Coffee is a true universal beverage in every sense. It is one of the most popular choice of drinks across the world. You can take it hot or cold, black or with cream, a nice cup of piping hot coffee never fails to get the day started in an upbeat way. While there are many different ways to brew a coffee bean, none is probably as unique as the cold brewed coffee. It is one of the most relishing summertime beverages and pretty easy (and cheap) to make at home by yourself. Before we delve into the process of explaining how to make a cold brewed coffee though, some background info about the drink itself is in order.
What is a cold brew coffee?
It is ground coffee soaked in cold water for 12-24 hours, which is then strained to make a cup of a smoother and cooler version of coffee. Unlike the traditional hot coffee where hot water is used, a cold brew coffee uses cold (or room temperature) water to extract the coffee flavor and taste from the grinds.
So, is it like iced coffee?
No. NO. It is much different (and much better). The main difference between a cold brew coffee and the iced coffee is the temperature at which ground coffee beans are strained. Iced coffee is brewed hot and then poured over ice to cool it down, whereas a cold brew coffee is never heated and brewed cold. This simple difference in the brewing process makes a world of difference in the flavor of the two drinks. Because the bitterness of coffee comes from the heating process of the beans, a cold brew coffee tastes much smoother and sweeter than an iced coffee.
Interesting facts about the cold brew coffee
1) Helps lower acidity levels – As the coffee beans are not subjected to heat while making a cold brewed coffee, there is low or no acidity inherent in the grounds. This allows people with more sensitive stomachs to well, stomach the coffee in a much more pleasant way.
2) No need for dilution – As the coffee is already at a cold temperature, there is no need to add chilled or icy water to the drink. This avoids any risk of ending up with a watery cup of coffee.
3) Higher in caffeine – At a higher temperature, caffeine is found to be easily extracted and more soluble in water. On the other hand, at a cooler temperature, such as in a cold brewed coffee, the caffeine content in the bean and water mixture remains pretty high.
How to make cold brew coffee at home?
Cold brew carries an expensive price tag at the coffee shops, not the least because of the 12+ hours it takes to brew. However, there is a simple and cheaper alternative solution to this issue. You can easily make cold brew coffee at home! There are a few homemade recipes for the cold brew but they all use the same basic formula – coarse coffee grounds, cold water and hours of long brewing (12-24 hours actually). Here is the complete recipe with detailed instructions to make cold brewed coffee at home.
Easy Homemade Cold Brew Coffee Recipe
Preparation Time: Less than 10 minutes
Cooking/Brewing Time: 12-24 hours
4 oz. of coffee beans
1 quart-sized jar (or any big jar really)
2 cups of filtered water(cold)
A big bowl
A sheet of muslin or a roll of paper towel
1) Set grinder settings to coarsest, and check the size of the grounds before doing the full grind. Ensure that the grounds are the size of breadcrumbs roughly. Any smaller or finer and it will result in a cloudy, grimy cuppa cold brew!
2) Take a large mason jar (or any large jar preferably with a lid). The container can be plastic, glass or ceramic, it doesn’t really matter but it should be deep and light enough so you can hold it up entirely while straining. Put the coffee grounds in the jar and slowly, add water to it (ideally in a 1:8 coffee beans to water ratio). Ensure that all the coffee grounds are moistened and then let them sleep for at least 12 hours (18-24 hours is the ideal duration). Do not try to rush this step as this is the most essential step for a proper extraction.
(Tip: You can put the soaked grounds inside a fridge if it is too hot and dry outside.)
3) When brewed, strain the soaked grounds into a large bowl carefully using a fine mesh sieve to filter the larger grounds. Discard the filtered grounds and then, using the muslin cloth or a few sheets of paper towel tucked around the sieve, strain the coffee back into the jar again.
4) Repeat the previous step two or three times, until you can no longer see any murky residue at the bottom of the jar. If after continous attempts the residue doesn’t appear to be all clear, it simply means that you grounded the beans a bit too fine.
5) That’s it. Your homemade cold brew coffee is ready to be served! You can choose to serve it over ice, and add milk and sugar too if you like. Do not forget to refrigerate the rest of the cold brew though. If stored properly, it will stay good for 3-4 weeks due to the low acidity of the brew.
Depending upon the roast of the coffee beans you used, the coffee could turn out a bit concentrated or lighter. If the latter is the case, you don’t need to add water to improve the taste. However, a dark roasted coffee might require some water and any syrup/sweetener or milk that you like to take with your coffee. Also, if you the cold brew turns out to be quite strong, you can always mix it with boiling water and drink it like your usual cup of hot coffee. No matter the case though, the cold brew recipe won’t disappoint you for sure!