This guide was written by me, Brandon Nolet, in the context that I’m definitely a snob when it comes to coffee and I want you to make cold brew.
What is Cold Brew?
The term “cold brew” in the context of coffee is the process through which you extract the flavour from a roasted coffee bean by mixing cold water and ground coffee beans. The difference in cold brew vs. the regular process of brewing coffee is the *cold* water that’s used as the extraction medium. As most who drink coffee know, coffee is usually brewed using a method that employs hot water as the extraction medium.
Using cold water will often intensify the existing tones in the hot coffee that you drink using that same bean for brewing. This is because the cold brewing method has a longer steeping time (sorry to borrow from tea terminology) meaning that the beans remain in the extraction medium (in this case cold water) for a longer period of time. As well, because the cold water doesn’t extract as much of the acidity of a given bean, the coffee will taste less bitter.
How to Make Cold Brew
Firstly you’re going to need some sort of container medium to hold the coffee while it’s brewing. I recommend using a mason jar but realistically you’ll be fine with any closable container.
Secondly, you’ll need a way to remove the grounds from the coffee. Nobody wants a mouthful of grounds; unless you like to chew on them, weirdo. I recommend using something like an aeropress but you could always just use a coffee filter in a traditional coffee maker. I’ll outline the steps using both methods.
Lastly, I recommend using filtered water rather than straight tap water. If you can use something from your water-cooler or even bottled water (not nestle, those fuckers can’t provide good water for their lives) that’s great. Otherwise, you could always use water that was filtered by a Brita filter.
For maximum morning enjoyment, this will have to be prepared the night before you intend to drink the coffee. Two nights before if you want some really intense flavours.
Grind your coffee beans. The recommended measurement 3⁄4 cup beans per 4 cups of cold water. You could probably go with 1⁄2 cup for the beans if you want the same intensity as hot brew coffee.
- I recommend using freshly ground coffee beans. It’s less “convenient” than buying already-ground coffee beans but it makes a huge difference in the end.
Put the ground coffee beans in your container medium.
Pour the cold water into the container medium, trying to cover all the grounds.
Stir the mix of grounds and water for about ten seconds.
Close the container medium and store in the refrigerator overnight.
The cold brew coffee should be ready the next day or after 8 hours. I like to leave it over two nights sometimes which, again, results in a more intense flavour profile, still. Next up, removing the coffee bean grounds from the coffee.
Removing the Grounds
Due to the volume limitations of the aeropress, this is the less-preferred method of removing the grounds. We will proceed however:
- Having put the filter+cap on the bottom of the brewing container part of the aeropress, place the brewing container on your coffee cup/mug and pour the grounds+coffee mixture into the brewing container. You might not have enough room to fit the entirety of the container medium’s contents but this will just mean to repeat this process over again. You can use the same filter after rinsing the ensemble of aeropress parts.
- Place the plunger in the brewing container and press down slowly until all the liquid is removed. Rinse-and-repeat if necessary.
- You now have a cold brew coffee. Add any milk/cream and/or sugar if you wish. Or whatever spices you want as well. Enjoy!
Traditional Coffee Maker
This is definitely the preferred method for removing the grounds when you want to make a lot of cold brew in one “sitting”. Because you can continuously pour cold brew into the filter and have a larger volume filter to work with, you’ll be able to save time with larger batches.
- Place your coffee pot below the brew container for the coffee maker. Don’t turn the coffee maker on unless you want to drink hot cold-brew. That’s a thing.
- Place the filter in the top of the coffee maker.
- Pour the contents of your container medium (coffee+grounds) into the top of the coffee maker slowly, letting time for the coffee to pour through to the coffee pot.
- Pour continuously stopping before you risk overflowing the filter. Repeat until all the coffee is in the coffee pot.
If you find after a few pours (depending on the volume of cold brew you’ve made) that the coffee is going through much slower than when you started pouring, feel free to change out the filter. For a few cups of coffee, I don’t anticipate this being needed.
- Mix grounds and cold water in an airtight-sealable container.
- Store in fridge overnight
- Remove coffee grounds
- Add fixins