Cold brew coffee is one of those treats that has quickly become a major part of the coffee-drinking world. Once the kind of thing you’d only find at an upscale coffee house, it’s now so common that you can pick up a liter at more grocery stores.
This type of coffee is, in and of itself, actually fairly simple. Cold brew is nothing more than coffee that’s been brewed in cold water over a longer period of time. What results, though, is a unique type of coffee with a legion of fans.
The great news for fans of cold brew is that cold brew coffee is actually quite easy to make at home. In fact, making it on your own gives you more control over what’s in your coffee and how your coffee will taste. That’s why this article is largely focused on teaching cold brew fans a little bit more about their favorite beverage and how they can make it themselves.
Understanding Cold Brew Concentrate
Your cold brew coffee comes from a type of concentrate called cold brew concentrate. It’s made from a process that involves placing or steeping roasted coffee beans in cold water and letting them sit for quite a long time. The product you get from this process is the cool, tasty concentrate that you’ll mix with milk or water to create the cold brew coffee that you know and love.
The process of making cold brew coffee is a little different than you might expect, though. It has its own unique ratio of coffee to water that’s used when making the beverage, and you’re absolutely going to look at the way you grind your coffee beans differently when making this beverage.
The Golden Ratio
So, if you’re really looking to get the most out of your cold brew coffee, you’re going to need to pay attention to the ratio of coffee to water when making the concentrate. You’ll want to make sure that you have a mix of about one to seven and a half, which gives you more flavor from your coffee beans more quickly.
Quickly, of course, is a very relative term here. If you really speed up the process, you can have a great concentrate in just fourteen hours – a far cry from the instant cup of coffee that most have come to expect. Still, that’s faster than the recommend sixteen hours that are usually recommended for cold brew concentrate.
When we talk about the ratio, we’re looking at the ratio of coffee weight to water volume. If you’re looking to seep about the average amount you’ll get in a french press carafe, for example, you’re going to add in about eighty grams of coffee and about six hundred grams of water.
Cold Brew vs. Cold Brew Concentrate
Though the two terms are used interchangeably, there are differences between cold brew coffee and cold brew concentrate. If you are making concentrate, you’re creating something that needs to be diluted. If you are making cold brew coffee, though, you can drink the coffee right away.
This isn’t to say that cold brew concentrate isn’t drinkable, but rather that it’s not recommended to do so. The concentrate is heavily caffeinated compared to regular coffee and it has an incredibly strong taste. Even those who prefer strong coffee are still recommended to dilute the product before drinking.
The concentrate is also a little different in terms of how long you’re going to steep the beans. Concentrate actually takes less time to make, at just around fourteen hours while the regular cold brew is going to need up to sixteen hours to steep in order to get the taste right.
Making Your Own Cold Brew Concentrate
One of the biggest secrets of the coffee world is that cold brew concentrate is incredibly easy to make. You’ll just need a few basic ingredients at home:
Ground coffee (coarse): 2.82 ounces
Coldwater: 21.1 ounces
A Cold Brew Maker or A French press
Note that there’s no particular kind of bean you have to use here. Most people like using medium or dark roasts, but that’s going to have more to do with your own personal taste preferences than anything else. A light roast is probably going to give you less flavor, but there are some who swear by those beans.
Now that we have the ingredients out of the way, we can start looking at how to make the concentrate
You’ll start by adding all of your ground beans to your coffee container. Once they’re in place, you’ll pour all of your cold water directly into the container on top of the ground coffee beans. Stir well until all of the beans are wet, then cover up the container and let it sit. The hard part is waiting, as you’re not going to move on to the next step for fourteen hours.
Once your wait time is over, you can filter your coffee. The best cold brew coffee makers will definitely do the job easier for you as they are particularly designed for this type of coffee and you have different size options, providing you volumes of up to over a liter so that you can make drinks that are enough to last for days. Another equipment you can use is a French press that will let you use the plunger of the device to make coffee as normal but to limited amounts. Similarly, you can use an urn—though, you’ll have to filter the coffee manually.
From here, you’ll have the cold brew concentrate for which you’ve waited so long.
You’re going to get about four cups of coffee out of this concentrate, so you may want to have a separate container ready. Now you get to the fun part – serving and drinking the beverage.
Serving is fairly simple. You’ll start by pouring about a quarter of the concentrate into a glass or mug. Then, add about a quarter of a cup of liquid—milk or coffee is traditional, but any milk alternative will also work. You’ll also want to add in a few ice cubes to bring the temperature of the coffee down or more to simply make an iced coffee. Once you’re done, you’ll have a perfect cup of cold brew waiting for you.
Note that you don’t have to serve your cold brew concentrate this way. It’s actually quite useful for any recipe that calls for a strong coffee, and you can make anything from a lovely caramel dessert drink to a fantastic morning beverage with these same ingredients—even sweet treats like iced coffee bars! You can also spend some time experimenting with the amount of water you use or the amount of time that you let the product steep in order to figure out exactly what kind of strength that you prefer.
A Note on Cold Brew Concentrate and Caffeine
The cold-brew concentrate has very high levels of caffeine. You’re going to get about two hundred fifty grams of caffeine in every cup of coffee you make, depending on the number of coffee beans you use in the concentrate. As such, this drink can be far stronger than you might initially expect.
One of the most important things to note is that there are also many variables in play when it comes to the caffeine levels of this coffee . How long you let the coffee steep, how much water you use, and even the type of beans are going to play a role. What’s always true, though, is that you’re going to get more caffeine than you expect from this type of drink.
So, how do you eliminate the caffeine from this beverage? Simply put, you have to buy decaffeinated coffee beans. There’s really no secret way to remove caffeine from caffeinated beans, after all, so you’re going to have to start with a product that totally eliminates the problem. Unfortunately for those who’d just like less caffeine, this is really something of an all-or-nothing proposition.
Watch How Much You Drink
If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake, it’s usually a good idea to stop and think about how much cold brew concentrate you’re drinking every day. If you want to play it safe, you’ll want to stick with no more than two cups of cold brew coffee each day. This should keep you at over or around the recommended four hundred milligrams of caffeine recommended for adults each day.
What does this mean for those who are serious coffee drinkers? For the most part, it means taking the time to really think about what they are drinking. It’s never a bad idea to start with a cold brew coffee in the morning, but you have to be aware that you’re going to hit your limit early on if you decide to have a second.
As such, it is usually recommended that cold brew drinkers switch over to regular hot coffee later in the day. This will allow you to get your coffee fix without putting your health in danger and without hitting you with the adverse effects that come with too much caffeine in a single day .
Making your own cold brew is a great way to have a cool, caffeinated drink during the hottest months of the year. If you know how to make it on your own, you can not only have a great tool to use for some very interesting coffee-based recipes but you’ll also be able to avoid paying the ridiculous markups on a cold brew at the store.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with this type of coffee a bit. Play around with different beans and different flavors so that you can figure out what kind of cold brew is your favorite. One of the best parts of brewing at home is that you get control over the final product, so spend some time playing mad scientist to figure out what you can make for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is cold brew coffee stronger than regular coffee?
Cold-brew coffee definitely has much more caffeine than regular coffee. In terms of taste, though, it’s going to depend on exactly which kind of beans you use and whether you’re making a typical cold brew or a concentrate. No matter what, though, you’re probably going to have a more intense experience with cold brew coffee.
2. What exactly is cold brew coffee?
Cold brew coffee is a type of coffee that is made by taking ground coffee beans and steeping them in water for several hours. It’s a cold coffee that tends to be stronger and with a smoother flavor than typical coffee, but there are honestly enough variations on cold brew that it’s probably not fair to simply assume a single taste profile from the beverage. This is, however, a type of coffee that takes a long time to make and that will eventually be served cold, making it quite different from traditional coffee products.
3. What is the difference between cold brew and regular coffee?
There are a few major differences. One is the way that the coffees are made. Typical coffee is made with hot water, either in a kind of pour-over method or by being brewed. Cold brew, however, is steeped in cold or room temperature water for up to eighteen hours per batch. The other major difference is how the two types of coffee are served – traditional coffee is almost always served as a hot beverage, while cold brew coffee is almost always served as an iced beverage. There’s also a big difference in taste and caffeine levels between the two types of coffee.
4. What are the benefits of cold brew coffee?
There are a few benefits of cold brew coffee. It is a type of coffee that is better served cold, which makes it great to have on hand during the warmer months. It also tends to have a much smoother taste than traditional coffee, which might help those who don’t like the acidity or bitterness of traditional coffee. Cold brew also has more caffeine, which might make it a better fit for those who generally only drink one cup of coffee in the morning. At the end of the day, though, the utility of this kind of coffee does come down to personal taste.