The first question most people ask is "What is the difference between iced coffee and cold brew? Aren't they the same thing?" No, they are not. Iced coffee is taking hot-brewed coffee and chilling it, usually with ice. Iced coffee is coffee that is made with ground coffee and room temperature water and it is usually steeped between 12-24 hours.
Why Make Cold Brew Coffee?
There are some advantages to cold brew coffee. Here are some of them:
- Economical - Buying any of the pre-made or store-made cold brews will cost you. Just like anything else, when you make it yourself, you save money.
- Time Saver - Sort of like food prepping, you can make a big batch of cold brew and it will last you several days. No more brewing coffee every morning.
- Less Bitter - Cold brew typically is much smoother and less bitter than hot-brewed coffee. Hot water is what brings the bitterness out of the coffee beans, so by using room temp water, the bitter taste isn't extracted.
Best Coffee/Grounds for Cold Brew
The best coffee to use for cold brew is whatever your favorite coffee happens to be. My favorite is the Sand and Sea St. Lucia medium/dark roast. Delish!
The type of grounds does matter and can effect the cold brew. If possible, use coarse ground coffee. If that is not an option, you can use standard ground/drip coffee, but don't let it brew as long as you would with coarse ground coffee. The smaller grind in a standard grind allows for quicker flavor extraction and if it brews too long, it may be too bitter. Avoid a finely ground coffee, it usually clumps together when the water is added and it will collect and stay at the bottom of your concentrate.
Cold Brew Coffee to Water Ratio
Use 1/4 cup of ground coffee to 1 cup of water. Using cups eliminates the need for a scale and added time to the process. The recipe makes a concentrate that you will be diluting, so don't be concerned about the 1:4 coffee to water ratio.
How-to for Cold Brew
- Using your favorite Sand and Sea specialty coffee, grind your beans to a medium or coarse grind.
- Measure out your coffee grounds and room temperature water in a ratio of 1/4 cup of coffee grounds to 1 cup of water.
- Add the coffee grounds and water to a large pitcher or liquid container large enough, stir the solution and then cover with a lid and leave at room temperature. Stir occasionally and let steep for the next 12-24 hours, depending on coffee strength preference.
- There are many cold brew makers that have containers with mesh or metal filters for the coffee inside of a large container. Here are some to choose from on Amazon: https://amzn.to/45XGIBz
- If you are not using a specialized cold brew maker with the coffee in a separate filter that can be removed, then you will need to filter the coffee grounds out of the mixture. This can be done by pouring the mixture through a coffee filter and discarding the filter and grounds.
- If you prefer, serve the chilled coffee over ice and dilute up to 50% with water. You can also add syrups, milk or my favorite, protein drinks, to add some flavor.
How to Serve Cold Brew Coffee
This concentrate that you now have is best when diluted 1:1 with water or your choice of milk or protein drink.
One fun twist is to make a coffee soda by adding the concentrate with seltzer water, however, you should use 2 or 3 parts seltzer to 1 part cold brew concentrate, with a touch of simple syrup.
How Long is Cold Brew Concentrate Good For?
Once the cold brew concentrate is done brewing, the grounds need to be removed and the cold brew should be refrigerated. After refrigeration, the cold brew concentrate is best for about 3 days. The longer it is kept, the flavor will get weaker.