Peachy Picks: Easy Cold Brew Coffee Recipe
Here in Sydney, we've started to get the first signs of a long-awaited summer. It is time to move away from our hot coffees and teas and instead turn to iced drinks to both energise you and cool you down.
Today's pick is cold brew. Any high quality café will likely have cold brew on their coffee menu, which up until recently I assumed was just marked up iced coffee. Here is an easy guide on how to make your own!
What is cold brew?
Cold brew is exactly what the name implies; a way of brewing and extracting flavours from coffee beans by using cold water, as opposed to hot water through traditional methods like espresso or pour-over.
What are the benefits of brewing coffee with cold water?
It produces a cleaner, less acidic brew.
When you brew coffee with hot or boiling water, the extraction time is very quick because the hot water easily extracts the oils and flavours from your ground coffee. However, the acid from your coffee grounds are also more easily extracted, sometimes leading to a more sour tasting coffee. Colder water extracts all the flavours, oils (and caffeine!) that you would expect with a traditional hot brew, whilst extracting less acids.
It's easy to make and store a large batch at once.
As you'll see below, the entire process takes about 5-10 minutes of labour and you can make litres of cold brew or cold brew concentrate. You can easily make your coffee for the week in one go and enjoy each day by simply pouring into your cup or bottle and heading out.
It's easy to do with no need for expensive appliances
Apart from a few storage items, any appliances you want to buy for making your cold brew are totally optional! If you have an ice tea jug with a fine strainer, you likely have all you need to get started.
How to make cold brew
What you will need:
- Coffee beans or coarsely ground coffee
- Kitchen scale
- A jug for storage (we recommend this iced tea jug from T2, as the long strainer is perfect for making cold brew or concentrate)
- A cold brew strainer (Optional) if you are not using a jug similar to above
- A coffee grinder (Optional) if you are using whole beans
Step 1: Coffee to water ratio
The cold brew method is great as it's versatile enough to create either ready to drink cold coffee or a concentrate that you can add water to.
The best ratio for ready to drink cold brew is 1:15. This means that for every 1 gram of coffee, you want to use 15mL of water. I typically grind 100 grams of coffee and use the iced tea jug above to brew it in 1.5L of water to maintain this ratio.
If you want to create a concentrate you can add water to after it's been brewed, simply adjust the ratio above and add the water in after. I.e. if you use 100grams of coffee and 500mL of water, you have produced a concentrate in a ratio of 1:5. Simply pour your concentrate into a cup and add twice as much water to bring it back to the drinkable 1:15 ratio.
Step 1: Preparing your coffee beans
Coarse coffee is best for cold brew. We want to extract flavour from the coffee over time, without it seeping through our strainer and adding sediment to the cold brew.
If you are a coffee enthusiast and love to grind your own beans, then in this case the coarser the better. I used my Breville Smart Grinder Pro on the coarsest setting of 60. Typically an espresso grind would be much more fine, so keep this in mind when you are adjusting settings on your automatic or manual grinders.
If you are purchasing your coffee pre-ground, again it is important to make sure it is quite coarse. My tip is to go to a local café that sells beans and ask if they would coarse grind you some beans that you purchase from there. In my experience they'll often be more than happy to do this and you get to taste some high quality beans for your cold brew!
Anything that is ground for espresso machines will usually be too fine, however there are plenty of coarsely ground options. Below is an image of typical espresso grounds on the left, and the much coarser cold brew grounds on the right. Both are shown on our Matilda Cheese Board.
Finely ground coffee (above) used for espresso.
Coarsely ground coffee (above) is great for cold brew.
However you decide to grind your beans, what is important is proper storage. Coffee beans can quickly go stale when exposed to oxygen, and this happens much faster for pre-ground coffee. We store all of our coffee beans in our Elizabeth Glass Jar as the airtight seal keeps beans or grounds fresh.
Step 3: Measure and place your grounds
As covered in step 1, it's important to know how much coffee you're going to be using. In my method, I measure that my grounds are equal to 100grams, which fits nicely in my strainer. Keep this number in mind so you know how strong you've made your cold brew.
Add the grounds to your sieve and place it in your jug.
Step 4: Pour water over to start the brew
Measure out the amount of water you want to use, remembering this makes up the second part of our ratio. Filtered water is preferable, but any room temperature clean water will work well. In my case, I measured out 3x 500mL jugs to make sure that my cold brew was 100grams of coffee to 1.5L of water, leading to a drinkable 1:15 ratio.
Pour this water through your sieve and into the jug to begin the extraction. You may have to do this in stages to avoid overflowing the sieve as the water will pass through the grounds slowly.
Step 5: Close up your jug and wait
The entire extraction process will take approximately 24 hours. Leave your jug in a fairly cool place, like a kitchen bench top, preferably out of direct light. Make sure your sieve with the grounds are still inside.
Step 6: Remove the grounds
After 24 hours, remove your sieve with the grounds and transfer your jug to your fridge. The extraction is now fully complete and you'll notice that the water has developed a deep, dark coffee colour over the brewing time. The jug can stay in the fridge for about 7-10 days.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Get a cup with some ice and pour that beautiful cold brew into it. If you're someone who enjoys iced coffee, you'll likely notice that cold brew has a much cleaner taste, with less sour or bitter notes compared to espresso over ice.
By mixing in a bit of milk, you now have ready to go cold brew that you can use to make an instant iced latte, saving you time and money over these warm months!
I've been using my Molly Tea Infuser by removing the tea strainer and adding my cold brew and some oat milk in the morning before heading to work. It saves me about $7 per day and tastes much better!