tastes…But I’m weird.
I’ll eat food cold and bland if I need to, and not think much of it (I don’t desire or enjoy food this way, but I’ll do it).
However, I do enjoy the taste of coffee, but I really enjoy iced coffee because I can drink it quickly. I like hot coffee too, but I find most every place in this world (to me) serves it way too hot.
I don’t have time for that.
With a two-year-old and five-month-old, the days of enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning for an hour while catching up on my reading have been postponed…indefinitely.
I want coffee. I want it to taste amazing. I want to drink it quickly.
Enter cold brew coffee.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee seems to be getting more popular these days; there are many different brands popping up in grocery stores and word on the street is even Starbucks is thinking about offering cold brew coffee in its stores.
If you haven’t yet heard of cold brew coffee, it is exactly what it sounds like: Coffee which has been brewed with cool water as opposed to hot water.
Simple, right? Your first question will be…
Wait, why would anyone want to do that?
Cold brew coffee benefits:
- Less acidic. Cold Brew Coffee naturally seems sweeter because of its lower acid level.
- Using cold water as opposed to hot makes the extraction process much slower and actually more selective. The flavor of the coffee is extracted, but left behind are bitter compounds.
- This can also explain why Cold Brew contains less acid than when you use hot water. Hot water not only extracts quite quickly, but also cooks as it extracts, causing a change in chemical structure.
- One of the benefits of cold brewing is that the chemical process doesn’t change, since the temperature doesn’t. You could drink your cold brew today and then in a few days and it should taste the same.
- Cold brews can last up to two weeks in the fridge (when stored properly).
Really, the benefits to cold brew coffee are primarily around the flavor of the coffee. However, there is the debate on whether or not there is more caffeine in cold brew coffee. To be honest, I don’t think anyone truly knows. I say this because there are businesses which sell cold brew coffee concentrate on the premise that it contains more caffeine. However, there are also cold brew coffee makers which sell their product based on the premise that the brewing process contains less caffeine.
It really comes down to HOW you brew which will determine the caffeine content.
Here’s what I know:
- Caffeine is water soluble.
- Caffeine will be extracted in the cold brew process.
- Hot or Cold Brew time does not determine caffeine content, it only determines how strong the coffee will taste.
SOO if the caffeine is coming out either way, what does it come down to?
The amount of coffee brewed!
You see in the cold brew method I use, and will be showing you, more coffee is used than a traditional hot brew. Thus…more coffee = more caffeine. Generally, cold brew coffee is made as a concentrate to be diluted with cream or water.
Ounce for ounce, cold brew coffee should have more caffeine. But if you have an 8 oz. drip coffee and a 8 oz. cold brew coffee (4 oz. cold brew diluted with 4 oz. water), the caffeine levels will be the same, or less.
There are a lot of variables here to make a definitive statement, but here is my experience:
From a less than technical view…When I drink (my) cold brew coffee it feels like I have consumed more caffeine than a standard drip cup of coffee. But when I drink french press coffee it feels like I have had more caffeine than either cold brew or standard drip. But that’s me…
Enough of that. Let’s make some cold brew coffee!
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee: Two Options
This method is for making a large batch of highly concentrated cold brew coffee.
Option 1 – How to make Cold Brew Concentrate:
- Find a large container with a top
- Take 1 bag of coffee (roughly 2 cups of beans) and grind (if it hasn’t been ground already); put grounds in large container.
- Now, put four parts water to your one part coffee. If you have two cups of coffee (16 oz.) that would be 64 oz. water.
Put in the fridge and let brew. The length of the brew is up to you. You can do overnight 8-12 hours, maybe a little bit longer and go for 16 hours, like some of the popular cold coffee brewing companies. Personally, I let it brew 26 hours! I’m not crazy, some people do 48 hours.
- Next, strain it into a new container (which also has a top) using whatever you can; cheesecloth, coffee filters, an old t-shirt, dampened paper towels, etc.
BOOM! Cold brew coffee concentrate!
Now, this is concentrate, so it will be very…what’s the word: concentrated. If you lack chest hair, you may want to take a second glance after sipping this stuff non-diluted. You should dilute it with any amount of water, milk or cream that works for you.
With a really strong batch I would make a 12 oz. drink with 1 part cold brew concentrate (4 oz.) and two parts water (8 oz.).
To answer your question: Yes, it tastes delicious.
But I find this method kind of like doing a science project. A little time consuming, a little messy and overall a little more work than I would like to do for a cup of coffee.
Which brings me to option number two…
Option 2: The Super-Simple Method Cold Brew
This option is easier, but it doesn’t make the diesel-grade concentrate like in method one, above. This method simply makes a cold brew cup of coffee. I like this method because you can make it the night before, throw it in the fridge and pull it our first thing in the morning. Very quick and easy. However, this method most likely contains less caffeine, so the real benefit here is taste (depending on your view of caffeine).
All you need for this method is a french press, or mason jar.
How to make cold brew (non-concentrate):
- Get a french press or mason jar
- Put your standard amount of coffee in said container; roughly 2 tbs – 6 tbs (your choice)
- In this method it is not concentrate, so no 1:4. Simply mix how much coffee you want in your cup (8-12 oz) with the coffee in your container.
- Let sit overnight
- Enjoy the next morning
With the french press, filtering the coffee is super simple and built in. If you use a mason jar you will still need some sort of filter, cheesecloth, etc.
Boom! That’s it!
There are two different approaches to enjoying some cold brew coffee.
What are your thoughts? Is this something you will try? Do you have any suggestions or methods? Add it to the comments if you’ve got ’em.
Here’s to drinking awesome coffee!
P.S. – On the topic of Cold be sure to check out the podcast Talon and I did on Cold Thermogenesis! I was a huge skeptic, but Talon lost 8 lb in 10 days! CLICK HERE to listen to that episode.
P.P.S – Here are my other coffee posts: How to Make Bulletproof Coffee and Become a Better Human and Grounds and Pounds: How to Make the Best Cup of Coffee in the World and PR.
Sources: Cold Brew Coffee Benefits