There are lots of reasons to love cold brew.
- It’s delicious.
- It’s less bitter than hot or iced coffee because you never apply heat during the brewing process.
- It’s about 67% less acidic than coffee brewed by conventional hot-brew methods, according to Toddy. This is GREAT news for your teeth especially if your enamel is in horrible shape like mine. Because…
- Cold brew does much less damage to your teeth.
- It’s refreshing no matter the weather. (Not that weather ever stops me from indulging. I drink hot and cold coffee all year long depending on my mood.)
- Lots of roasters are brewing cold brew in stores and cafes now, so it’s becoming easier to find.
- It’s SO EASY to make at home.
The first time I made cold brew was a little over a year ago when I worked at a super cute, local bake shop in Manayunk, a Philadelphia neighborhood where I was living at the time. I worked there part time for a few months after I started working from home, so I could see other humans throughout my day. And eat all the cupcakes I wanted.
One of my tasks was to make the drinks we sold in the shop, and that included cold brew coffee in the summer. Fortunately, that was a very easy task because cold brew is basically fool proof.
All you really do is grind up some beans, add them to cold water and let them sit together for at least 12 hours. Then, you filter out the grinds and add some more cold water to the concentrate you’ve made.
Ali from Gimme Some Oven posted this detailed recipe/tutorial on her site, which you can use when you’re ready to make it. Thanks Ali!
[EDIT] – Benji from The Coffee Concierge also posted The Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee, and it is seriously THE ultimate. There are 10 chapters (!) on everything from the best methods, makers and filters for cold brew to the best ready-made cold brew coffee drinks. If you want to get into cold brew, this is your guide. Thanks for doing all the dirty work, Benji!
Here are my two bits of advice:
1. Use fresh beans and grind them right before you’re ready to add them to the water. You’ll really be able to taste the flavors of the coffee without all the bitterness, so if you’re using a bean that’s not great, you’ll taste it right away.
2. Add water to the concentrate in slow intervals. Some brewers suggest a 2:1 water to concentrate ratio, others suggest 1:1. I suggest even less. I added equal parts water to my first brew, and it tasted more watered down than my usual iced coffee. If you add some then taste test, you’re less likely to ruin the whole batch. (Same with cream and sugar. Start lighter than you normally would since you aren’t compensating for bitterness.)
The better beans thing goes for all coffee…obviously if you start with freshly ground, local beans, you end up with a better flavor. I just find that I can enjoy a hot cup of coffee even if it comes from not-so-fresh beans because the heat, steam and bitterness kind of covers up that lack of freshness. (Flavored creamers also help, am I right?) But with cold brew, you’re really just tasting the beans and water, so the fresher the better. (For that reason, you def want to use filtered water too!)
You might find that even if you always take cream and sugar in your hot coffee, you’ll enjoy cold brew without it because of—again—that lack of bitterness, which is what I think turns a lot of people off coffee in the first place. (Although those people who don’t like any coffee are just suspicious in my book. If you must speak with them, share this post and get them on the coffee bandwagon. There’s room for everyone here.)
Let me know how your brewing goes in the comments below. It may take a couple tries before you find your perfect ratios, so I would start in smaller batches and work your way up. Happy brewing!