Cold Brew Coffee: A Guide to Brewing with Coffee Beans

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has gained immense popularity for its smooth, rich flavor and lower acidity compared to traditional brewing methods. If you’re eager to learn how to make the perfect cold brew at home, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the step-by-step process of brewing cold brew coffee using coffee beans. From selecting the right brewing equipment to diluting and enjoying your final brew, we will cover everything you need to know.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cold brew coffee is a popular brewing method known for its smooth flavor and lower acidity.
  • By following the right steps and using the correct equipment, you can make delicious cold brew coffee at home.
  • Proper brewing equipment, such as a sealable vessel or a cold brew system, is essential for the cold brew process.
  • The brew ratio and grind size play a crucial role in achieving the desired flavor and strength of the cold brew.
  • After brewing, the cold brew needs to be filtered to remove any solids, ensuring a clean and smooth final product.

Selecting the Right Brewing Equipment

When it comes to brewing cold brew coffee, you don’t need fancy equipment. Any sealable vessel that can be stored in the fridge overnight will work as a brewer. Popular options include mason jars, the Toddy Cold Brew System, and the Hario Mizudashi. Remember to sanitize your brewing equipment before use to prevent bacterial growth.

One highly versatile and readily available option for brewing cold brew coffee is the mason jar. With its airtight seal and glass construction, a mason jar provides a convenient and cost-effective way to make cold brew at home. Its transparent design also allows you to monitor the brewing process and admire the beautiful coffee extraction.

If you’re looking for a more specialized brewing system, the Toddy Cold Brew System is a popular choice among cold brew enthusiasts. This system is specifically designed for cold brew and allows for large batch brewing. It features a durable brewing container, a reusable filter, and a handy decanter for storing and serving your cold brew.

Another option worth considering is the Hario Mizudashi, a Japanese-style cold brew coffee maker. This sleek and compact device simplifies the brewing process and produces a smooth, flavorful cold brew. It utilizes a built-in filter and a mesh strainer to ensure a clean and sediment-free brew.

Regardless of the equipment you choose, it’s essential to sanitize it before every use. Cleaning your brewing equipment helps eliminate any lingering residues or contaminants that could affect the quality of your cold brew. Simply wash the equipment with warm, soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and allow it to air dry before brewing.

To summarize, when selecting the right brewing equipment for your cold brew coffee, consider options such as mason jars, the Toddy Cold Brew System, or the Hario Mizudashi. Each option offers its own unique advantages, so choose one that best suits your preferences and brewing needs. And don’t forget to sanitize your equipment for a clean and delicious brew every time.

brewing equipment

Determining the Brew Ratio and Grind Size

To achieve consistent and delicious cold brew coffee, it is essential to pay attention to two factors: the brew ratio and the grind size. These elements greatly influence the taste and quality of your cold brew. Let’s dive into each one to discover the secrets behind a perfect cold brew.

Brew Ratio: Finding the Perfect Balance

Brew ratio refers to the amount of coffee grounds used in proportion to the amount of water. It determines the strength and flavor intensity of your cold brew. The recommended brew ratio for cold brew coffee is 1 gram of coffee per 8 grams of water. However, this ratio is not set in stone, and you can adjust it according to your personal taste preferences.

Experimenting with different brew ratios allows you to fine-tune the strength of your cold brew. If you prefer a stronger brew, you can increase the coffee-to-water ratio. Conversely, if you prefer a milder taste, you can decrease the amount of coffee grounds. Adjusting the brew ratio gives you the flexibility to create a cold brew that suits your individual taste buds.

Grind Size: Striking the Right Balance

The grind size for cold brew coffee is crucial in achieving optimal extraction and flavor. For cold brew, a medium-coarse grind size is recommended. This grind size strikes a balance between extracting the flavors from the coffee beans and minimizing the extraction of bitter compounds. A medium-coarse grind helps produce a smooth and clean cold brew with a well-rounded flavor profile.

To achieve the perfect grind size for your cold brew, it is highly recommended to use an adjustable burr grinder. Burr grinders offer precise control over the grind size, ensuring consistency and uniformity. The ability to adjust the grind size allows you to customize your cold brew according to your preference. Whether you prefer a slightly finer grind for a more robust flavor or a coarser grind for a lighter taste, an adjustable burr grinder is an essential tool for achieving the desired grind size.

In summary, mastering the brew ratio and selecting the appropriate grind size are key factors in brewing a delicious cold brew coffee. By adjusting the brew ratio and using a medium-coarse grind size with an adjustable burr grinder, you can create a cold brew that perfectly suits your taste preferences.

adjustable burr grinder

Brewing and Filtering the Cold Brew

Now that you have all the necessary equipment, it’s time to start brewing your cold brew coffee. The brewing time for cold brew typically ranges around 14 hours, but this can vary depending on factors such as the temperature and grind size. Remember, patience is key when it comes to cold brew!

To ensure the best results, it is important to brew your coffee in the fridge. Brewing at a colder temperature helps minimize the risk of bacterial growth and ensures a smooth and delicious cold brew.

Once your cold brew has finished steeping, it’s time to filter out any solid particles and unwanted sediments. There are various filtration methods you can use, such as paper filters or cheesecloth. These methods effectively remove any grounds, giving you a clean and smooth finished product.

Filtration MethodDescription
Paper FiltersPlace a paper filter over a container or carafe and pour your cold brew through it. The filter will capture the coffee grounds, leaving you with a clear and smooth cold brew.
CheeseclothLine a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a container or carafe. Pour your cold brew through the strainer, allowing the cheesecloth to catch any sediments or particles.

Regardless of the filtration method you choose, take your time and allow the cold brew to filter naturally. This ensures that you achieve a clean and flavorful cold brew coffee.

filtration methods

Diluting and Enjoying the Cold Brew

Once you’ve brewed your cold brew coffee, you’ll have a concentrated brew that requires dilution before it can be enjoyed. Diluting the cold brew helps to balance its flavors and create a smooth, refreshing drink. The dilution ratio you choose will depend on your personal preference for strength. It’s worth noting that the concentrate is generally stronger than regular coffee, so diluting it is essential to achieve the desired taste.

The recommended dilution ratio for cold brew is typically between 2:1 and 1:1, with two parts water to one part concentrate or equal parts water and concentrate. However, feel free to adjust the ratio based on how strong or mild you prefer your cold brew to be. Experimentation is the key to finding your perfect balance.

When diluting your cold brew, consider using filtered or spring water to preserve the purity of the flavors. Avoid using tap water, as it may contain impurities that can affect the taste.

Flavor Customization

One of the great things about cold brew is its versatility when it comes to flavor customization. While cold brew offers a naturally smooth and sweet taste, you can enhance and personalize the flavors by adding various ingredients to the dilution process. Here are some ideas:

  1. Spices: Elevate your cold brew experience by adding a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to your dilution mixture. These spices can add warmth and depth to the flavors.
  2. Syrups: Experiment with flavored syrups like vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut to give your cold brew a hint of sweetness and complexity.
  3. Flavored Sugars: Try using flavored sugars, such as lavender-infused sugar or ginger sugar, to infuse unique flavors into your cold brew.

Remember to start with small amounts when adding additional flavors and adjust according to your taste preferences. Be creative and have fun exploring different combinations for a truly customized cold brew experience.

Once you have diluted and customized your cold brew, take a moment to sit back, relax, and savor the flavors. Cold brew coffee is meant to be enjoyed slowly, allowing its rich and smooth profile to unfold gently on your palate.

Dilution RatioDescription
2:1Two parts water to one part cold brew concentrate. This ratio yields a milder, less concentrated flavor.
1:1Equal parts water and cold brew concentrate. This ratio provides a balanced and refreshing taste.

Tips and Storage for Cold Brew Coffee

To ensure the freshness of your cold brew, it is best to consume it within a week of brewing. After a week, the flavor may start to deteriorate, but you can still use the leftover brew in cooking or baking. Storing your cold brew in a closed container in the fridge will help maintain its freshness.

If you have some cold brew left over and don’t want it to go to waste, here are a few ideas for incorporating it into your culinary creations:

  1. Cold Brew Smoothie: Blend your leftover cold brew with your favorite fruits, yogurt, and a splash of milk for a refreshing and caffeinated smoothie.
  2. Cold Brew Ice Cubes: Pour your leftover cold brew into ice cube trays and freeze them. These coffee ice cubes can be added to iced coffee or even cocktails to keep your drinks chilled without diluting them.
  3. Cold Brew Popsicles: Mix your leftover cold brew with some sweetened condensed milk, pour the mixture into popsicle molds, and freeze. These coffee popsicles are a delightful treat on a hot summer day.
  4. Cold Brew Marinade: Use your leftover cold brew as a base for a flavorful meat marinade. The natural acidity in the coffee can help tenderize and add depth of flavor to your grilled meats.

By getting creative with your leftover cold brew, you can enjoy its unique flavor in a variety of ways and avoid wastage.

Tips for Proper Cold Brew Storage:

When storing your cold brew, it is important to follow these guidelines:

  1. Use airtight containers: Transfer your cold brew to airtight containers, such as mason jars or glass bottles with tight-fitting lids, to prevent oxidation and maintain its flavor.
  2. Keep it refrigerated: Store your cold brew in the refrigerator at all times to slow down the deterioration process and maintain freshness.
  3. Avoid exposure to light and air: Light and air can degrade the quality of your cold brew. Store it in a dark and cool place within the fridge, away from direct sunlight.

By following these storage tips, you can maximize the freshness and enjoy the full flavor of your cold brew coffee even after it has been brewed.

Exploring Cold Brew Variations and Recipes

Cold brew coffee is a versatile brewing method that allows for a wide range of variations and flavors. Not only can you enjoy it as a refreshing and smooth beverage on its own, but you can also get creative and experiment with different recipes to elevate your cold brew experience.

One popular way to enhance the flavor of cold brew is by adding various spices or flavored sugars. You can infuse your cold brew with cinnamon, vanilla, or even a hint of cardamom to create delightful and aromatic variations. These added flavors beautifully complement the naturally sweet and chocolatey notes of the cold brew, resulting in a truly unique taste sensation.

If you’re looking to take your cold brew to the next level, consider using it as a base for cold brew cocktails or mixed drinks. The rich and smooth character of cold brew pairs exceptionally well with spirits like bourbon or vodka. You can also add a splash of liqueur, such as Irish cream or coffee-flavored options, for a delectable twist. Don’t forget to garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or a sprinkle of cocoa powder to elevate the presentation.

Whether you’re sipping on a flavored cold brew or indulging in a creative cocktail, the possibilities with cold brew coffee are endless. Get inspired and experiment with different variations and recipes to find your perfect cup. From spicy vanilla-infused cold brew to indulgent espresso martinis, cold brew opens up a whole new world of taste sensations to explore and enjoy.


What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a brewing method that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period, usually around 14 hours. This results in a smooth and less acidic coffee concentrate that can be diluted and enjoyed over ice.

Do I need special equipment to make cold brew coffee?

No, you don’t need fancy equipment to make cold brew coffee. Any sealable vessel that can be stored in the fridge overnight will work as a brewer. Popular options include mason jars, the Toddy Cold Brew System, and the Hario Mizudashi.

What is the recommended brew ratio for cold brew coffee?

The recommended brew ratio is 1 gram of coffee for every 8 grams of water. However, you can adjust the ratio according to your taste preference. It’s crucial to find the right balance of coffee and water to achieve a well-extracted and flavorful cold brew.

What grind size should I use for cold brew coffee?

For cold brew coffee, it’s best to use a medium-coarse grind size. This helps to prevent over-extraction and bitterness. Using an adjustable burr grinder can help you achieve the desired grind size consistently.

How long should I brew cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee typically requires a brewing time of around 14 hours. However, this can vary based on factors such as temperature and grind size. It’s crucial to brew the coffee in the fridge to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.

How do I filter the cold brew coffee?

After brewing, you’ll need to filter the cold brew to remove any solids. You can use methods such as paper filters or cheesecloth to achieve a smooth and sediment-free brew. Filtering the cold brew is essential for a clean and enjoyable drinking experience.

Do I need to dilute the cold brew coffee?

Yes, the cold brew you’ve brewed is typically a concentrate and needs to be diluted before consumption. The recommended dilution ratio is between 2:1 and 1:1, depending on your preference for strength. Diluting the cold brew allows you to customize the flavor and enjoy it over ice.

Can I customize the flavor of my cold brew coffee?

Absolutely! Cold brew coffee is a versatile base that can be customized with various flavors. You can enhance the taste by adding spices, syrups, or flavored sugars to create your desired flavor profile. Get creative and explore different combinations to elevate your cold brew experience.

How long can I store cold brew coffee?

To ensure the freshness of your cold brew, it’s best to consume it within a week of brewing. After a week, the flavor may start to deteriorate. However, if you have leftover brew, you can still use it in cooking or baking to avoid wastage. Storing the cold brew in a closed container in the fridge will help maintain its freshness.

What can I make with cold brew coffee besides drinking it straight?

Cold brew coffee is a versatile brewing method that can be used in various recipes. Besides diluting it with water or milk, you can use cold brew as a base for refreshing cold brew cocktails or mixed drinks. It also works well in recipes that call for coffee as an ingredient, such as desserts or marinades.