You’ve probably heard about cold brew coffee a lot recently – it’s sold in hip cafés and it’s on the shelves of trendy food markets. And, while it’s essentially cold coffee, it isn’t just any kind of cold coffee. It’s a cut above the rest — the kind you wouldn’t top with whipped cream or squeeze artificial syrups into.
Cold brew coffee has a smooth texture and a rich, umami flavor. It’s made with care and a bit of patience which, we understand, makes it all the more appealing. But fear not, you don’t need to spend all your money on $4 cold brews. We have an easy cold brew coffee recipe that won’t just satisfy your taste buds, but your wallet too.
Why it’s different than iced coffee
Cold brew coffee is often mistaken for iced coffee but there are some distinguishable differences between the two. The former is basically ground coffee that’s steeped in cold water overnight and then strained, whereas the latter is generally brewed hot and then poured over ice to cool it down.
But what difference does that make exactly? Well, making iced coffee is generally a rapid process, where the hot water instantly extracts the flavor from the bean, making it taste more acidic and bitter. On top of that, iced coffee is usually made to be more intense because it’s about to be filled (and thus diluted) with ice to cool it down. Cold brew coffee, on the other hand, takes around 16-24 hours to produce. The gentle infusion allows the coffee to naturally sweeten and take on less acidity and because it never touches hot water, any ice you add to it will hold its own for a while.
What’s so good about cold brew?
Here are some more perks of cold brew coffee:
- As we just mentioned, the steeping process used to make cold brew coffee brews a more mellow and less acidic tasting coffee.
- The cold brew method also ensures a slower release of caffeine, meaning you won’t get that uncomfortable caffeine hit or crash. For the same reason, it turns out to be easier for your stomach to handle.
- If you brewed it well, your beverage will last for up to two weeks, so you can make a big batch at once and save yourself the hassle of a regular, long brewing time.
- Finally, it’s also possible to make an extract of the cold brew since it’s made with a higher ratio of coffee to water. Brew a super strong small batch and use it to inject coffee flavor into various recipes like smoothies, oatmeal or desserts.
Make your own cold brew coffee + recipe
Do we have you convinced? While it takes 16-24 hours to brew a good cold brew at home, we promise it requires little effort and that you probably have most of the things (if not everything) you need to get started right now. Here’s the best cold brew coffee recipe (in our humble opinion).
Ingredients for 8 cups of cold brew coffee
- 8 ounces coffee beans (whole beans)
- 8 cups water
- Jar with lid
- Coffee grinder
- Cheesecloth (a sheet of muslin or paper towel will do)
- Grind the coffee beans with a coffee grinder until you get a coarse grind. You may want to grind the coffee in batches to make sure you don’t overload your grinder.
- Add the ground coffee to a jar or pitcher, then add the water and carefully stir until it’s well-combined. Don’t worry if the coffee starts to float on top of the water, but ensure that you’ve wet all of it.
- Cover the jar with the lid, then let it steep in the fridge overnight. Leave it in there for at least 16 hours, but up to 24 hours.
- Once you’re ready, line a strainer with the cheesecloth and set it over a container of your choice. Slowly start pouring the coffee mixture into the strainer. Pour slowly as the coffee with strain slowly.
Transfer your strained coffee to a clean, airtight jar. The unstrained cold brew (with the coffee grinds in) will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge but strained cold brew should be consumed within 2-3 days of being in the fridge.
To serve yourself that lovely cold brew coffee that you’ve been waiting for, fill a glass with as many ice cubes as you wish. Then, fill half of the cup with the cold brew coffee concentrate and the other half with cold water. Add whichever milk you prefer and stir to combine.
If your cold brew is strong enough, you can even add boiling water to it and serve it hot. Don’t fret, the gentle cold brew flavor won’t get lost because the coffee grounds responsible for the bitterness aren’t in the mix anymore.
3 ways to guarantee a good homemade version
To complement our cold brew coffee recipe we thought we’d add some additional brewing pointers that’ll pass you off as a cold brew pro and give any café a run for their money.
1. Grind it coarsely
To get the most out of cold brew, make sure to get the grind right. The coarseness you need is similar to a grain of raw sugar. Refraining from grinding the beans to a powder means you’ll get a slower flavor release, which will keep your drink from getting bitter overnight.
2. Watch the ratio
The cold brew coffee ratio is slightly different than that of regular coffee – i.e. the ratio of coffee is higher. Drip coffee contains around ½ ounce of coffee per cup of water, whereas cold brew uses a ratio of about one ounce per cup of water.
3. Strain with patience
When straining your beverage, make sure you avoid squeezing or pressing the grounds against your cheesecloth and strainer – this is where the bitterness hides.
Once you start making your own cold brew from scratch, you’ll want to add that coffee concentrate to everything. Download the 8fit app and go Pro for recipe ideas! We highly suggest adding coffee to our Chunky Sesame Banana Smoothie, Almond Mocha Protein Smoothie and High Protein Oatmeal Pear Bowl — 2-4 tablespoons will do.