Best Type of Coffee For Cold Brew

What is Cold Brew?

Cold brew coffee is brewed with room temperature or cold water for a 12- 20 hours. (don’t go over 20 hours because you will get some unpleasant woody tastes.)

Isn’t that Iced Coffee?

No. Iced coffee is brewed hot and then has ice added to it.

The water is normally added to coarse coffee grounds.

The water to coffee ratio can vary when you are making a cold brew.

It varies between 6-8:1 water to coffee grounds.

If in doubt, use more coffee rather than less.

This is because if it is a little strong, it can always be diluted with more water.

But, if you skimp on the coffee and the solution ends up too weak, you will just have to throw it away!

There are lots of different methods of making cold brew coffee and in the next section, we will look at five of the most common methods and a much less known about technique.

The Five Ways To Cold Brew Coffee

The five commonly used methods are all immersion methods.

This means that for the duration of the brewing process, the coffee grounds are fully immersed in the water.

The more unique approach is a drip method of making cold brew coffee.

For this, cold water is dripped onto coffee grounds and through a filter.

Making Cold Brew with a French Press

The short video above demonstrates how to cold brew coffee using a French press.

For this method, you will need a french press, coarsely ground coffee and a some water.

The great thing about the French press is that it has the filter built right into it!

Using a 7: 1 ratio, this means that you will need 140g of grounds for a liter of (room temperature) water.

Step 1: Pour the coffee into the french press.

Step 2: Add the water and using a spoon gently stir the mixture so that all the coffee grounds are in contact with the water.

Step 3: Put the lid onto the french press

Step 4: Leave for 12- 13 hours

Step 5: Plunge it (slowly!)

Step 6: Pour the coffee into a jug

Making Cold Brew Coffee With a Mason Jar

The short video above, highlights the steps needed to make cold brew coffee with a mason jar.

For this you will need a quart size mason jar, 50g (¾ cup) medium size ground coffee, refrigerated water.

Step 1: Add the coffee grounds into the mason jar.

Step 2: Now add the water until the water is just below the neck or shoulders of the jar.

Step 3: Screw the lid on the jar tightly and turn the jar upside down a few times to make sure that all of the coffee mixes into the water.

Step 4: Now place the jar into your fridge for 16 hours.

Step 5: Take it out of the fridge and filter it.

In the video a Hario Glass Dripper is used.

But you can use your basket from your drip coffee maker or a fine meshed strainer.

The coffee will take a few minutes to filter so be patient.

Step 6: Now you can drink this coffee how you like, perhaps you fancy an iced coffee

Making Cold Brew with an AeroPress

A third popular way to make cold brew coffee is with an AeroPress and the video above provides a step by step guide about how to do it. 

This is a great choice, if you just want a single portion of cold brew coffee.

Step 1: Place 35- 40 g ground coffee (use a grind between espresso and drip) into your aeropress

Step 2: Add 150 ml of room temperature water.

Step 3: Stir the grounds and water so that they are well mixed.

Step 4: Place the cap on the aeropress and leave for between 12 and 24 hours.

Step 5: Now plunge the aeropress and empty the contents into a mug.

Step 6: If you want to store this in a fridge put it into an airtight container.

Now that we have covered the three main methods of making cold brew coffee using immersion methods, it is time to turn our attention to a different approach. 

Making Cold Brew With a Drip “Machine”

The Drip Method of Cold Brew Coffee (Source.)

Dripped cold brew is a very popular method of making cold brew coffee in places such as Japan but it is less well known elsewhere- especially in America.

It is a far more challenging way of cold brewing than any immersion method because it is much more high maintenance and “hands on”. 

The immersion method, once it starts can be left alone, but the drip approach needs to be looked at now and then to make sure that the drip rate is consistent.

And then there’s the fact that some of the equipment looks like a work of art- with all the curved glass. 

But fortunately the drip approach only lasts between three to six hours.

Cold brew coffee made via drip is less concentrated than the immersion method because the water spends less time “with” the coffee.

The Best Grind for Cold Brew Coffee

Like most other brewing methods, having the correct size grind is crucial to your cold brew success.

If the coffee grounds are too fine, the coffee will be over extracted (it will have an overpowering and bitter flavor.)

Too coarse and the coffee will be under extracted (it will have a taste that is weak and salty.)

The most recommended grind size is coarse- similar to the grind size that you would use in your french press.

Advantages of Cold Brew

  • Stronger: The coffee that is brewed is much, much  stronger than the coffee brewed using other methods. 
  • Smooth:  Cold brew coffee has a much smoother taste because of the amount of time that the grinds have spent in contact with the water
  • Less Acidic: better for people with delicate stomachs/ reflux
  • Nothing New: If you fancy trying out cold brewing coffee, many methods use equipment that you might already have
  • Concentrate: The coffee is stronger and so it can be watered down and made to last longer. 

Disadvantages of Cold Brew

  • Time
  • Uses lots of coffee
  • Less Antioxidants

History of Cold Brew Coffee

Which came first? Dutch or Japanese cold brew coffee?

A bit like the chicken and the egg, no one truly knows if the Dutch or Japanese were the first ones to brew coffee using cold water.

Some believe that it was Dutch sailors who created it because it was easier to create and store on their long voyages by ship in the 1600’s.

Others look to Kyoto in Japan in the 1600’s where cold brew coffee was created by letting water drip onto ground coffee.

In the 19th century, members of the French foreign legion were served a coffee concentrate diluted with cold water.

In the mid 20th century the Brits had a brand of coffee called “Camp Coffee” that was based on a cold brew method.

And in the Swinging 1960’s the first cold brew coffee system was created by Todd (Toddy) Simpson after a visit to Guatemala.

In the mid noughties it was still a very niche product in the USA and was restricted to the South.

It all changed in 2015, as Starbucks introduced cold brew coffee throughout the U.S. 

Common Mistakes Cold Brew Coffee

To my reckoning, there are 10 common mistakes that you can make to wreck your cold brew process and here they are;

#1. Grind Too Fine

This is one of the biggest mistakes that a cold coffee brewer can make. If your grind is too fine (and remember that we are looking for a coarse grind) then your coffee will taste too bitter because the grinds have dissolved too much.

The delicious flavors from the beans have dissolved as well as other nasty “woody” type flavors as well.

#2. Impatience!

Another big mistake that can be made is caused by impatience- the coffee is not given long enough to brew.

The world and his wife has an opinion on the ideal duration for the coffee to brew.

I have read blogs that say that brew time should be 12 hours, or 18 hours or 24 hours (and a few dodgy claims that you should leave it for 36 hours.)

But the one thing I haven’t read any advice that is shorter than 12 hours.

So at the bare minimum leave your brew for 12 hours.

Make it easy on yourself and leave it overnight- that way you won’t be so impatient!

#3. Small Batches

Because the brewing process takes so long, to many people it doesn’t make sense to make a small batch of cold brew coffee.

After all, you can store it in your fridge for at least a week.

So, why not make a week’s worth of coffee?

There are exceptions to every rule and in this case, it will be aeropress addicts who do everything coffee related in an aeropress.

#4. Straining Too Quickly

Strain your brew carefully and slowly.

It would be a shame if after all of this waiting, you end up spitting grounds of coffee out because you just couldn’t wait.

#5. Drinking It Neat

Cold brewing coffee creates a concentrated coffee.

It isn’t meant to be drunk neat, however rough last night was!

The caffeine content of a neat cold brew could see you bouncing off the walls for hours.

Treat cold brew coffee in the same way that many people treat Scotch- it needs to be diluted.

It has been hours in the making, try not to consume it in one go.

#6. Using Freshest Beans

Cold brewing is not a process that requires the freshest and best quality grounds that you can possibly lay your hands on.

But neither should you use it as a means of using up that bag of coffee that has been sitting in the back of your cupboard since the beginning of time.

Cold brewing is a slow process that makes it a more forgiving.

Try cold brewing with your everyday beans and save your “birthday” beans for other coffee brews.

#7. Wrong Ratio

This is an easy mistake to make, because “man oh man” that looks like a lot of ground coffee.

You are right, that is a shed load of coffee.

But remember cold brew coffee makes a concentrate that you can dilute with water or milk or.

Trust the scales or the cup you are using and not your eyes- you won’t be disappointed.

#8. Water Temperature

In describing a cold brew system, some experts write about the ideal temperature of water that is needed.

Should you use room temperature water or chilled water. Maybe I should buy a thermometer?

Stop it!

Don’t let the indecision prevent you from brewing.

Both approaches will create lovely coffee.

Try using water of different temperatures.

#9. Storing It Too Long

This is tempting.

After all think of the effort that you have put in to creating this cup of “heaven”.

However tempting it might be too savour it for as long as possible, know this.

Cold brew concentrate can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks but the taste will deteriorate after just a week.

#10. Stuck in a Rut

The last mistake that any of us can make with our cold brew system is that we never ever alter it.

Don’t get stuck in a rut and follow the same guidelines repeatedly.

Experiment a little.

How about using a different type of roast? Or leaving it to brew for slightly longer? What about mixing up the ratio between water and coffee?

Making slight changes might surprise you and make an even better cup of coffee.

Tiny Footprint Cold Brew

Details

  • Grind Bean
  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Roast Light & Dark
  • Organic Yes
  • Blend Not Specified
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

This is my kind of company.

The Tiny Footprint company is the world’s first carbon negative coffee company.

As well as producing great coffee, this company invests in reforesting Ecuador’s cloud forest.

These organic beans are a wonderful mixture of a light and dark roast with a sweet, silky richness with subtle bright fruit and floral tones.

Get your mason jar at the ready!

Stone Street Cold Brew

Details

  • Grind Coarse
  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Roast Dark
  • Organic No
  • Blend Single
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

Stone Street cold brew is a very popular bag of dark roasted, coarse coffee grounds.

These Colombian beans have been specially selected to help you to create the perfect cold brew.

Its dark roast qualities are perfect for the long, slow soaking of a cold brew.

Your coffee will be very smooth with sweet and bold flavor.

With a three layer, state of the art resealable bag this coffee will stay as fresh as the day you bought it.

Bizzy Organic Cold Brew

Details

  • Grind Coarse
  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Roast Light, Medium & Dark
  • Organic Yes
  • Blend Yes
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

Bizzy coffee for busy people.

Bizzy want to make the cold brew process are easy as possible.

Using organic coffee from Peru and Nigeria, this pack contains not two but three different roast levels- light, medium and dark.

Combining together, these different beans create a marvellous sweet and smooth flavor.

The beans are then coarsely ground before being packaged and sent out to you.

Cold Brew Lab

Details

  • Grind Coarse
  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Roast Medium & Dark
  • Organic Yes
  • Blend Yes
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

Cold Brew Lab- what a great name for a coffee company.

An in our search for the perfect cup of coffee, many of us are coffee scientists.

This is another organic selection of Colombian Supremo beans.

Some of the beans are medium roasted and others are dark roasted before being mixed up and ground to an extra coarse size.

The result is a coffee that is less acidic, exceeding smooth and slightly sweet.

As Cold Brew Lab say, “stop wasting money at your local cafe and start brewing at home!”

Chosen Bean Cold Brew

Details

  • Grind Coarse
  • Weight 12 oz.
  • Roast Medium & Dark
  • Organic No
  • Blend Yes
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

If your a person that likes attention to detail, you will love Chosen Bean.

Chosen beans are sourced from single origin farms in four different locations.

Each bean is selected according to an incredible 14 different criteria, including taste and size.

Hand roasted in small batches, this bag is a mixture of light and dark roasted beans.

Each bean is roasted to absolute perfection before being coarse grounded and packaged in a double layered bag that locks the perfection in.

And at the end of it all, your cold brew coffee will have notes of  sweet, milk chocolate and a hint of cherry.

Stone Cold Jo Cold Brew

Details

  • Grind Coarse
  • Weight 12 oz.
  • Roast Dark
  • Organic Yes
  • Blend Yes
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

Stone Cold Jo- is this the name of a coffee or a description of a big sister that we have upset?!

Either way, it is very clever.

This is a 12 oz. bag of coarse ground coffee from the finest Arabica beans- only the top 2% pass the “entrance” exam.

And these top quality beans are all organic and fair traded.

Yeah, but that is all well and good but what will my coffee taste like?

Every sip will have hints of toffee, caramel, chocolate, and grape.

That sounds great…

Don Francisco’s Organic Cold Brew

Details

  • Grind Not Specified
  • Weight 9 oz.
  • Roast Medium/ Dark
  • Organic Yes
  • Blend Yes
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

How can you make cold brewing coffee easier?

Don Francisco cold brew comes in sachets, that just need to be emptied into water.

And many people like this convenience.

Particularly when the coffee is being prepared just before bed time.

Let’s face it, we are not exactly at our brightest.

This pack contains 4 sachets of organic ground coffee that has been specially blended to create a perfectly balanced and distinctively smooth cup of coffee.

Joe Coffee Company Cold Brew

Details

  • Grind Coarse
  • Weight 12 oz.
  • Roast Not Specified
  • Organic No
  • Blend Yes
  • Decaf No
  • Find Out More

Features

Cleverly named the “Overnighter”, this 12 oz. pack is a newcomer to the cold brew market.

Selecting the finest coffee from hundreds of samples a year, the beans are roasted in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The beans are roasted and ground on a weekly basis and each pack has a “roast date” to guarantee freshness.

Just how quickly will you finish this pack?

Your brew will have a smooth and sweet flavor with notes of chocolate, nuts and nougat.

Now, that sounds like my favorite chocolate bar!

Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew Coffee

Details

  • Grind Coarse
  • Weight 12 oz.
  • Roast Not Specified
  • Organic No
  • Blend Yes
  • Decaf No

Features

Cold brew coffee from a Donut company?

No, I have not gone totally mad.

Dunkin’ Donuts are thought to sell over two billion cups of coffee every year.

These are people who know a thing or two about coffee and their cold brew sachets are very popular.

Like Don Francisco, this cold brew comes in easy to use sachets that create the minimum of mess.

And this cold brew makes exceptional iced coffee.

A glazed donut anyone?

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