Cold brew is so delicious and actually very simple to make--it just takes a little bit of patience. The good news is, most of that time is just waiting, the active time is fairly minimal. Then, when it's done, it's so rich and smooth that it's well worth the wait!
Choosing a coffee
First things first, you shouldn't just use any coffee for your cold brew. We think the best coffee to use for cold brew is something that is sweet, bold, and mildly acidic.
Our favorites are: Isabelle's Cold Brew Blend, Papua New Guinea, and Guatemala.
Method 1: French Press
Recipe yields about 32oz
What you need:
- 34oz French Press (usually advertised as 8-cup)
- 4oz Coarsely Ground Coffee (try a French Press grind)
- 16 hours of patience
Pour 4oz of coarsely ground coffee into the bottom of your French Press. If you don't have a food scale, you can use approximately 1 1/2 cups of ground coffee.
Fill the rest of your french press with room temperature drinking water, ensuring that the entire bed of coffee gets wet.
Set the mixture aside for 12-24 hours, optimum time range being 16 hours.
After 16 hours have passed, use your French Press press filter to push grounds down to the bottom, leaving you with delicious cold brew coffee.
Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Method 2: Cheesecloth & Strainer
Recipe yields about 1 gallon
What you need:
- 2x Pitchers that hold 1 gallon of water
- Large Kitchen Strainer
- 8oz Coarsely Ground Coffee
Pour 8oz ground coffee into the bottom of one pitcher. If you don't have a food scale, you can use approximately 3 cups of ground coffee.
Fill pitcher with 1 gallon of room temperature water.
Leave the pitcher out on the counter at room temperature for 12-24 hours, optimum being 16 hours.
Line your kitchen strainer with cheesecloth. Pour coffee mixture over the cheesecloth and strainer, using them as a filter for your second 1 gallon pitcher.
Store cold brew for up to one week in the refrigerator.
So what if you don't have a 34 oz French Press or cheesecloth? Here, we'll take you through some of the mechanics of cold brewing, and some of the rationale behind the process so you can create a process that works with the tools you have on hand.
Step 1: Fill a container with a desired amount of water.
Note: The finished product will be about 80% of how much water you use. As an example, if you want 4 gallons of cold brew, use 5 gallons of water.
Step 2: Add coarsely ground coffee to steep
Step 3: Steep coffee, covered, on the counter at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Optimum is 16 hours.
Step 4: Remove coffee grounds from mixture
Step 5: Pour over ice and store remainder in the fridge for up to 1 week
Coffee Ratio and Grind
Now that you understand generally what we're doing, here are some specifics.
The optimum grind for cold brew is a coarse grind. Usually a French Press or Percolator grind works well. If you use a very fine coffee you can end up with some bitter notes in your cold brew or a grainy texture, which is not what you're going for!
We've found that the optimum ratio is 8oz of coffee per gallon of water. If you're not into head math (don't worry, that's me too), that's 0.5oz of ground coffee per 8oz of water. So, if you have a container that holds 32oz of water, you should use 2oz of coffee.
Don't have a food scale? You should get one! But for now, here are a few rough conversions:
1 Gallon water = 8oz of coffee = ~3 cups of coffee
1/2 Gallon (64oz) water = 4oz of coffee = ~1 1/2 cups of coffee
32 oz water = 2oz of coffee = ~3/4 cup of coffee
Happy cold brewing, folks!