Changing your habits is hard. That’s one of the main reasons you’ve waited so long to try and make yourself a cold brew coffee at home. Since you’re on this post you’re almost there (decided to make a cold brew). In this post, we’ll go through the musts or things to avoid, and how to achieve that. But like any other change, switching your coffee type will need some adjustments and testing. Especially if you’ve been drinking regular coffee for more than 10 years and now you’re switching to cold brew coffee.
I created this list to help you navigate through the complex matter of cold brew coffee. Now let’s dive into the Top 10 cold brew coffee tips for beginners.
1. Choose quality coffee beans and water
Cold brew coffee consists of two main ingredients: coffee and water. Both of these ingredients are equally important. But a very frequent mistake people make is focusing only on the coffee beans quality. That leads to adding low-quality water (tap water most frequently) into their brewing and the result is usually mediocre cold brew.
Another factor to consider is exactly what type of coffee you want. Some of the questions you want to ask yourself are:
- Do you want a stronger (read here how strength is measured when it comes to coffee) cold brew coffee?
- Do you want your cold brew coffee to be tastier?
- Do you want to add certain flavors to the cold brew coffee?
2. Coffee grind size matters
Grind size matters when it comes to coffee extraction. Why? Because more area of extraction leads to better extraction. That’s one of the reasons you will hear people advising you to use coarse grind size for a cold brew. But don’t try to cold brew with too fine grind sized coffee: you’ll most likely not enjoy it. What happens when you use coarse grind sized coffee is that you increase the area of the extraction. From one bean you can get many coarse grinds. They’re smaller sized, but the inside of coffee beans is also extractable now. You can see our article about different types of grind sizes in this article and in what scenario to use each.
3. Testing will get you closer to perfection
You want an ideal coffee to water ratio for your cold brew. This is absolutely mandatory, but bear in mind tastes are different. That’s why a cold brew guide you find on the internet might be perfect for other people, but it could be weird for you. So don’t constantly try new cold brew recipes. Instead, pick one that you generally like and simply try to adjust the coffee to water ratio. If you need further help with it and how to dilute your coffee visit our article covering precisely that (and the recommended ratios).
4. Bottle that cold brew smartly
How you bottle your cold brew coffee will affect its quality and shelf life. It’s important to use bottles with a lid that will seal completely the cold brew. This is a crucial factor for the brewing process. You can use both glass and other types of bottles. What type of bottle you use will depend on the amount of cold brew concentrate you’re preparing. This directly influences how long do you expect the coffee concentrate to stay bottled up. So if you’d like to dig into all the details about how to bottle a cold brew, please check our article about it.
5. Brewing time
How long you brew your coffee will affect its taste. The longer you brew your cold brew coffee, the better the extraction process will be. But one of the reasons why cold brew is less acidic is because it doesn’t over-extract from the coffee beans. While keeping coffee for a longer period of time can lead to over-extraction. Also, you have to consider what type of coffee you use, what’s the grind size and coffee to water ratio. But, the widespread practice is between 12 and 24 hours, with some stating 16 hours being perfect.
6. Cold brew coffee can last a lot in your fridge
It can last up to 60 days! Yes, you read that right – 2 months. As with the other tips, this one also comes with a but. This will depend on the ingredients, how you package it, how often do you open it, and many other details. A general misconception is that a deficiency of aroma means the cold brew has gone bad. If you have any questions about the shelf life of your cold brew hit our article that covers this topic entirely.
7. You can use your coffee beans more than once
If your only expectation is to drink ‘just coffee’ then, by all means, use the coffee beans more than once. The first cold brewed coffee will represent the real flavor of your coffee. The second time you use the same coffee beans it will be a poor copycat of the first brew coffee. In fact, that wannabe cold brew will be an over-extracted more acidic, and tasteless liquid (I don’t dare call it coffee). It’s an interesting topic that we discussed here.
8. Experiment and add those flavors
One of the best things about cold brew coffee is its versatility. It’s consisted of two main ingredients and that makes it a perfect base to add on. There are already guides and ideas out there, but don’t limit yourself. You can combine a cold brew coffee with other flavors and create new inspiring brews for the world to enjoy. If you’re unsure where to start, check out our guide here.
9. You can heat up a cold brew coffee
This somewhat beats the ‘cold’ in the cold brew coffee. But you might want a warm drink in the morning if you live in the colder parts of our world. Either way, there are many ways to heat up your cold brew coffee. The most popular one is to add boiling water to your cold brew coffee concentrate. Bear in mind that heat helps with flavor extraction. This will make your cold coffee more acidic and you can read all about it here.
10. Don’t rush it, this is not an espresso
Cold brew coffee is not your regular coffee. It’s not espresso either so don’t treat it like that. Cold brew coffee deserves your time, attention, and love. Sounds like a commitment right?! But you, the coffee aficionado reading this, have high expectations. That’s why it’s important to commit to the cold brew coffee and start by taking the time to enjoy it. Make a bit more time in your morning routine to allow the flavor to trigger a warm and distant memory. Only then, you should proceed with your day and that’s a cold brew coffee code you must honor!
Drink slow, stay cool
There’s always something new in each cup of cold brew coffee. This creates a humbling feeling and it makes all of us sorts of beginners. But in the list above you’ll find everything you need to know to start cold brewing your own coffee right now. You’ll not most likely hit the perfect coffee water ratio for your first time. This means maybe your first couple of cold brew concentrates will be off. But from my perspective, every ounce of cold brew coffee has been more than worth it.