If you want to enjoy the smooth, sublime flavor of cold brew coffee, here are our tips for making fantastic cold brew at home.
Why Cold Brew?
When you brew coffee with cold water (instead of hot), you get a beverage that retains all the caffeine and flavor…but without the bitterness and acidity that can come from hot-water brewing. That’s perfect, for example, if you like dark-roasted coffee taste, but not the bitterness. Or if you’re someone who's just looking for a particularly smooth coffee-drinking experience.
Cold brewing coffee is also great when you want to brew ahead: You can make an ample supply and store it in the fridge. Even better, it’s great for serving hotor cold.
Here are our tips for making great cold brew at home:
What’s the Magic Ratio?
Cold brewing is a method for creating a coffee concentrate that you can later add water or milk to and dilute to taste. When creating the concentrate, you’ll naturally use more ground coffee than you would for brewing hot coffee.
So, what proportions of coffee-to-water should you use to make your initial concentrate?
The answer is there’s no “correct” answer; the strength of coffee is a matter of personal taste. We tend to use a 3:1 ratio at our coffee shops, but we know folks who are comfier with a 4:1 dilution. Experimentation is best. Start with a smaller water ratio. If the brew is too strong, you can always add more water to taste.
When you’re ready to drink, you’ll use about 1 part concentrate to 1 part water (or milk). So, a half-gallon of concentrate should yield about 1 gallon of delicious cold-brewed beverage…or about ten 12-ounce servings.
What’s the Perfect Grind?
Traditionally, coarse-ground coffee (like you’d use in a French press) is used for making cold brew. The coarse grind will allow the coffee to impart its maximum flavor.
Can You Cold Brew Decaf Coffee?
Absolutely. The cold-brewing method works for any variety of coffee. Our Columbia Decaf is a crowd-pleaser, retaining all the flavor and bigness of our caffeinated roasts.
Cold Brewing Equipment
Mason jars with lids make great cold-brewing vessels, but you can also cold brew in your French press or any large glass jar or pitcher.
Use a pour-over filter, French press, or other fine strainer lined with a cloth or paper coffee filter to strain your finished cold-brew concentrate.
Brewing Instructions for Cold-Brew Coffee:
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Steeping Time: 16-18 hours
- Place your ground coffee in your chosen brewing container.
- Add water that’s at room temperature (4 parts water to 1 part ground coffee).
- Stir to combine.
- Place a lid on the container and set it on your counter or in the refrigerator.
- Let your brew steep for at least 12 hours for optimum flavor; 16-18 hours (maximum) is really the sweet spot.
- Strain the concentrate to remove the grounds.
- Store your brewed concentrate in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- For best flavor, use within one week or up to 12 days.
When You’re Ready to Drink:
It’s easy to dial in cold brew coffee to taste by adding ice and water or milk. For a more robust flavor, add less water or milk. For milder flavor, add a bit more. The basic ratio of concentrate to water or milk is 1:1.
- Add ½ cup of concentrate to a tall glass
- Add 1 cup of ice cubes
- Then slowly add ½ cup water or milk to taste (adjust to your liking)
You can also serve your cold brew hot by heating it up in the microwave.
We’re here to help you make every cup of coffee extraordinary. If you try these home cold-brewing methods, let us know how they worked for you! Got an outstanding cold-brew coffee recipe you’d like to share? Please send it our way!