If you’ve decided to make your own cold brew coffee at home and never tried the process before, you’ve probably got various questions going around your head, just like “How coarse should I grind coffee for cold brew”, right?
The type of grind you’ll want for a cold brew is coarse, but there’s much more to know than just that. Luckily for you, it’s actually a very simple process, but it does take much longer than a regular coffee brew.
For this post, we’ll be taking you through the process of making your own cold brew coffee and attempting to answer some of the questions you might have along the way, such as:
- What do I need to make it?
- How should I strain it when it’s ready?
- What is the brew time?
- What are the benefits?
- Does it have more or less caffeine?
So let’s begin!
Disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links, and at no additional cost, I earn a commission if you buy which helps to maintain this website.
What do I need to make cold brew coffee at home?
There’s not much required to make cold brew coffee at home. The minimum requirements are:
- A big air-tight jar or container to brew the coffee
- Ground coffee
- Cold water
- Cheesecloth and strainer (or a paper filter and a funnel) for filtering the coffee once the brew is ready
- Another big jar or container to use when filtering the coffee
The ratio of water to coffee grounds is about four cups of water to one cup of coffee grounds. This will make about eight cups of coffee, once diluted.
Should I use a fine or coarse grind?
In regards to the coarseness of the grind, you definitely DON’T want a fine grind, as this will produce a bitter brew. The grind should be coarse, about the same consistency as breadcrumbs or coarse sand.
Grind the coffee beans and pour the coarse ground coffee into the big jar.
Add the water and use a spoon to stir the mixture.
Seal the jar and leave it to steep.
Leaving it at room temperature is fine, but you’ll want to keep it out of direct sunlight.
How long does it take to brew?
The colder the water is, the longer it needs to be left to steep. We’d recommend between 18-24 hours for a smooth brew. Less time than that and the brew will likely be weak and bitter.
If you decide to leave it to steep in the fridge, it will be best to leave it for at least 24 hours.
How should I strain the cold brew when it’s ready?
One option is to put a funnel into a storage jar or container, place a paper filter (or two) over the funnel and pour the cold brew into the funnel.
While this method is ok, it can be easy to tear paper filters, so the best method is to use a cheesecloth and a strainer. This is done similarly to the funnel and filter method, but instead you place the cheesecloth over the strainer.
Place the strainer over your spare, empty jar/container with the cheesecloth sitting on top and then pour in the brewed coffee. This filtering process can take time, so be sure to pour the coffee slowly to avoid any spillage.
DO NOT press/squeeze the coffee grounds to extract liquid from them! This will not give you any benefit, but instead extract the bitterness from the coffee beans.
Your brew is now ready to consume. Ensure that you add one part water or milk to one part coffee.
Do I need any devices to make it? (plunger, etc)
While you certainly don’t need any devices to make your own, there are plenty of options available that can simplify and perhaps speed-up the process (but not the brew time).
Let’s take a quick look at some of these now:
- Hario MCPN-14CBR Cold Brew Pot – One of the popular choices on amazon.com, this Japanese made cold brew pot makes 1 litre of coffee. It’s basically a glass jug with a mesh filter for the coffee, so very simple to use. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
- Toddy Cold Brew System – Another very popular choice on amazon.com, this is a slightly more expensive option. It comes with a glass decanter with a lid, two reusable filters, a rubber stopper, instructions and a recipe guide. It also includes a one year manufacturer’s warranty (when purchased from an authorised reseller). One thing to mention is that the filters required will need to be replaced after 10 -12 uses or after three months, however you can extend their life if you use it together with a Toddy Paper Filter.
- Primula Burke Cold Bew Coffee Maker – A similar option to the Hario MCPN-14CBR Cold Brew Pot, but a slightly larger volume of 1.5 litres. Overwhelmingly positive reviews.
The AeroPress is also worth mentioning here as a coffee maker that can be used for cold brew. If you’re interested in learning how to use it for making cold brew, check out my post with 3 cold brew overnight recipes.
What are the benefits (if any)?
There are definitely some benefits to cold brew coffee over hot brew coffee. While there may be more than this, the benefits we could find were:
- Low acidity – According to research by Toddy, compared to hot brew coffee, cold brew coffee is 67% lower in acidity. This not only improves the taste of the coffee, but also makes it gentler on your stomach.
- Less bitter – It’s less bitter than hot brew coffee, due to the fact that heat extracts acidic oils from the beans, in particular the acidic oils that give it a bitter taste. If you find that yours is bitter, it could be because your grind is too fine or perhaps the brewing time was too long, leading to over-extraction.
- Great in the summer when you’d still like to drink a cup of coffee, but the weather is too hot for a hot brew.
- Easy to make a large amount for drinking throughout the week, which can be simply stored in the fridge.
Does it have more or less caffeine?
This is a tricky question to answer and requires a bit of explaining.
It generally extracts less caffeine from the coffee beans than a hot brew, however, because the ratio of ground coffee to water required is much higher (about 1:4), the finished product is stronger, more of a coffee concentrate.
You’ll want to add some water or milk to it when you’re ready to drink it, about one part coffee to one part water or milk.
So when comparing by volume, it’s about two times stronger than hot brew, which is why you’ll want to dilute it.
How long does cold brew coffee last?
You can safely store your concentrate in the fridge for around two weeks, but the flavour will begin to decline after about a week. If the coffee has been diluted with water, it will only keep for about half as long.
Please let me know in the comments below how your cold brew turned out!