What Is Cold Brew Coffee (A Guide to Ratios, Recipes, Benefits)


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Coffee isn’t just all about being hot. An excellent refreshing cold brew is also becoming a popular drink nowadays, not just only during the summer.

Cold brew coffee is a type of coffee beverage made from ground coffee steeped in cold water for a number of hours – preferably overnight. This brewing method results in a coffee that is smoother and sweeter, with a much lower acidity and bitterness than a regular brew.

This coffee isn’t a new thing, after all. Cold brew has now become its own genre. In this article, let’s find out the ratios, recipes, and benefits that make cold brew coffee interesting.

What is Cold Brew and How Does it Work?

Cold brewing is somewhat similar to other methods, particularly French press. It is done by immersing the coffee grounds. However, in a cold brew, the grounds are steeped in cold (or room temperature) water for bout 10-12 hours, or even longer. The grounds are filtered using a special filter.

They say that it would be best to wait that long to get the best flavor out of it. It requires a lot of time to extract that nice and intense coffee flavor. Therefore, you need to be patient when making cold brew coffee. But in the end, I think it’s worth it.

Cold brew coffee is different from a regular brew in terms of subtle flavors, and of course, brewing process. Also, it’s not the same as an iced coffee either. 

Since the water is not that hot enough, many of the soluble compounds in the coffee grounds are prevented from completely dissolving. So, compared to a hot coffee, cold brew coffee has a much lower acidity and little to no bitter component.

Cold brewing is usually done differently to suit different tastes. It means that it can be made into a variety of drinks. The most common way is making it as a concentrate which is then diluted with water and typically milk, to offer a different taste.

But in the end, cold brewing is a convenient way of making coffee at home, in substantial amounts, with much less fuss and energy put into it than making hot brewed coffee.

What is Special About Cold Brew Coffee?

Overview:

  1. Enhanced smoothness
  2. Greater sweetness
  3. Icy flavor
  4. Lower acidity
  5. Lower bitterness
  6. Higher caffeine content
  7. Convenient brewing process

To start with, cold-brew offers a smooth and icy flavor, including an almost sweet-tasting coffee. Steeping the grounds with this amount of time makes the flavors and sugars thoroughly extracted.

Even though there’s no need to add sweeteners, cold brew coffee is made perfectly for pairing with ice and milk. Ideally, you can make an iced coffee out of it.

Secondly, since you steep the grounds for almost overnight, it will tend to create an intense and concentrated brew , as the coffee is infused into the water. However, you can still adjust the taste of your coffee if you want, making it stronger or less strong to suit your personal taste.

With the heat in a regular coffee that tends to extract much more acidity and bitterness, cold brew is the opposite. In contrast, you got a lower acidity, lower bitterness, and more importantly, a much higher caffeine content.

You can achieve a delicious coffee because the cold water prevents you from over extracting bitter compounds. That way, you won’t end up with a bitter-tasting cup.

And lastly, some say that cold brew can stay for up to 2 weeks. Well, maybe because hot water is not involved. The compounds such as the oils and acids are less quickly released in cold water, making the aroma and flavor less intense.

What’s more, the over-all aroma of cold brew won’t change over time, like hot coffee. So, even the next day, you’ll still be able to taste a cold and refreshing coffee drink.

What Do You Need to Make A Cold Brew Coffee?

Making a cold brew coffee doesn’t need an expensive espresso machine or any other equipment. Also, you don’t even need a special skill to make it.

Aside from being more premium and healthier than instant coffee, cold brew coffee requires minimum investment. You probably only need the following things:

  • Cold brew coffee maker/Mason jar. We have a list on some of the best cold brew coffee makers out there.
  • Special filter. Some of the cold brew makers have built in filters.
  • Ground coffee. Preferably course grind.
  • Cold water or room temperature water.

How to Cold Brew at Home (Brew Ratios, Recipes, & Tips)

If you’ve been buying iced coffee every day to jump-start your daily life, maybe not anymore?

Cold brew is easy to DIY. You can do it differently and enjoy it at home. It would be best if you were making a cold brew from home instead of paying four bucks for a single cup of it. Aside from saving a ton of money, you also have full control over your beloved brew.

Making a cold brew coffee in a much simpler manner is the key. Here is another way for coffee lovers out there to brew cold drink using the cold brew method.

Additionally, here’s a simple video on how to make the easiest cold brew ever. Below are the things you need to know along the way.


1. Cold Brew Ratio

The way to cold brew sometimes depend on how you want your cup of coffee to taste like. I guess it needs some experimentation.

For example, if you want to make a concentrate that you can dilute with water or milk, try adding more coffee grounds to offer more potency. That way, it balances the creaminess and milk while not being watery.

But if there’s no dilution needed, then try adding more water to taste like a regular coffee.

For those who want to experiment at home, this is usually a recipe of around 1:8 (or 120g of ground coffee per litre of water). This is recommended if you want a more concentrated brew.

You can also use the recipe below if you want to use cups as measurement.

  • 80g (1.5 cups) of Dark Roasted Coffee Beans. Any beans as long as freshly roasted, and preferably coarse grind.
  • 1400g (6 cups) of Plain or Filtered Water. Preferably cold to room temperature.

2. Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

A good cold brew comes with excellent coffee beans. And it’s up to you to choose the best coffee that works your preference. However, you do need need to pay attention to it. The success of your cold brew still depends on the quality of coffee you’re going to use.

You can use locally roasted beans, or have your favorite blend from your favorite brands. What most important is that the beans are freshly roasted.

The best kind of coffee I would recommend for cold brew is an Arabica, and probably a single origin. Arabica has a better flavor than Robusta. And the reason why I prefer single origins is because cold brew allows you to feel the characteristic taste of that particular region.

The Copper’s Guatemalan Cold Brew Coffee is one of my favorites. They also have Organic Peruvian Cold Brew that offers a vibrant and bold profile. While the overall taste depends on several factors, such as the roast profile. I find that these coffees have very consistent flavors that work perfectly for cold brewing.

A less acidic, organic coffee is also a preferable coffee for cold brew. The low acidity makes it easier on your stomach, while being organic carries a clean and healthy concentrate.

This Cold Brew Coffee from Volcanica is naturally lower in acid. That is because the coffee is blended with a special low-acid Arabica, and roasted to develop a lower acidity. And when it comes to organic coffee, you should go with Lifeboost Coffee. Overall, they perform well in cold brewing method.

3. Cold Brew Roast

When it comes to the type of roast for cold brewing, it’s recommended to choose from medium to dark. Although, while it’s really based on your personal preference, there are still good reasons for it.

Since the water isn’t hot enough, we need to choose the type of roast that will give you full and rich flavors. Having that said, dark roasts have these bold flavors, which can be easily dissolved at any temperature. A well balanced medium roast coffee is also desirable as it creates a smooth and sweet profile.

Light roast tends to offer a fruity and floral flavor. However, it seems the problem is that those desired flavors are only extracted at certain temperatures. Cold brew is so forgiving and sometimes you can’t highlight those notes completely when the coffee isn’t cooked perfectly.

However, remember that this might be also different to other cases and situations. Maybe, with the right knowledge and skill, someone can make a delicious coffee using lightly roasted beans. In the end, you should experiment on it. Try using light, medium to medium-dark roast coffees and see if you’re able to make a difference.

3. Cold Brew Grind Consistency

Now, continue by grinding your coffee beans. You need to consider the grind size. Remember that cold water can’t efficiently extract the grounds as hot water does.

In this case, use the same grind consistency in the same coffee-to-water ratio. I mean if you’re using more grounds with a little amount of water, I think it’s better to go with a coarser grind. And if you’re using more water, go with a finer grind.

However, the ideal grind size in cold brewing is a relatively coarse grind, something like coarse cornmeal. You want to start with this grind as you need to steep the grounds for a long period of time. Don’t use a very fine ground coffee, such as espresso grind, as it will absolutely make your coffee bitter and clog your cold brew filter.

4. Brewing Time

Cold brew coffee is simply made by infusing cold water with coarsely ground coffee. Immersion cold brew provides more acidity and a thinner body. Longer brewing time and higher ratio are necessary to bring out those notes.

Now, place your coffee grounds into a jar. Pour it with cold water and give it a good stir. This way, you’re making sure the grounds are hydrated. Lastly, let it steep for about 12 to 24 hours.

Give the water more time to extract those solubles from the coffee grounds. The longer the period, the better it gets. Therefore, it’s much better if you steep it overnight. However, to avoid the risk of having a very robust and potent taste, don’t let it exceed any longer that 24 hours.

Cold Brew Vs. Iced Coffee

For the past years, cold brew is one of the most popular, and even the oldest, brewing methods out there. It might be new to some people, but it’s already there before even iced coffee came out.

Today, a lot of the younger generations think of cold brew as similar to iced coffee. However, they are different from each other in terms of taste, consistency, etc. Their only similarity is, of course, both are cold coffee.

Brewing Process

It’s highlighted above that cold-brew is basically a brewed coffee from grounds that are steeped in cold or sometimes room temperature water. The coffee grounds are put into a jar, poured with cold water, and left it to sit overnight.

On the other hand, iced coffee is made with a regular hot coffee and just chilled over ice. In other words, the coffee is brewed hot (traditionally) and served cold. The hot coffee is mixed with a lot of ice cubes to make it cold and refreshing.

Flavor Profile

Cold brew is less bitter, less acidic, but more subtle and caffeinated. It also has a smoother and sweeter taste than iced coffee.

Cold-brew extracts coffee flavor very slowly over a long time, limiting the bitterness and acidity that is already involved in coffee making. That’s where the coffee gets its smoother and rounder taste. Some people also say that cold brew is a bit milder than a regular iced coffee.

On the other hand, iced coffee is considered a typical brew. The flavors of hot coffee are also present in iced coffee. With that being said, iced coffee has more superior taste to cold brew because of how it is made.

The coffee flavor infuses more readily in hot water. That is because we all know that hot water extracts the coffee flavor more quickly and effectively.

Is Cold Brew Better than Iced Coffee?

Although iced coffees are more consumed nowadays, cold brew isn’t a bad thing at all. A lot of people I know prefer cold brew over the other.

Cold brew has become a coffeehouse hit nowadays, as some cafes and coffee shops worldwide bring it to the mainstream. The good thing about it is that you can make large batches of coffee and sell quickly, which is now more practical in cafes.

But that doesn’t mean cold brew is better to all consumers. It will also depend on your personal taste.

Is Cold Brew Stronger the Regular Coffee?

If strong coffee refers to the amount of caffeine in coffee, then cold brew is stronger than a regular one. That is because it’s perceived that cold brew has more caffeine than hot coffee.

In contrast to this belief, you extract more caffeine when you brew coffee with hot water. So which is which?

What makes a coffee stronger lies within the coffee to water ratio. Using more coffee or less water will make a “stronger” cup. With that being said, cold brew is ideally made with a higher ratio of coffee to water.

For example, a typical cold brew has a ratio of 1:5 to 1:8. While hot coffee ratio is from 1:11 – 1:12. In the end, what I want to point out is that cold brew is stronger than the other if it’s made with a more regular coffee-to-water ratio.

Conclusion

In the end, this coffee making method actually saves time in the morning. All you have to do is steep your coffee grounds overnight, and there you have it, just strain it in the morning.

After all, cold brew is for everyone who wants a refreshing and great-tasting coffee at the comfort of their homes, the ones who are patient and appreciate results.

Like this Article? You Might Want to Read: 7 Tips To Make Delicious Coffee Using French Press