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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Updated on July 12, 2012
Cold brew coffee produces delicious coffee concentrate to make refreshing iced coffee beverages.
Cold brew coffee produces delicious coffee concentrate to make refreshing iced coffee beverages. | Source

There's nothing quite like a hot cup of coffee...except for a cup of refreshing cold brewed coffee. Cold brew coffee is most often used for making iced coffee drinks. It offers many advantages over regular hot brewed coffee. Cold brewing involves brewing the coffee with room temperature water over the course of several hours. The slower process results in more mellow, less bitter coffee, and brings out some of the more subtle flavors of the coffee. Coffee connoisseurs and beginners alike can enjoy learning how to make cold brew coffee.

While the cold brew process is basically the same, there are different tools you can use to make your coffee. There is the “Toddy” coffee brewer which was created specifically to make cold brew coffee. Toddy brewers can be purchased from online retailers and kitchenware specialty stores. However, you may also use a French coffee press or simply a fine mesh strainer to make cold brew coffee.

Medium to dark roast beans provide the most flavor.
Medium to dark roast beans provide the most flavor. | Source

The Coffee and Grind

Select coffee beans with a medium to dark roast. This will result in a more flavorful product than a light roast bean. Next, grind your beans finely. The finer the grind, the more flavor your coffee will have.

Coffee Ratio

Generally, a good ratio of coffee beans to water is 1 pound to 1/2 gallons of water. However, this can be adjusted for your own preference. For a smaller batch, you can simply reduce the amount of coffee and water proportionally.

Upside down Toddy, with plug inserted
Upside down Toddy, with plug inserted | Source

Toddy Method

Place the plug into the bottom of the Toddy. Wet a filter and place it into the filter recess of the Toddy. Add your coffee to the brewer. Slowly add the appropriate amount of chilled or room temperature water to the brewer. Allow the coffee to brew at room temperature for 12-24 hours. When the coffee has finished brewing, remove the plug, pour the coffee into a container, and refrigerate.

French press
French press | Source

French Press Method

Place the coffee into the French press. Pour chilled or room temperature water over the coffee grounds. Wait about 10 minutes and stir the coffee to break up any large clumps. Cover the press and allow the coffee to brew for 12-24 hours. After the coffee has brewed, press it.

A fine mesh strainer can be used in place of a Toddy brewer or French press.
A fine mesh strainer can be used in place of a Toddy brewer or French press. | Source

Strainer Method

If you do not own a Toddy or a French press, you may simply use a fine mesh strainer to make cold brew coffee. Place your strainer over a large container. (Optional: line the strainer with coffee filter paper.) Place the coffee into the strainer, and pour chilled or room temperature water over the coffee. Carefully stir the coffee and water. Cover the container and wait for the coffee concentrate to drip through the strainer. Allow it to brew at room temperature for 12-24 hours.

Serving the Coffee

Once the brewing process is complete, you will have a concentrated coffee that you can use in a variety of cold coffee beverages. Because the coffee is concentrated, it should be diluted with milk, water, or ice. Sweeten to taste and enjoy. Any unused cold brew coffee should be refrigerated and may be stored up to one month.

 
 
Hardware
Software
Toddy brewer
medium to dark roast coffee beans
French press
room temperature or chilled water
Fine mesh strainer
ice
Coffee filter paper
milk
Container for storing
sweetener
Spoon for stirring
 
List of items needed to make cold brew coffee, depending on your taste and the brewing method. Have fun and enjoy!

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