How Is Cold Brew Made?
How Is Cold BRew Made – Basics
Cold brew coffee is coffee brewed using cold or room temperature water. That is really the answer to the “How is cod brew made?” question. But, there is much more to it.
The cold water takes a lot more time to extract all the aromas and flavors from the coffee. Therefore cold brew is brewed over a long time. Often between 12-24hrs.
You can use many different brewers for cold brew. If you make your coffee at home, you would often use a French press or a cold brew maker. Coffee shops are often using bigger brewers, like Toddy’s Commercial Cold Brew Model.
What Coffee Beans Are Used For Cold Brew Coffee??
The cold water, which is used for making cold brew, doesn’t extract as much taste from the coffee as hot water would do. Therefore, it is common to use a darker roasted bean for cold brew coffee. This, since the darker roasted coffee, will give a stronger coffee taste.
However, darker roasted coffee loses a lot of the beans more complex aromas, and because of that, you might prefer to use a medium or even light roast.
If you are using a medium or light roast, make sure to use high-quality coffee beans. A high-quality coffee will be balanced, and you will taste a lot of different aromas, while a cheaper coffee will taste blend.
Different Brewing Methods Making Cold Brew
There are mainly 3 different brewing methods for a cold brew, and they all produce a different taste. There are, of course, other ways to brew your cold brew, but these are the three ways mainly use, and other methods often incorporate these methods.
Method 1 – The Immersion Method
If someone asks me how cold brew is made, this method would probably be my answer. This is the most common cold brewing method, which is used both in most coffee shops and in thousands of cold brew lover’s homes.
It is really basic. You fill a container of some sort with the ground coffee, you add cold water and let it sit for 12-24hrs. Then you filter out the ground coffee, and you are done!
Method 2 – The Hot Bloom Method
Similar to the immersion method but with one difference that makes a lot of difference for the final taste.
Instead of adding cold water, you first add hot water. You just let sit for a couple of seconds (usually 10-30), and then you add cold water to cool down the coffee and continue the brewing process. Let it brew for 12-24hrs and filter out the coffee. Done!
The hot bloom method extracts more coffee aroma and tastes more similar to hot coffee than coffee brewed using the immersion method will do.
Method 3 – The Cold Drip Method
The cold drip method is different, and the taste profile is smoother and less powerful than both the other methods.
By using a cold drip brewer, you let water drip through ground coffee. The water extracts aromas from the coffee on its way through the ground coffee, and then it drips into a second container. This means that most of the water only will be in contact with the coffee for a couple of minutes. Instead of hours, as with the other two methods.
Therefore the taste will be smoother and not as strong.
Coffee Grind Size For Cold Brew
What grind size should be used? It depends on the brewing method. If you are using the Immersion or Hot Bloom method, you probably want to go with a coarse grind.
If you are using the Cold Drip method, a finer grind is often wanted.
However, the wanted grind size for all these methods depends on other factors as well. For example, if you, for some reason, only want to brew your cold brew for 6hrs and you are using the Immersion method. Then, you probably want a more fine grind size.
Whole Beans vs Ground Coffee
What’s best ? Should you buy whole beans or ground coffee?
Whole beans will no doubt produce a better and more flavorful cold brew, so I highly recommend you to buy whole beans and grind them yourself. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can find them pretty cheaply on Amazon.
Coffee beans are affected by air, and when you grind the beans, this reaction will run way faster. The ground coffee will lose a lot of the qualities you paid for.
Therefore, if you can, always use whole beans.
Homemade vs Bought
Cold brew bought in coffee shops is often made differently from home-brewed cold brew. Coffee shops often use huge brewing systems, and if you buy bottled cold brew in your store, that is a whole other story.
However, the cold brew trend is still pretty new, and therefore most of the coffee you can find is pretty high quality. Most of the big companies have not yet started to mass-produce cold brew, so it is still a mainly manual process.
If you want to find drink ready cold brew, check out your local grocery store or do a quick search on Amazon. Here is, for example, Starbucks drink ready cold brew.
That said, making your own cold brew (which you now pretty much know how to do) will most likely produce a better result than if you bought it. It will not only be better, but it will also be cheaper.
If you buy really high-quality coffee, roasted to order, it will probably cost you about $20/lb. That might seem expensive, but if you think about I believe you will change your mind.
Depending on how strong you brew your coffee, 1lb will produce about 14lb of cold brew.
If you buy cold brew in a coffee shop, you would probably get a serving around 16 fl oz (and some of that will be ice…). The price for a glass of cold brew would be around $4-6 most often.
And, the coffee you get from the coffee shop is many times high quality, but many times not. It depends on where you get it, of course, but many shops doesn’t use top quality coffee. Instead, they buy pre-roasted coffee in bulk.
So, if you make the cold brew yourself from the highest possible quality of coffee, you would pay $20 for 14lb of drink ready coffee. That is around $0,09/oz. If you bought it from a coffee shop, it would have been $0,31/oz.
The bought cold brew is over 300% more expensive, and probably not even close in quality!
If you want to try to make your own cold brew, check out our cold brew video guide.
How Is Cold Brew Made – Summary
Cold brew is made from brewing coffee using cold water for a longer time, often 12-24hrs.
The coffee beans used for cold brew is often dark or medium roasted, as these will produce a more distinct coffee flavor.
There are mainly 3 different cold brewing methods, and they will all produce a different taste and cold brew profile. There is:
- The Immersion Method
- The Hot Bloom Method
- The Cold Drip Method
The coffee grind size you want is different depending on the brewing method. For the two first methods, you want a coarse grind, but for the cold drip method, you want a much finer grind.
Buying whole beans will always produce a better taste as ground coffee will lose a lot of flavor from being exposed to air.
Brewing cold brew at home will most likely give you better coffee for a lower price. However, it takes some effort (not much though), so if you want to pay a little bit extra, there are drink-ready alternatives out there!
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“I am one of the persons behind DripBeans, which we started because we were tired of coffee being boring or snobby. Coffee should be fun and exciting. If you are like me you love cold brew and want to be a part of a great community where we share recipes, thought and happiness. That is what DripBeans is trying to do!”