Even if you’re not a coffee lover, learning the answer to “What is cold brew coffee?” could change your life. But if you do love coffee, cold brew will bring your passion for it to a whole new level.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Knowing the dos and don’ts of how to make cold brew coffee is the best way to introduce this lovely drink to your routine, so get ready to find out everything about it.
By definition, “cold brewing” is the process of making coffee by steeping coffee beans in cold or room-temperature water. After you’ve soaked them in cold water for some time, you get something much different from what you’d get if you just put ice in hot-brewed coffee. In other words, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that cold brew coffee is the same thing as iced coffee.
Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee
There are tons of people who are desperately in love with their regular iced coffee, but for some, it just ends up tasting too watery as the ice dissolves. Sometimes, it may even be too bitter.
If you’re wondering what the difference between cold brew and iced coffee is, we’ll remind you that cold brew is coarsely ground coffee steeped in cold water, while iced coffee is coffee that’s brewed with filtered water just off the boil.
We made a list so you can decide if making cold brew coffee is something you may prefer over your iced coffee.
We should mention that cold brew coffee has twice the amount of caffeine compared to iced coffee. We’re not putting that on the list, though – you decide if it’s a pro or a con!
On that note, here are the good and bad sides of iced coffee vs. cold brew:
Pros and Cons of Cold Brew
- Cold brew coffee lasts up to two weeks.
- It has low acidity and bitterness.
- It has a smoother and sweeter taste.
- It’s better for people with sensitive stomachs.
- It takes 14-24 hours to brew.
- It’s more expensive than regular hot brew coffee.
Pros and Cons of Iced Coffee
- Iced coffee takes just minutes to brew.
- It’s cheaper than cold brew coffee.
- It has a balanced and aromatic taste.
- Iced coffee is more bitter and acidic than cold brew coffee.
- It tastes better within the first day.
- It’s not great for people with sensitive stomachs.
In the end, only you can decide who won the iced coffee vs. cold brew battle, but you’ll have to try them both first. And hey, if making your very own cold brew coffee isn’t relaxing enough, you could try some top-notch CBD-infused coffees. If you like the flavor, who knows, you might give CBD gummies a try, too.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home
In the following part, we’ll show you some different ways to make cold brew coffee at home. Once you find the right recipe, you’ll be able to enjoy cold brew every day. Doesn’t that sound great?
The first cold brew coffee recipe is quite simple.
- Grind your coffee coarsely (or buy it pre-ground from your local shop).
- Combine the grounds with water in a glass vessel.
- Let it steep in cold water for twelve or more hours.
- Strain it and pour it into your favorite coffee cup.
That’s the basic recipe. Still, in the next one, we’ll get more into the cold brew coffee-to-water ratio, so you’ll know how to get the perfect flavor.
As mentioned, this recipe is a bit more detailed.
- Decide how much homemade cold brew coffee you want to make. For every cup of coffee, you’ll need an ounce or 28 grams of coarsely ground coffee.
- Take a mason jar and make sure to stick to the coffee-to-water ratio.
- Add the beans to the water and let them steep for at least twelve hours.
- Strain the coffee, and you’ll be left with a cold brew coffee concentrate, which you can mix with water.
Bear in mind that different recipes use different ratios. We certainly recommend experimenting with your cold brew coffee ratio, too. After all, only you can be the person who figures out the best balance for you!
We already mentioned that you could use a mason jar or any type of jar. On top of that, many variations use a French press or whisking for a next-level cold coffee brew experience. So if you think that may be a good idea for you, grab a quality hand mixer and whisk away.
Other tools like coffee drippers, filter-in coffee bottles, and Aeropress are always welcome. But even an iced tea pitcher will do the trick just fine.
Types of Cold Brew Coffee
Different shops offer different variations of cold brew coffee. Now that you know the answer to “What is cold brew coffee?—it’s time to take it up a notch and learn about the different types of this divine drink you can expect to encounter. You can even add flavor shots!
- Honey almond milk cold brew—This cold brew can be found at Starbucks, but you can easily make it at home, as it only has three ingredients (cold brew coffee, almond milk, and honey).
- Salted caramel cream cold brew—This is another cold brew from Starbucks, with caramel, cold brew coffee, and salted cold vanilla foam.
- Vanilla sweet cream cold brew coffee—This is another flavorful cold brew version. It has cold brew coffee and sweet vanilla cream. While it can most famously be found at Starbucks, it can also be made as a homemade cold brew coffee since its recipe is quite simple.
- Nitro Cold Brew—This is a cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas through a pressurized valve. It can be found in tons of coffee shops.
There are other cold brew coffee versions with flavor shots. Some recipes offer combinations with chocolate syrup, bananas, other fruits, and more.
The Dos and Don’ts of Cold Brew Coffee
Some things can make your cold brew coffee a much more enjoyable experience, and some others could hinder that. Let’s see what you can do right and what can make things go so, so wrong.
- Find the perfect cold brew coffee-to-water ratio for you.
- Keep your cold brew coffee stored in a tightly closed container.
- Use high-quality coffee beans.
- Choose a coffee roast you like.
- Don’t use pre-ground coffee beans.
- Don’t strain your coffee too quickly.
Additional Tips for Better Cold Brew Coffee
So far, we’ve explained the basics of making cold brew coffee and also introduced the most common “special” versions of cold brew coffee. In the next section, we’ll give you some ideas on how to customize your favorite cold beverage so it’s perfect. Use these tricks to your to always enjoy the ideal coffee.
1. Your cold brew coffee grounds shouldn’t be too powdery.
You’ll want to make sure that your beans are coarsely ground. For regular drip coffee, you need beans that look like powder. However, if you use those for cold brew coffee, the drink you’ll end up with will probably seem a little muddy.
2. Don’t be impatient, and let your coffee steep for at least 12 hours.
You might find a cold brew coffee recipe that lets you get away with your coffee steeping for 9 or 10 hours. And maybe you’re thinking: “Do two or three extra hours really make that much of a difference?” The answer is that they do! This is because the coffee infuses the water during this time, and if you strain it sooner, you’ll get a weaker flavor. After all, most cold coffee-brewers love their coffee strong!
3. Try to use filtered water.
This advice doesn’t apply just to cold brew coffee, but all coffees! Using filtered water makes your coffee taste better. It’s as simple as that.
It’s no secret that most people are coffee lovers—coffee statistics say so, too. So chances are, you are one of them. Now that we’ve answered the question: “What is cold brew coffee?”—you should have a pretty solid idea of what makes for an excellent cold brew coffee, and might even have a few ideas on how to experiment with flavors. Don’t hesitate to try them out!
And even if cold brew coffee is not your cup of tea, there are always a ton of cold espresso options out there, especially if you already have a reliable espresso machine at home.
What is the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?
Cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground coffee into cold or room temperature for at least twelve hours. Iced coffee is ready within minutes by adding ice to hot-brewed coffee. There are other differences between them, like the fact that cold brew coffee is stronger and more expensive, while iced coffee has a more balanced taste and is much cheaper.
What is cold brew concentrate?
Cold brew concentrate is the undiluted form of cold brew coffee, and it’s usually used as a base. You can keep the concentrate in the fridge for days and use it to make multiple pots of coffee. You can add water, milk, ice, or whatever else you want!
What is the best ratio for cold brew coffee?
Some people say that the best ratio for cold brew coffee is 1:5 (one part cold brew, five parts water). However, the reality is that different people have different preferences when it comes to this. Your perfect ratio will depend on how strong you like your coffee, so figuring it out will take some testing.
Can you use regular ground coffee for cold brew?
The general consensus is that it’s not smart to use regular ground coffee for your cold brew. This is because pre-ground beans are not coarsely ground. For cold brew, you need coarsely ground beans so that your coffee doesn’t turn out muddy. You can either grab whole beans and grind them yourself, or have them coarsely ground at your local coffee shop.
Is cold brew stronger than iced coffee?
Different cold brews and iced coffees will have different percentages of caffeine. Nonetheless, cold brew is generally more potent than iced coffee. For example, the Starbucks cold brew in a Grande cup has 205 milligrams of caffeine, while their grande iced coffee has 165 milligrams of caffeine.
Why is cold brew coffee good for you?
Cold brew coffee has excellent benefits, like boosting your metabolism, lowering your chances for heart disease, bettering your mood, lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes, and many others!
What is nitro cold brew coffee?
Now that we’ve answered “What is cold brew coffee?”—let us tell you what nitro cold brew coffee is. Nitro cold brew coffee is a version of cold brew infused with nitrogen gas through a pressurized valve. It results in a smooth, strong, and creamy coffee. This type of cold brew is usually served chilled. Plus, it has less sugar and, thus, fewer calories.