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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

What is cold brew coffee? For many coffee drinkers, it's the fuel we need to make it through the day. Cold brew coffee is a form of immersion brewing that uses cold or room-temperature water instead of heated water. This process can take anywhere from twelve hours to a full day, resulting in different levels of taste. 

If you want to learn how to make your own cold brew coffee at home, Real Good Coffee Company is here to help. We love grabbing a cup of refreshing cold brew right from our refrigerator, and we know you will too. 

In this guide, we'll discuss some of the benefits of making cold brew coffee recipes at home, the steps for making DIY cold brew coffee, a few of our favorite tips for the best cold brew coffee recipe, and a few of the frequently asked questions other home-brewers have.

Benefits of Making Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Why should you make your own cold brew coffee at home? Well, why shouldn't you? It's nice to grab a cup of coffee with friends at your favorite café, but if you're a daily coffee drinker, you should have as many options for delicious coffee consumption as possible. Knowing how to make cold brew at home has many advantages. Making cold brew at home allows you to:

Increase Convenience and Affordability

You likely drink coffee to get your day moving at a faster pace. Unfortunately, standing in line at a café or driving out of our way to pick up a cup can be a huge inconvenience. The expenses can add up as well — not just the cost of the coffee, but the gas and any parking costs can also increase your weekly caffeine budget. Brewing your own cold brew coffee can be a much more convenient and cost-effective alternative.

Experiment with New Methods and Recipes

Do you love experimenting in the kitchen? You may be surprised to discover that there are a variety of ways to brew your own coffee at home, including variations of cold brewing. Some cold brewed coffee recipe directions may suggest brewing with room-temperature water for a long period of time, while others may suggest brewing with cold water for a shorter period. 

Using different beans, grind sizes, and coffee-to-water-ratios can also yield homemade cold brewed coffee of different tastes. With home brewing, your coffee experimentation possibilities are endless.

Customize Your Cup

One of the drawbacks of purchasing a cup of coffee from a café is that there's always a chance it'll be prepared in a way that doesn't satisfy your craving. Some brews may be a little bitter, and others may not have the flavor profile you were hoping for. Instead of risking disappointment, you can learn to brew cold brew coffee properly that tastes amazing every time. Brewing a perfect cup of coffee is a skill any coffee lover can learn. 

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home

Our team at Real Good Coffee Company loves the taste of a fresh cup of coffee, brewed right in the comfort of our own kitchens — and we know you will too. This simple guide will show you how to make cold brew coffee at home, step-by-step. After a few minutes of preparation and a few hours of extraction, you'll be sipping on the sweet taste of homemade cold brew coffee.

1. Gather Your Ingredients and Tools

Before you grind a single bean, you should be ready with all of the ingredients and tools your cold brew recipe requires. The ingredients are simple — you'll need a batch of your favorite freshly roasted coffee beans and cold or room temperature water. For tools, you'll need a coffee bean grinder, large pitchers or jars, a scale, a fine strainer, and a porous cloth. We suggest using a burr hand-grinder, a mesh strainer, and jug sizes that equal the measurement of water you'll use.

2. Grind the Beans 

Now, it's time to start grinding your coffee beans. Achieving the proper grind size is key to the quality of your brew. There are seven distinct grind sizes ranging from extra coarse to extra fine. Cold brew coffee recipes require an extra coarse grind, which resembles the size of peppercorns. If you're brewing large batches, grind the beans in small batches. If it's your first time grinding beans, consider grinding a small amount first to practice your technique.

3. Combine the Grind with the Water and Stir

Along with the correct grind size, it's important you also make sure you use the correct coffee-to-water ratio. Use a measuring cup for the water and your scale for the grinds. You can use a ratio between 1:8 and 1:5 — you can also use this handy guide for reference

  • One serving of coffee = 1.0oz of coffee to 8.0oz of water.
  • Two servings of coffee = 2.0oz of coffee to 16oz of water.
  • Four servings of coffee = 4.0oz of coffee to 32oz of water.

For a stronger cup, use these ratio measurements: 

  • One serving of coffee = 1.6oz of coffee to 8.0oz of water.
  • Two servings of coffee = 3.2oz of coffee to 16oz of water.
  • Four servings of coffee = 6.4oz of coffee to 32oz of water.

Pour the grinds into a jug or bottle and stir as you add the water. Make sure all of the grinds are wet and well-blended.

4. Steep the Coffee for 12 to 24 Hours

Cover the top of the jug with a lid or seal and place your cold brew mixture in the refrigerator. We suggest leaving it in there for 12 to 24 hours. One way many of our roasters prepare their weekly cold brew batch is by completing the grinding and mixing process early Sunday morning, so the brew will be ready to strain and drink by early Monday morning. 

5. Strain the Coffee

When your brew has steeped for enough time, use a porous cloth to line your strainer. Use a large cup or pot to catch the cold brew as you pour the mixture through the strainer. Pour your strained cold brew into a clean bottle or jar for storage. 

6. Enjoy a Perfect Cup of Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

Once you've contained the strained coffee in a clean jug, you can pour yourself the first cup. Place ice cubes in a glass, pour half of a cup of coffee into the glass, followed by half of a cup of cold water. Stir it, add cream or sugar and sip your success.

Tips for Making the Best Cold Brew Coffee

Before you begin the brewing process, you'll want to ensure you avoid as many simple mistakes as possible. Here are some important tips for making the best cold brew coffee recipe possible:

Use Fresh Coffee Beans

Quality of Your Beans

Always remember that the quality of your brew begins with the quality of your beans. We always suggest you purchase whole bean coffee to grind as needed. While you can use packaged ground coffee, we believe that the grinds yield the best taste when brewed immediately after they've been freshly ground. The beans you select should also be as freshly roasted as possible to maximize flavor. 

Make Sure to Grind Your Beans Correctly

Proper grind size is key to achieving a great-tasting cup of coffee. To make cold brew coffee, you should use an extra coarse grind size, which will resemble the size of peppercorns. If the grind size resembles kosher salt, sand, or smaller particles, your grinds may be over-extracted while brewing and produce a flavorless taste.

Don't Rush the Brewing Process

Just as the coffee plant needs time to grow and the beans need time to roast, the cold brew process also requires patience if you want to brew the perfect cup. While extraction through hot water can happen quickly, extraction using cold water will take time. While you can adjust your steeping times from twelve to twenty-four hours, don't strain the coffee before the twelve-hour mark. For the best results, try steeping it from one morning until the next. 

Store Your Coffee Tightly

Depending on the amount of coffee you're brewing and the number of people you're serving, you may have plenty left over to drink for days to come. One oversight some people make when attempting cold brew coffee recipes is that they do not store their finished batch properly. Even if you've followed the cold brew recipe step-by-step, you can still impact the taste if the jug is not sealed tightly while sitting in the refrigerator. 

Don't Be Afraid to Experiment

Only you can determine what the perfect cup tastes like. When you make your own cold brew coffee at home, you're free to follow our advice, look up other cold brew coffee recipes, or use your own judgment regarding the finer details of the cold brewing process. 

The more you experiment with different water temperatures, grind sizes, and coffee-to-water ratios, the more you'll discover how these factors influence the taste. Just be sure to note your steps, so you can recreate your perfect cup of coffee every week.

FAQ About Cold Brew

To help guide you through the cold-brew process, we've gathered together a list of frequently asked questions regarding cold brew to help you understand what makes cold brew different from other coffee beverages:

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

Cold Brew Caffeine

Do you need a strong cup of coffee to get your morning moving? Those who desire a strong cup may believe that espresso is more effective than a cold brew. When coffee drinkers talk about strength, they're usually referring to levels of caffeine. There are many factors that influence the caffeine content in all coffee beverage variations. In cold brew, the absence of hot water and the coffee-to-water ratio can yield more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

What Is the Ideal Ratio for Cold Brew Coffee?

Knowing how to accurately measure the appropriate coffee-to-water ratio for different types of coffee is a key step in every brewing process. The Golden Ratio suggests a 1:17.42 ratio, but the ratio can change drastically depending on the type of coffee beverage you want. 

Many believe that an ideal ratio for cold brew coffee is 1:8 for a regular cup and a 1:5 for a stronger cup. Try these ratios first, then experiment with different ratios to find the perfect taste.

Is Cold Brew Coffee Less Acidic?

Is cold brew coffee less acidic than a hot cup of coffee, like an espresso or a cappuccino? The level of acidity varies between each type of coffee beverage — not necessarily because of the type of beverage itself, but rather, because of the type of roast used. Dark roasts are typically less acidic, while light roast beans have a stronger flavor profile. You can use whichever roast you prefer for immersions like cold brewing or any other coffee preparation method.

Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee?

Do you love the taste of cold brew but prefer the warmth of hot coffee? Don't worry — you can have the best of both worlds by heating up your cold brew coffee. Even though it may sound like an oxymoron, heated cold brew coffee is a beverage many java drinkers prefer. 

Although cold brew coffee is offered in many cafes as an iced coffee, you can easily heat your cup up to enjoy it warm. You can heat it up by adding hot water, using the stove, or microwaving it.

Can You Use Regular Ground Coffee for Cold Brew?

Yes, you can use whichever coffee you prefer to make your homemade cold brew coffee. Start your morning off the right way with a delicious Breakfast Blend light roast. Brew up a batch of classic Donut Shop Medium Roast Coffee or savor the rich taste of a Dark French Roast cup. You can even use 100% organic Arabica beans if you prefer. Whichever way you make and take your coffee, be sure to use the best tasting, freshly roasted coffee beans available.

Make Really Good Cold Brew Coffee at Home with Real Good Coffee

Real Good Coffee Co

You don't need to drive to the café to enjoy the perfect cup of cold brew coffee. Make your own at home with this helpful guide. Within hours, you can stock your fridge with a week's worth of delicious cold brew coffee, brewed exactly to your taste. 

The best cold brew coffee is the batch you brew yourself. Let Real Good Coffee Company help get your morning moving with our freshly roasted, 100% Arabica beans. Browse our inventory or visit our blog for other tips on brewing the perfect cup of Real Good Coffee at home with Real Good Coffee Company. 

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