The refreshing touch of cold brew coffee is what draws us all to it. The smooth beverage is easy to make and once done, it can be available ready-made for all the busy times. Its preparation makes cold brew different from regular coffee, or for that matter, even conventional cold coffee. Here are some tips and ideas for you to make your very own cold brew coffee.
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Getting Started With Cold Brew Coffee
Choose The Right Coffee
Choosing the right beans, roast, and grind goes a long way towards making cold brew coffee a remarkable drink. It is possible to use regular coffee beans, but it is worthwhile to choose coffee made for cold brew specifically.
The biggest reason it is important to consider specific cold brew coffee is the grind. Ideally, you want a very coarse grind for cold brew. Conventional medium grind won’t work and fine grind is out of the question.
Medium and dark roast work best. While it is a matter of taste, those who prefer their coffee black, generally find better results with a medium roast. Dark roast works best when you intend to add milk, like for cold coffee or frappes.
At the very least, you will need two vessels and a filter. Having coffee filters at hand is a good idea too. Most cold brew coffee makers include these and other miscellaneous requirements. Take a look at my recommendations for the best cold brew coffee makers at the end of this article.
The Slow Drip Process
Slow drip process is one of the methods of making cold brew. It makes good coffee but is not recommended for the average home user. The immersion method discussed next is the better suited and more popular method.
As its name suggests, this process has slow but has continuous droplets of coffee available for cold brew. Iced water droplets are poured on coffee grounds. From here, they make their way to a filter, and eventually a carafe or vessel for storage.
It looks pretty cool. There are vibes of running a cool experiment to gather your coffee. However, it can also be time-consuming and it can take several hours to get a few cups of coffee. The setup also tends to be more expensive, complex, and delicate.
Immersion Method – Steps To Making Cold Brew Coffee
The immersion method is the preferred way of making cold brew coffee. It is a fairly simple and straight forward method. A batch of cold brew can take 8-24 hours to prepare. However, the manual work involved is barely a couple of minutes.
Here are the steps to making cold brew coffee.
Water And Coffee Ratio
The first step is to put together water and coarse coffee grounds. The exact ratio depends on your preference. Ideally, 1 cup of water (by volume) requires 1 ounce of coffee grounds (by weight). This will be a strong coffee. Consider it coffee concentrate and it can be diluted when serving.
Keep in mind that the amount of coffee you get will be lower than the water added. Some of it will be absorbed by coffee grounds. Some of the water will be absorbed by the filter too, in the case of paper or cloth filters. It isn’t a huge amount but still something useful to remember.
Give It Some Steeping Time
Once you’ve added water and coffee, keep the vessel in the refrigerator. This is the time-consuming part of making cold brew. You’ll want to allow at least 8-24 hours for steeping.
Overall steeping time is somewhat dependent on your taste and preference. A useful idea is to start on the cold brew in the evening. That way, it can steep overnight. With the full day at your disposal, stop the steeping in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
Filtering The Cold Brew
Once the steeping is done, the coffee concentrate is almost ready. This essentially involves straining the mixture to separate the cold brew concentrate and used coffee grounds. Several options are available for filtering, including metal filters, paper filters, or cloth filters. A cloth filter should be clean, thin, and lint-free; like a cotton cloth cocktail napkin.
Place a fine-mesh sieve over the carafe and cover this sieve with your choice of filter. Gradually pour the mixture into the filter and watch the coffee concentrate gather in the carafe. Your cold brew coffee is ready!
Top 5 Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Using a coffee maker can simplify the process as they handle most of the measurement and filtering. When using a cold brew coffee maker with an included steeping filter, consider giving it an hour or two more than the usual for steeping.
1. Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot takes a straightforward approach towards brewing coffee. There isn’t much room for customization to finetune the drink to your preference. However, the process is remarkably simple.
The coffee filter/strainer used here is made of plastic and the jug itself is made from glass. The jar is designed to be tall, rather than wide as a way to save space. The construction quality is pretty good but the jar is still glass so it pays to be careful.
2. Coffee Gator Cold Brew Kit
Coffee Gator Cold Brew Kit includes a reusable plastic filter, loading funnel, measuring scoop, and a carafe/jar. The overall design again focuses on simplicity and ease of use. The construction is fairly good with a plastic frame topping the glass jar.
When done brewing, simply remove the filter and you’ll have the coffee concentrate ready in the carafe. It works pretty well. Those who prefer storing the coffee concentrate in an airtight jar may want to move the cold brew to a different jar.
3. Cold Brew Mason Jar
The well-made mason jar brings a touch of nostalgia. To be fair to the Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker, it’s not just the old-fashioned way, but a very capable coffee maker. The glass mason jar comes with a very durable stainless steel filter/strainer, a steel lid, and silicone-rubber seals for the lid and filter.
Using the silicone seals makes the mason jar fairly airtight and also stops the steel from grinding the glass jar. Overall, it is a well-constructed and reasonably sturdy system that you can expect to be durable.
4. KitchenAid KCM4212SX Cold Brew Coffee Maker
KitchenAid KCM4212SX Cold Brew Coffee Maker takes a different look than other coffee makers. Rather than taking a tall design like a French Press, this one goes wide and sure on its base. The brushed stainless steel exterior and rounded glass give it something of a refined look.
The filter is made from stainless steel and remains easy to remove from the coffee maker as necessary. Having a stainless steel tap is a nice touch and a necessity. Any other method to pour coffee with this coffee maker would be awkward. When you want some cold brew, simply open the refrigerator and hit the tap. Simple and convenient.
5. Toddy Cold Brew System
Toddy Cold Brew System is one of the more popular cold brew coffee makers out there. This brew system includes a brewing container with a handle, glass decanter with a lid, felt filters, rubber stopper, and paper filter samples. It works slightly differently than the other coffee makers listed here.
While the paper filters are not a necessity, they make the brewing process with the Toddy a lot more convenient. The felt filters are reusable but will eventually need to be replaced. Once the brewing process is done, remove the rubber stopper and the cold brew coffee pours down into the decanter. The included lid with the decanter makes it airtight, thus helping the coffee concentrate last longer.
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