What is Cold Brew?
Cold brew is a brewing method where you soak coarsely ground coffee in room temperature or colder water for 8 – 15 hours and then strain it through a filter, resulting in a coffee concentrate. This coffee concentrate can be cut with hot water to create a cup of hot coffee or mixed with cold water (or milk) and ice to create a delicious iced coffee like we do here at Ellipsis Coffeehouse.
The beverages made from cold brew coffee will be less bitter than standard coffee and will also have ~67% less acid than hot-brewed coffee. This makes cold brew a great option for people who don’t like or can’t handle the acidity of many coffees.
How Do I Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home?
When picking a coffee to use for cold brew, we generally lean towards coffees with chocolate and caramel flavor notes because the brewing process enhances those flavors.
Your coffee will need to be coarsely ground, like what you would use for a French press. You’ll want to use a burr grinder rather than a whirly blade grinder so that you get a consistently coarse grind. The whirly blade grinder will give you too many fine particles, which will cause your cold brew to over-extract and have a bitter taste. It will also be hard to filter out all of those fines, so rather than getting that smooth mouth feel that cold brew is known for, you’ll end up with a more gritty texture.
Don’t have a burr grinder at home? We’d be happy to grind your coffee for you at the shop or you can purchase a Baratza Encore Grinder from us.
Essentially any vessel could be used as a cold brew coffee device. Canning jars work suprisingly well, but are limited by the small volume they produce. If you are looking for a high-volume brew system, Toddy™ has a similar product to what we are using at the shop here.
We always recommend using filtered water when making any coffee or tea at home. This helps to control the quality and taste of the final product, but if you don’t have access to filtered water, that’s fine.
We recommend a 5:1 or 6:1 water to coffee ratio, but you can tweak that based on your taste. Layer water and coffee grounds in your chosen devices as follows:
|1. Add ¼ of total water
2. Add ½ of total grounds
3. Add ½ of total water
4. Add remainder of grounds
5. Wait 5 minutes
6. Add remainder of water
Make sure all of your coffee grounds are saturated without over-agitating the slurry. Pour slowly and use your stream of water to break up any clumps of grounds. Do not stir your cold brew. It may seem like a great way to make sure that everything is saturated, but it will over-agitate it and result in a bitter end product.
Leave at room temperature for 8 – 15 hours.
After you have let your slurry sit, strain the coffee grounds out. Metal, paper and cloth filters will all let a slightly different amount of oil and particulate through, so feel free to use whatever you prefer.
The final product:
Your coffee concentrate will stay fresh for up to two weeks in your refrigerator. We recommend storing it in a container with a tight-sealing lid so the cold brew doesn’t absorb any flavors from your fridge.
The concentrate can be cut with hot water to create a cup of hot coffee or cut with cold water and ice to create a delicious iced coffee like we do here at Ellipsis Coffeehouse.
How We Do It
At Ellipsis we are currently using containers designed to brew 12oz of ground coffee per use. The coffee steeps for twelve hours after being layered into the container in a 5.3:1 water to coffee ratio. This produces a concentrate that we mix with equal parts water before serving.