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How To Make Coffee: Cold Brew Coffee

How To Make Coffee: Cold Brew Coffee
You may have noticed that many boutique coffee shops offer something called cold brew coffee. If you’re not familiar with it, the first thing you need to know is that it’s not the same thing as iced coffee. Iced coffee refers to the process of pouring hot (or once hot) coffee over ice. Cold brew coffee was never hot. It was brewed with water at room temperature or cooler. The result is a very different cup of coffee that tastes different.

For example, cold brew coffee is often described as sweeter and less acidic than iced coffee. That’s because the process of pulling flavor from the coffee grinds is very different, in part, for the obvious reason that the water applied to the grinds isn’t hot. Additionally, the “extraction time” at which the grinds are in contact with the water for cold brewed coffee is often much longer than it is for iced coffee. The result of cold brewing is a relative thick, concentrated brew that’s perfect for combining with a little milk and ice. Does it taste better than iced coffee? I think so.

So how do you make cold brew coffee? It’s actually quite simple. The only catch is that it must be prepared in advance. Cold brew coffee should steep for at least 10-12 hours. With that in mind, here is how you can prepare a great cup of cold brew coffee at home:

1. Add 3 ounces of coarsely ground coffee per 3 cups of water in a large mason jar, carafe, or pitcher. We recommend using a dark or medium roast for cold brewing. To make this a “New Orleans-style” cold brew you can add 1/2 an ounce of ground chicory.

2. Cover and let steep overnight (for a minimum of 12 hours).

3. Using a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, strain the grinds from coffee and discard them.

4. Mix the resulting concentrate with your choice of sweetener (optional) and milk, ice, and/or water. Because the concentrate is quite strong, we recommend a 2:1 or even 1:1 ratio of coffee to milk/water.

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Posted by Matthew Hickey


Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

  • Aida Mollenkamp

    Honestly, I’m not sure why I don’t make my own cold brewed coffee — I mean, I certainly order enough of it to warrant at least trying my hand at it once! Thanks for sharing, Kasey!

  • Gintare @Gourmantine

    If the weather outside wouldn’t be calling for hot soups and chocolate drinks, this would be perfection to make!

  • Matthew

    I know. We’re experiencing a heatwave in SF, so it’s perfect timing for us. Meanwhile, I’d definitely recommend our Woodneck Drip Pot Coffee recipe if you’re looking for hot coffee.

  • Melissa Mercille

    I use a French press to make cold brew coffee. Eliminates the need for straining.

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