How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
If you haven’t caught on yet, those of us at Maker’s Make Stuff thrive on coffee. As a team of writers and DIYers, we couldn’t do what we do without the delicious pick-me-up of coffee. To many of us, coffee is more than a drink. It’s a way of life. That’s why we want to talk to you today about cold brew coffee.
The camp on cold coffee drinkers is very divided. Some people are staunch hot coffee drinkers, while others prefer cold coffee only seasonally, and yet some only drink the stuff cold. My husband is one of those people. He ices down his coffee even in the dead of winter.
No matter where you fall on the ice-coffee debate, at some point, you’re going to want to experience a delicious glass of cold-brewed coffee. To round out our coffee series, we’re going to show you how to make cold brew coffee right at home.
So join us while we explore another way to enjoy this favorite beverage!
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
As the name suggests, the cold brew stuff is not ordinary drip coffee thrown over ice. The process for brewing cold brew coffee is different than merely chilling hot coffee. Cold brewing results in a smooth, more flavorful, and less acidic coffee. The name, cold brew, comes from the way cold brew coffee is processed or made. What you may not know is that you can serve cold brew hot or iced.
Is It Better than Regular Coffee?
Aside from being smooth and delicious, cold-brewed coffee has come genuine benefits, especially for those of us who are sensitive to the acidity in hot-brewed coffee.
Cold-brew Coffee is:
- Less acidic: With about half of the acidity of hot-brewed coffee
- More caffeinated: The process extracts more caffeine out of the coffee beans than hot-brewing
- Higher in antioxidants
- Easier on the stomach: Coffee brewed this way is more comfortable to digest because it’s lower in acid and because the cold-brew process extracts special sugar molecules called polysaccharides that help improve the health of your digestive tract.
How to Cold-Brew Coffee:
In a previous coffee series, we talked about the differences in the size of your coffee grounds. The size of your coffee grounds come into play when making cold-brew coffee. When brewing coffee, the rule of thumb goes that the longer your coffee grounds are in direct contact with the water, the larger the coffee grounds need to be. When making espresso, the water is only in contact with the grounds for a short period. To get the most flavor and caffeine out of the espresso beans, you want finely ground beans. With cold-brew, the beans are soaking in the water at room temperature or in the fridge for 12-16 hours, so you want a large grind to your beans. Some people even leave the beans whole and soak them for 24 hours.
Supplies Needed to Make Cold Brew:
- Coffee Grinder
- Cheesecloth or a Nut Milk Bag
- A mesh strainer or a cold brew filter
- A 1/2 gallon mason jar or a large pitcher with a lid. Two pitchers are helpful for the straining process.
- 8 oz of fresh, high-quality coffee beans. The style and roast is your preference. Even dark roasted coffee beans will come out smooth and sweet as a cold brew coffee.
- 8 cups of cold filtered water.
- Set your coffee grinder to its largest grind setting. Grind your coffee beans in batches, so they are large uniform pieces. Too small of a grind will cause your cold-brew to become bitter tasting.
- Place your coffee beans in your jar or pitcher and cover them with 8 cups of filtered water.
- Stir gently to combine. Your coffee grounds will float and that’s ok.
- Cover your pitcher and let it sit out at room temp or in the fridge for 12-16 hours. If your coffee steeps a little longer than 16 hours, that’s ok, but don’t let it go past 24 hours if you’re using ground coffee.
- Strain your coffee using your cheesecloth and a fine-mesh strainer. If you don’t have two pitchers, it’s easier to strain your coffee in batches. Don’t squeeze your cheesecloth or press your coffee grounds into your cheesecloth. Let the coffee slowly drip through.
- Store your coffee in the fridge for up to two weeks.
This process will give you a concentrated coffee. It will be very strong. You can dilute it with water or milk at a 1:1 ratio.
To Make a Glass of Cold Brew Iced Coffee:
- Fill your favorite tumbler with 1 cup of ice. This is my favorite coffee tumbler.
- Pour 1/2 cup of cold-brew concentrate over your ice
- Pour 1/2 cup of water or milk into the tumbler.
- Add your choice of sweetener and enjoy it!