Like any household, my husband Riley and I have staples in our refrigerator. Milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, iced tea, veggies, cold brew coffee concentrate. Riley makes a fresh batch of cold brew once every 7-10 days for his iced coffee, which has been the key part of his morning routine since I met him at summer camp five years ago. I’m not a daily coffee drinker, but when I want to indulge, cold brew is always my first choice.
What is cold brew?
Unlike hot brewed coffee, which is made by pouring hot water over coffee grounds, brewing the coffee quickly, cold brewed coffee is made by pouring cold water over coffee grounds and allowing them to steep at room temperature or in the refrigerator for many hours. Cold brew is not the same thing as iced coffee; iced coffee refers to hot brewed coffee that’s been chilled unless it’s explicitly called “cold brew iced coffee.”
This process of cold brewing coffee creates a smoother, less bitter coffee with lower acidity and lower caffeine than conventional hot brewing methods. The difference in taste is because the coffee grounds never come into contact with heat, which produces a unique chemical profile.
Is cold brew better?
Like anything, the answer to this question is completely based on your individual preference and taste. However, I think cold brewed coffee is so much smoother and more delicious than its hot brewed counterpart, especially for making iced coffee, that it’s hard for me to imagine someone preferring hot brewed coffee over ice instead.
So, in an opinionated word, yes. Cold brew is better.
What do I need to make cold brew?
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- Coffee grinder – we use this one (Note: you can use pre-ground coffee, but you’ll risk getting too-fine coffee grounds in the final product. Because a medium to coarse grind is best for making cold brew, a coffee grinder comes in handy.)
- Takeya Cold Brew Pitcher – like this one
There are several ways to make cold brew coffee concentrate. My ingredients and recipe today are specifically for the Toddy Cold Brew System, which is what we use and prefer. If you choose to use the Takeya Cold Brew Pitcher, see this tutorial; if you choose to use a large container and cheesecloth, see this tutorial.
- 12oz whole coffee beans (dark roast works best)
- 7 cups cold, filtered water
- Saran wrap
- Wooden spoon (optional)
How do I make cold brew coffee concentrate?
1 | Saturate filter and squeeze out excess water. The filter should be damp.
2 | Cork the bottom of the Toddy and insert filter.
3 | Add 1 C water to Toddy.
4 | Grind half of the bag of coffee beans to medium/coarse grounds.
5 | Carefully layer grounds on top of the water in the Toddy.
6 | Slowly pour 3 C water over grounds, making sure to evenly distribute it.
7 | Grind the rest of the bag of coffee beans to medium/coarse grounds.
8 | Carefully layer grounds on top of the water/grounds mixture. Wait 5 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
9 | Slowly pour 3 C water over grounds, making sure to evenly distribute it.
10 | (Optional) Carefully press (don’t stir!) the grounds with a wooden spoon to make sure they’re all saturated.
11 | Cover with saran wrap.
12 | Place on counter or in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. The longer you brew it, the stronger it will be. Riley brews his for about 14-15 hours.
13 | Remove cork from Toddy and decant liquid into pitcher. Dispose of grounds.
Or, refill your Toddy with water and do a second brew. Riley often does this! The second batch is less intense in flavor, but still smooth and delicious. He adds about seven cups of water on top of the already-saturated grounds, covers the Toddy with saran wrap, and drains it the next morning into another pitcher.
How do I use cold brew coffee concentrate?
To make hot coffee, mix one part cold brew with one part hot water. Heat if necessary. Add cream and sugar as desired.
Fun addition: make a tray of cold brew ice cubes to use when you make iced coffee. Then, when the ice melts, it doesn’t water down your drink.
Enjoy! If you’ve never tried cold brew, you can try cold brewed iced coffee at Starbucks (it’s a recent menu addition!) or at most small coffee shops (the more hipster, the more likely). You’ll fall in love, it’s incredibly delicious! 🙂
// Have you ever tried cold brew? Have you ever made your own?
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