We love iced coffee. It’s a great way to get our caffeine fix and cool down on a hot summer day. But iced coffee has a lot of ice in it, which means it starts to taste watery and weak as the ice melts. Diluted, watery coffee is definitely not what we’re craving when we head to the coffee shop, so we usually pass on the iced coffee and get a macchiato instead.
Some people have resorted to making ice cubes out of brewed coffee to solve this watery coffee problem, but now there’s another solution we can all get behind—cold brew coffee. Instead of brewing hot coffee and cooling it down with ice, you actually brew this kind of coffee cold. Sounds cool, right? If you want to find out how to make it, keep on reading!
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
Cold brew is coffee that’s brewed in room temperature or cold water instead of hot water. Hot water is super good at extracting the flavors from the coffee beans quickly, but cold water? Not so much! That’s why cold brew has to steep for half a day or longer if you make it in the refrigerator. You also have to use twice as much coffee to make it. It takes a little advance planning to make cold brew coffee and a couple extra coffee beans, but trust us when we say it’s so worth it!
Cold brew coffee is richer, smoother, and less acidic than regular iced coffee and hot coffee. Some people estimate that cold brew contains 67% less acid than coffee that’s brewed hot. That’s why cold brew is much better for people with stomach problems than hot coffee.
It’s also a little bit sweeter, too, especially if you use a medium roast coffee from South or Central America that has lots of notes of chocolate and caramel. Those subtle sweet notes in the coffee beans can really shine without all the acid.
We bet you can’t wait to try it, so let’s talk about how to make it so you can get to brewing!
What Equipment Do You Need For Cold Brew?
The first thing you need to do to make your cup of cold brew coffee is grind your coffee beans. They need to be coarse and even to create that perfect cup of cold brew, so we recommend getting a high quality burr grinder like this one that will create a nice uniform grind.
Because cold brew coffee has exploded in popularity in recent years, there’s lots of specialized cold brew equipment. But our favorite is the Hario Cold Brewer, which you can get here. It has a handy filter that separates the ground coffee beans from the water, so you won’t have to strain the coffee once it’s done brewing. That means you can get to drinking and enjoying your coffee sooner!
If you’d prefer, you can use a big mason jar to make cold brew and strain it once it’s done brewing with cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve to get the coffee grounds out. But we prefer to eliminate that extra step and use the Hario Brewer.
Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
We think that medium roast coffee beans are the best for making cold brew coffee. Medium roasted beans, especially if they’re from South or Central America, have delicious chocolate and caramel notes that are really brought out when you brew them cold. Medium roasts produce cold brew that’s smooth, slightly sweet, rich, and chocolatey. We’re addicted!
Some of our favorite beans to use are these from Kenya and these from Guatemala. The beans from Kenya have a slightly fruity finish with hints of berry and wine. And who doesn’t love wine?! The coffee beans from Guatemala are a little more classic—they have that chocolatey caramel flavor you’d expect from a medium roast. Both make a delicious cup of cold brew coffee, so why not try both and decide which one you like better?
How to Brew Cold Brew Coffee
Now that you’ve got your equipment and your beans, you’re ready to rock and roll. Let’s make some cold brew coffee!
The first thing you’ll wanna do is grind your coffee beans to a coarse size using your new burr coffee grinder. Think about kosher salt or granulated sugar—that’s the size you’re going for.
Next, measure out 80 grams of coffee grounds. You might want to break out your coffee scale to do this, because it’s kind of hard to eyeball, and a scale will help you ensure consistency— which is essential in the coffee world!
Head to the tap and measure out 800 ml of cold water. Then, grab your coffee grounds and put them into the filter basket of your Hario Brewer. Slowly pour the cold water over the grounds. It’ll take a little while for all of the grounds to get saturated, but you can stir them around to help accelerate the process.
You’re almost done! You can leave your brewer out on the counter for around 12 hours, or put it in the fridge and leave it for 15 hours. It takes a little longer for the coffee to brew in the fridge, but then it’ll be all cold and ready for you to drink. It’s up to you where you brew it—your cold brew will turn out delicious either way!
So that’s our brew guide on cold brew coffee! Are you planning on trying it? Let us know in the comments section below if you are, and come back and update us on how it goes!