Ever made cold brew coffee at home?
No more difficult than brewing with a traditional drip coffee maker, cold brewing your coffee is simple, fun and downright tasty. And it’s quickly becoming the standard in iced coffee.
Not to mention, you can save yourself a boatload of money.
With it’s ever increasing popularity, you’ve likely noticed home cold brewing devices popping up everywhere.
From fancy and complicated to just soak-it-and-strain-it methods, you aren’t without options.
But, the reality is, the process you choose does make a difference.
Coffee beans are complex little fellas, and your brew selection can heavily influence what kind of cold brew you end up with.
Our favorite method for brewing at home? More on that in a minute, but first….
Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee; Is there really a difference?
The short answer, is "yes, definitely". But read on to understand why.
There are really 2 ways to extract flavor from coffee grounds:
- Heat (i.e. drip coffee maker)
- Time (i.e. cold brewing)
Most of us up until the last couple of years have been used to coffee that has had it’s flavor extracted via the hot water method.Iced coffee is really just hot coffee, cooled down using ice or the refrigerator.
Hot water extraction usually results in a more acidic coffee that has some pretty intense flavors. And keep in mind, the acidic “bite” is not necessarily a bad thing...it’s a matter of personal preference.
But bear in mind, today’s iced coffee very well may be yesterday's hot coffee leftovers!
For cold brewing, your primary options are the immersion or drip methods (we’ll share our favorite shortly) :
- Immersion brewing entails soaking/steeping your coarse ground coffee in water for 16-24 hours.
- Slow Drip involves slowly dripping cold water over coffee grounds, and through a filter.
Both methods results in a unique, distinguishable difference in coffee flavor.
The Daily Grind, which conducted a side-by-side taste test of the two methods, had this to say:
Full Immersion: Our tasters described this coffee as having stronger flavors and more body. Unless you double and triple filter, full immersion cold brew will always have a little bit more sediment and body than slow drip. Some people really like the sediment, which tends to produce more chocolate-y notes. Our folks also thought full immersion had a bit more acidity and bitterness (not always a bad thing).
Slow Drip: “Mellow,” “clean,” “tea-like.” Very low acidity and noticeable sweetness, uber smooth and uber clean (free of sediment), but not lacking in body.
In summary, either cold brew method described above is going to result in a smoother, naturally sweeter brew with very low levels of acidity (if any). Some describe the coffee resulting from these processes as “muted”, but it’s truly a unique and extensive variety of flavors you otherwise may not ever enjoy.
Our Favorite Cold Brew Method
As you may have guessed by now given the excitement over our very own cold brew coffee maker, the method of choice in our home is the immersion process.
Rich, deep in flavor and oh-so-wonderfully sweet, we love the resulting concentrated cold brew that allows us to dilute the coffee to the degree we prefer, which allows us to control the intensity (and sometimes Monday’s call for very, very little dilution ;). It’s highly versatile and always a crowd pleaser.
So, how do you make it?
Here’s how we do it using the super simple, easy to measure, cold brew king:
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home
Step 1: Coarsely grind some coffee (sea salt size)
Step 2: Fill your filter to within 2 inches from the top.
Step 3: Pour cold water over the grounds until the mason jar is completely full.
Step 4: Place cap on the mason jar & shake vigorously.
Step 5: After 12-24 hrs, remove lid, remove the filter and serve generously
Steps to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home
Serve Your Homemade Cold Brew
Grab a mason jar, coffee cup or pint glass (my wife's favorite), dilute 1:1 with water or milk and share the love. Want to heat things up? No problem. Boil some water, add to your cold brew (again at a 1:1 ratio) and enjoy a smooth, hot version of this easy sipping blend.
Got leftovers? Throw the cover back on and enjoy the same batch for up to 2 weeks, so long as it’s refrigerated.
In short, making your own cold brew coffee at home will not only save you money, but give you regular access to this refreshing beverage.
If you are an iced coffee junkie who can't get enough during those lazy, sweltering days of summer, please, take a pointer from us step away from yesterdays hot brew and say "hello" to today's cold brew!