cold brew

As coffee enthusiasts, we've seen the popularity of cold brew coffee skyrocket in recent years.

Unlike regular iced coffee, cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, usually 12-24 hours. This results in a smoother, sweeter cup of coffee that's rich in flavor and less acidic.

Since it's concentrated, cold brew can also pack a punch in terms of caffeine content, making it a favorite for those needing a robust pick-me-up.

Making cold brew coffee at home is surprisingly easy, and it's a game-changer for anyone who loves the taste of coffee without the bitterness that can come from traditional brewing methods.

With just a few simple tools and some patience, you can prepare a batch of cold brew to keep in the fridge, ready to dilute and serve over ice at a moment's notice.

Best of all, personalized tweaks are encouraged; play with water ratios, steeping times, and coffee bean types to create a cold brew that's entirely unique to your tastes.

With it's simplicity, rich flavor and low acidity no wonder it's become one of the top coffee drinks in the world.

Key Takeaways

  • Cold brew coffee is less acidic and can be stronger in caffeine than traditionally brewed coffee.
  • It can be easily prepared at home with minimal equipment.
  • Tailoring cold brew to individual taste is encouraged through experimenting with steeping times and coffee bean variations.
  • Keep reading for our simple 5 step recipe

What Is Cold Brew?

cold brew

Cold brew is a unique kind of coffee that we make by soaking ground coffee in cool water. Unlike hot coffee, our cold brew process takes time — usually 12 to 18 hours. This slow way of making coffee brings out sweet flavors and makes the drink less bitter.

Here's what makes cold brew special:

  • Taste: It's smoother and sweeter than regular coffee. Since we don't use hot water, it doesn't taste as acidic.
  • Concentration: The coffee we make is strong and concentrated. You can enjoy it as is or mix it with water or milk.
  • Caffeine Content: It often has more caffeine per ounce than hot coffee because of the long steeping time.
  • Versatility: You can serve it cold, add ice, or even blend it into our favorite recipes.
  • Shelf Life: It stays fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks, saving us time on busy mornings.

To make your own, you don't need any fancy equipment. Just ground coffee, water, a jar, and patience! We love how simple and rewarding this coffee-making method is, and we're excited for you to try it too.

Pros & Cons of Drinking Cold Brew

cold brew

Pros of Drinking Cold Brew:

  • Flavor: We notice cold brew has a smoother, less acidic taste compared to hot coffee, which makes it a favorite for those with sensitive stomachs.
  • Convenience: It's simple for us to make a big batch and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  • Versatility: We can enjoy it over ice, diluted with water, or mixed with our favorite milk or creamer.
  • Caffeine Content: It can pack a stronger caffeine punch per ounce than regular drip coffee, giving us a good energy boost.
Pros Why We Like It
Smoother Taste Gentler on our stomachs
Make-Ahead Convenient for busy schedules
Fridge-Friendly Stays fresh for days
Customizable Easy to adjust strength and flavor
Strong Higher caffeine concentration available

Cons of Drinking Cold Brew:

  • Time: It takes about 12 to 24 hours to brew, so we need to plan ahead.
  • Cost: Buying cold brew at coffee shops can hit our wallets harder compared to hot coffee.
  • Sediment: If we're not careful, we might end up with gritty coffee sediment at the bottom of our cup.
  • Space: Storing a large batch occupies valuable fridge space.
Cons What to Watch Out For
Brewing Time Requires advance planning
Expense More costly than hot brew methods
Sediment Possible gritty texture without proper filtration
Refrigerator Space Needs room in our fridge

Choosing Your Coffee Beans

cold brew

When we start our cold brew journey, the choice of coffee beans is crucial to the flavor outcome of our brew. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Bean Origin: Beans from different regions offer unique flavors. Explore a variety to find your preference.
  • Roast Level: Generally, medium roast and dark roast beans are preferred for cold brew.
    • Medium roast brings out a balanced flavor with some acidity.
    • Dark roast gives a stronger, bolder taste that's perfect for a smooth cold brew.

Our Tips for Picking Beans:

  1. Freshness: Choose beans that are fresh and were roasted within the past two weeks.
  2. Single-Origin vs. Blend:
    • Single-origin beans come from one place and have distinct flavors.
    • Blends are a mix and can offer a balanced taste.
  3. Flavor Profile: Look for flavor notes that sound appealing to you. Chocolate, nutty, or fruity are common descriptors.

Remember, we all have different tastes, so what might be the perfect bean for you might differ for someone else. Start with a smaller amount to experiment, and then go big with your favorites. Don't be afraid to try various beans until you find your perfect match for cold brew!

Why Grind Size Matters

cold brew

When we make cold brew coffee, grind size is a key player in the quality of our cup.

Imagine grind size as pebbles and sand at the beach. Cold brew requires the "pebbles"—a coarsely ground coffee. Here's why:

  • Flavor Extraction: A coarse grind ensures a slow flavor extraction, preventing our drink from becoming bitter, which is something none of us want in our refreshing cold brew.
  • Filtration: A finer grind can slip through filters and leave us with a mouthful of grit. Coarse grounds keep our cold brew smooth and grit-free.

Using the right coffee grinder, like a burr grinder, makes a difference too. Burr grinders give us consistent-sized grounds, ideal for perfecting our brew.

To coarsely grind our beans:

  1. Select the coarse setting on our grinder.
  2. Grind beans in short bursts to avoid overheating.
  3. Check for consistency – our grounds should resemble breadcrumbs.


  • Uniformity: The same grind size throughout means even extraction.
  • Avoid Fines: Fine particles can over-extract and make the brew taste harsh.

Cold Brew Equipment

cold brew

In making the perfect cold brew, the right equipment is essential. We’ll guide you through using a French Press and other container alternatives to brew your chilled coffee just right.

Using a French Press

A French Press is not just for hot coffee; it's ideal for cold brew too. Here's why we like it:

  • Built-in Filter: The mesh plunger acts as a built-in strainer, which means no extra tools are needed.
  • Simple Process: Just add your coarsely ground coffee, pour cold water over the grounds, stir, cover it, and let it steep in the fridge.
  • Easy Separation: When your brew is ready, press down the plunger slowly to separate the grounds from your delicious homemade cold brew.

Alternative Brewing Containers

If you don't have a French Press, don't worry! We can use other containers to achieve similar results:

  • Mason Jars: Mason jars or any large glass container work well. Cover them with a lid or plastic wrap while the coffee steeps.
  • The AeroPress: Although not traditional for cold brew, the AeroPress can be a quick alternative by using more coffee and less water to create a concentrate.

For straining, we can use:

  • Fine-Mesh Sieve: If using a mason jar or a similar container, you'll need this to separate the grounds. For best results, place a coffee filter or cheesecloth inside the sieve.

Serving Your Cold Brew

cold brew

When we serve cold brew, we focus on the drink's strength and how we enjoy it. Whether you prefer it strong or a bit milder, there's a way to make your cold brew perfect for you.

Dilution and Concentration

Our cold brew concentrate is quite strong, so we might want to dilute it with water or milk. Here's a simple guide:

  • For a stronger drink: Use less water or milk.
  • For a milder taste: Add more water or milk.

Typically, we go for a 1:1 ratio of cold brew concentrate to water or milk, but feel free to adjust this to suit your taste.

Iced Coffee vs. Pure Cold Brew

Now, let's talk about the difference between iced coffee and pure cold brew:

  • Iced Coffee: This is usually brewed hot and then cooled down with ice cubes, which can dilute the flavor.
  • Pure Cold Brew: It's brewed cold and served as is or with ice, keeping its rich and smooth taste.

If you're adding ice cubes to your cold brew, consider using cubes made from coffee so they don't water down your drink as they melt. For those who love a sweet touch, sugar or flavored syrups blend well in cold brew due to its smoother acidity. Just remember, milk or a dairy-free alternative can also be used to add creaminess and mellow out the strong coffee concentrate.

Flavoring Your Cold Brew

cold brew

We all love the smooth taste of cold brew coffee, but sometimes we crave a bit of variety. Here, we'll guide you through adding sweetness and creative flavor infusions to your cold brew. Our simple steps will elevate your coffee experience.

Adding Sweetness

To enhance the natural flavors of cold brew, we can introduce sweetness in controlled doses. Simple syrup is an easy-to-mix option and readily combines with the cold liquid. Here’s how to incorporate sweetness:

  • Simple Syrup: Mix equal parts sugar and water; heat until sugar dissolves, then cool.
  • Maple Syrup: A dash will add sweetness with a hint of rich, woody flavor.
  • Chocolate: For a mocha twist, stir in a spoonful of chocolate syrup.

Remember, the key is to start with a little, taste, and then add more if needed.

Creative Flavor Infusions

Imagination is the limit when it comes to flavoring your cold brew. Here are some ingredients to explore for exciting infusions:

  1. Vanilla Extract: A classic, just a few drops will do.
  2. Cinnamon: Sprinkle a bit for a warm note.
  3. Citrus Zests: Lemon or orange zest can add a fresh, zesty kick.
  4. Spices: Cardamom or nutmeg can introduce an exotic twist.

Simply add your chosen infusion to the coffee grounds before steeping, and let the flavors meld together overnight.

Common Issues and How to Troubleshoot

cold brewMaking cold brew coffee is straightforward, but sometimes things might not turn out as expected. We're here to help with some common issues and how to fix them.

If Your Cold Brew Tastes Weak:

  • Check your coffee-to-water ratio. Aim for a 1:5 ratio for a stronger brew.
  • Extend the steeping time; letting it brew longer, typically 18-24 hours, will intensify the flavor.

When Your Cold Brew Is Too Bitter:

  • It's likely over-extracted. Shorten the steep time to around 12-16 hours.
  • Make sure you're using coarse-ground coffee beans. Finer grounds extract quicker, leading to a bitter taste.

Achieving the Desired Smooth Taste:

  • Use filtered water to get rid of any unpleasant flavors in tap water.
  • Stir gently after adding water to your grounds to ensure even extraction.

Preparing Your Cold Brew - Simple Recipe

cold brew

We know you're eager to enjoy a refreshing glass of cold brew coffee. Follow these straightforward steps to create a perfect batch in your kitchen.

Choose and Grind the Coffee Beans

Select your favorite whole coffee beans for a more robust and fresh flavor. We recommend using a coarse grind similar to sea salt for the best extraction.

Mix Coffee Grounds and Water

In a large pitcher or jar, combine the coffee grounds with cold, filtered water.

  • Coffee-to-water ratio: Aim for about 1:4 or 1:8, depending on how strong you like it.

Let It Steep

Cover the container and let it steep. Room temperature works fine, but you can also place it in the fridge.

  • Steep time: 12 to 24 hours
  • Water: Cold or room temperature

Strain the Coffee

Once your brew has steeped, it's time to strain the coffee using a fine-mesh sieve lined with a paper filter or use a specialized cold brew coffee maker.

  1. Place the sieve over a bowl.
  2. Pour the brew through to remove the grounds.

Serve and Store

Your cold brew concentrate is now ready.

To serve, mix with water or milk to your desired strength.

  • Store the concentrate in the fridge in a clean, airtight container.
  • It can stay fresh for up to two weeks.

Pour over ice, and savor the smooth, rich taste of your homemade cold brew. Happy brewing!

Cold brew
Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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