Making Cold Brew Coffee From Scratch

Transitioning to making cold brew coffee from scratch was an easy choice, since I love coffee and find brewing techniques meditative. Let’s take a look at what cold brew coffee is and what you will need to make cold brew coffee at home for yourself.

What Is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is exactly what it sounds like. You grind the coffee beans and then let them soak in room temperature or cold water for 12-24 hours.

It is important to note that cold brew coffee and iced coffee are not the same thing. While they can both be served over ice, iced coffee uses a different brewing method that incorporates HOT water. When cold brewing, you let the mixture sit at room temperature or put it in your refrigerator.

Cold Brew Coffee Done Right

When done right, cold brew coffee has a smooth taste. The taste and flavor balance is going to depend on a number of factors:

  • Coffee beans and roast selected (I like to use Counter Culture Coffee beans, because they have exceptional coffee that is roasted with care, believe in transparency and strive forĀ sustainability in the coffee process.
  • Freshness of the beans
  • Quality of water
  • Brew time
  • Coarseness of the grind for the particular coffee chosen (The grind will vary slightly depending on what beans you choose. You will need to experiment.)

Besides having a smoother taste, cold brew is reported to be less acidic than coffee prepared using different brewing techniques. This speculation is that people with GERD or acid reflux have less problems drinking cold brew coffee. I did a little experiment to test the pH differences.

pH test results from cold brew vs hot pourover coffee techniques.
The cold brewed coffee on the left had a pH around 4.5 and the hot pourover on the righ had a pH of around 5.5.

On a pH scale, 7 is neutral. Anything above 7 is alkaline and anything below 7 is acidic. Both the hot and the cold brew techniques had an acidic pH with the cold brew technique being around 4.5 pH and the hot brew technique having about a 5.5 pH. In this limited experiment, the cold brewed coffee was actually more acidic than hot brewed coffee.

Supplies Needed To Make Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee apparatus.

If you do not have the apparatus to make cold brew coffee that is okay. Improvise with what you have. I do recommend sticking to glass containers, since plastic tends to leech plastic flavor into the brew.

  • Scale
  • Grinder (or buy coarsely ground coffee)
  • Coffee
  • Quality filtered water
  • Glass container to soak in – glass keeps better flavor
  • Glass container to filter into
  • Pourover apparatus
  • Coffee filter

Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

The cold brew coffee recipe you use will depend on the beans you use, the freshness of the beans, the water, the grind, and your personal preferences. A good ratio to start with is 1 gram of coarsely ground coffee beans to 8 grams of filtered water. As you experiment, think like a scientist when you make adjustments, replicating the exact experiment with a single modification. e.g. If the cold brew comes out bitter instead of smooth, consider experimenting with either a courser grind, less water, or perhaps the bean itself is not a good choice for cold brewing.

Ingredients

  • Coffee beans (100g, coarsely ground)
  • Filtered water (800 g)

Directions

  1. Place a container to hold the coffee beans onto the scale and zero the scale. Pour in 100g of coffee beans.
  2. Using a coarser setting, grind the coffee beans and put them in a large glass container, capable of holding both the coffee grounds and the water.
  3. Place the brewing container on the scale and zero the scale. Pour in 800g of filtered water.
  4. Gently stir the coffee into the water and let it sit for 12-24 hours. I like to put mine in the refrigerator, so it is cold when I am ready to drink it.
  5. After the soak stage is complete, separate the coffee grounds from the cold brew coffee. A pourover setup works wonderfully; but make sure you rinse the filter first to ensure no paper flavor creeps into your brew.
Zero out your scale before doing any weight measurements.
Be sure to zero out the scale between measurements.

 

Weighing out coffee beans. For cold brew coffee a 1 to 8 ratio beans to water is a good place to start.
Measure the weight of your coffee beans, then multiply by 8 to determine how much filtered water you will need to use for your cold brew.

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