If you're someone who doesn't like their coffee hot, you may prefer a refreshing cold brew or an iced coffee. Cold brew is perfect for summer mornings, brunches, or just about any time of day for the avid coffee lover. It’s also the smoothest way to drink coffee cold.
But what exactly is cold brew? Is it just coffee that's cold? And which beans are best to make cold brew?
What is cold brew coffee?
Cold brew is a coffee concentrate that takes at least 15-24 hours to make. The brewing process may be long, but the extracted coffee concentrate is worth the wait!
Because all of the aroma and oil are extracted, the coffee is low in acidity and high in caffeine. Cold brew actually has the highest caffeine content of just about any coffee, even more than an espresso. It’s easily stored in the fridge for a long time and is best served cold over ice.
Cold brew is different from iced coffee in many ways. While both look identical, they have different flavors, caffeine levels, and serving styles.
What to consider while making cold brew
There are many factors that come into play when it comes to making cold brew coffee. Let's take a look at some of them:
- The grind: The size of your coffee grounds will change how your coffee comes out. A coarse grind is ideal for cold brew. You can test your grounds by rubbing them between your fingers, it should feel gritty. A fine grind will be too dense and may result in a bitter brew.
- Water: Your water source can make a big difference. Using filtered water will result in a "clean" tasting brew and may result in a sweeter one too.
- Brewing time: Allow the brew to steep for at least 12 hours: the coarser the grind, the longer it needs.
- Temperature of the water: Hot water should never be used as it can result in a bitter and acidic cold brew. The water needs to be cold or at least room temperature.
What are the best coffee beans for cold brew?
Roast type: light, medium, or dark? You can go for any roast you prefer, but a dark roast is recommended. This will give your brew dark, chocolaty, and earthy flavors. As all the flavors get extracted, the delicate notes of dark roasts will come out as well.
While cold brews can be made with light and medium roasts as well, those can will have a drastically different flavor profile and are often more expensive. Cold brews can be smooth no matter what type of roast you go with.
When it comes to bean freshness, it’s OK to use beans that are a few weeks old.
However, instant coffee should not be used to make cold brew. It's recommended to get a dark roast pre-ground. Fresher beans will generate the best possible cold brew!.
How to make cold brew
- Grind beans into a coarse grind.
- Take a tablespoon of the ground coffee (enough for a glass of cold brew concentrate) and pack it into a mesh bag.
- Place this bag into a container and pour filtered water over it.
- Cover the container and let the coffee steep for 15-24 hours at room temperature.
- Remove the ground coffee packet from the container.
- Use equal parts of the concentrate and cold water to make your cold brew. Serve with ice.
The coffee concentrate can be refrigerated for a few weeks and used to make hot drinks. All you need to do is mix it with hot water.
So what coffee beans are best for making cold brew? Different beans will generate dramatically different tasting coffees so it’s best to go with your palette. If you’re unsure what flavor profiles are for you we have a few recommendations below: