Chill Out and Learn How to Make the Best Cold Brew Coffee

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Learn how to make cold brew coffee with this easy guide! Get step-by-step instructions for making the perfect smooth and delicious batch of concentrate for iced coffee.

cold brew coffee from french press.
Image source: Depositphotos

Slowly brewing ground coffee beans in cold water has become a popular alternative to traditional hot brewed coffee because of its smooth and sweet taste. This brew style steeps ground beans in cold water for 12 to 24 hours. The result is an incredibly smooth, low-acidity coffee concentrate ideal for cold drinks.

Understanding the basics of this unique brewing technique will ensure the best-tasting homemade cold-brew coffee. Once you know the ins and outs of this simple process, you can easily enjoy a delicious iced coffee any day of the week!

From selecting high-quality beans to choosing between the French press or immersion method, you’ll find all the tips to make the perfect brew.

Equipment You’ll Need

Making coffee at home using the cold brew method is simple. But crafting your delicious batch with the same quality as one from a coffee shop requires having the right tools and a little practice.

First, you will need a good quality coffee grinder. The fresher your ground coffee is, the better your cold brew will taste. A French press will steep and strain the coffee grounds easily without extra filters. Otherwise, you’ll need a jar or carafe to soak the grounds in and a filter to strain them out. Or, you can place the coffee in a cheesecloth or loose leaf tea filter bag.

You will also need an airtight container like a Mason jar or carafe to store your concentrate once it’s ready. With these items on hand, you can begin experimenting with creating a customized cold brew coffee recipe.

french press and grinder with coffee beans.
Image source: Depositphotos

The Right Coffee to Water Ratio

If you are making a cold brew concentrate, start with a 1:4 coffee-to-water ratio. You may need to experiment to get the strength the way you like. But you can always change the concentrate-to-water ratio when serving. The typical dilution is two parts concentrate to one part water, but if you want a weaker iced coffee, go for a 1:1 mix.

You can also brew the coffee to the strength you want to serve it if you don’t want to dilute it afterward. The typical ratio for a drinkable brew is a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:8.

Adjust the grounds-to-water ratios depending on how strong or light-bodied you like your coffee. If done correctly, the final product should be a smooth and full-bodied cup of joe.

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

To start:

  1. Grind the coffee beans to a coarse grind.
  2. Add the required grounds to your French press and the cold water.
  3. Allow the mixture to steep for 12 to 24 hours.

If you don’t have a French press, you can use the immersion method. Simply place the grinds in a cheesecloth pouch before adding them to a jar or carafe. Or, allow the coffee grinds to soak directly in the water and use a coffee filter basket to strain the coffee grinds out.

“After making cold brew coffee, add the coffee grounds to your garden — it’s a great natural fertilizer for plants,” says Michelle from Sift and Simmer.

carafe and jar with icel.
Image source: Pexels

Tips for the Best Flavor

Now that you know how to make cold brew coffee, you’ll want to ensure you get the best taste every time. Here are some tips on making the finest batch at home.

First, you need to select the right beans. Always use high-quality whole coffee beans that are roasted to medium or dark.

Once you have your beans, you’ll want to freshly grind them just before using. Grinding your beans ensures they stay as fresh as possible and that your cold brew will be full of flavor.

Jenna from The Urben Life recommends “coarsely grinding whole coffee beans instead of using pre-ground coffee from the store. Grinding at home gives you more control over the grind size and overall flavor.” She also shares a delicious cold brew pumpkin spice coffee.

You’ll also want to use filtered water instead of tap water, as this will help bring out all the subtle nuances in your beans that create delicious richness and depth of taste in your final cup of cold brew coffee.

Sweetening Options

Making your coffee using the cold brew method is a great way to enjoy the rich and flavorful taste without worrying about overly bitter or acidic notes. Even with this smooth taste, you may want to add a sweetener to their drink.

You could use simple syrup, which gives a good balance of sweetness without overpowering the flavor of the coffee. Alternatively, try honey for its subtle floral taste or agave for its light caramel notes. White sugar is also an option for those who prefer a more neutral sweetness.

For those following a keto diet, a low-carb sweetener can be used instead. Monk fruit, stevia, and erythritol are the best options. But you can also use a sugar-free coffee syrup.

adding milk to glass of ice coffee.
Image source: Pexels

Serving Ideas

You can dilute the cold brew concentrate with cold water, milk, or cream for a delicious and refreshing beverage. Or pour it into individual cups over ice for a bolder cold treat. It’s great for making adult beverages like espresso martini and other popular winter cocktails.

Shruthi from Urban Farmie says, “One of the best ways to prevent the cold brew from diluting is to make a batch, pour it into an ice cube tray, and then use that as ice vs. regular ice cubes!” She also has a tasty pumpkin spice latte recipe you’ll want to make year-round.

For an even more unique twist, add spices like cinnamon or cardamom for an extra flavor boost. You can also stir in coffee syrup for added flavor and sweetness. To finish it off, add a topping of whipped cream.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat to enjoy with your iced coffee, try pairing it with a warm cinnamon roll or chocolate chip mug cake.

Enjoy Your Cold Brew

Making great cold-brew coffee is much easier than you think. You only need some quality coffee, a container, a filter, and patience.

So now that you know how easy it is to make this coffeeshop favorite at home, kick back with a glass of ice cubes and relax while enjoying a delicious cold beverage! No matter where you are, a cold brew can always be within reach.

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