What is Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate?

  • Date: November 5, 2020

People tend to be afraid of what they don’t understand, leading them to make assumptions. Very often, these assumptions are biased. So today we’ll discuss cold brew coffee concentrate objectively and discuss everything we can think of about it. 

This means that you’ll be able to read more about preparing it and what to consider during the preparation. Also, what do you need to make a cold brew at home? And we’ll share our simple recipe so you can test it (let us know how it went!).

But most importantly, we’ll tell you the benefits (hint: there are a lot of health benefits!) and whether you can drink cold brew concentrate without any other ingredients. First, let’s see what the topic we’re discussing today is.

What is Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate? 

Cold brew coffee concentrate is the result of cold brewing coffee and water. It’s called concentrate because the liquid is highly concentrated, and that makes it very strong. Due to this reason, I’d recommend diluting the cold brew coffee concentrate with water before drinking.  

Preparing cold brew concentrate is easy if you’ve done it a couple of times. Also, you already know what type of cold brew coffee you like. But if that’s not the case, things can get bitter (down the article, you can find out how to make a great brew right away).

What Sets Cold Brew Coffee Apart From Hot Coffee?

While both are using the same ingredients: coffee and water, there are numerous differences between these two types of coffee. On top of that, there are many variations of both. That’s why I’ll keep it as short as I can and cover the primary and general differences that set cold brew coffee apart from hot coffee (regular coffee).

Method of preparation

To prepare cold brew coffee, all you need is water, coffee, and patience. But if you are preparing regular coffee, you don’t need any patience. Instead, you need a traditional coffee maker. You can use the standard method of a glass container and steep at room temperature or in the fridge, or you can buy a cold brew coffee maker. If you have extra cash to spare, you might want to go for a Kyoto tower.

Temperature

The most notable difference is that cold brew is prepared in lower temperatures and high temperatures. This means that the speed at which the coffee is brewed is significantly different. When cold brewing, you are playing the long game, and that means a lengthier brewing process. On the other hand, regular coffee is focusing on instant results, thus the high temperatures. 

Grind size 

There are three main coffee grind sizes used in the coffee industry: 

  1. Fine
  2. Medium and
  3. Coarse

In the case of cold brew coffee, the best grind size to use is coarse. This allows for better extraction (more about this right below) than a bigger size (whole granule, for example), but it prevents over-extraction to a certain extent. 

In the case of regular coffee, the most frequently used is fine grind size. The logic is simple here: finer grind size combined with high temperatures results in very fast coffee preparation. The extraction (or over-extraction) happens instantly in some cases.

Extraction of coffee

During the preparation of the cold brew, the extraction process is taking longer. This happens because the lower temperature extracts slower and in a balanced manner for a longer time. Depending on the method, this can be between 8 to 24 hours.

Hot coffee is prepared at very high temperatures, and contrary to cold brew, the preparation lasts from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. The downside of this method is that it tends to over-extract the flavors and acid from the coffee. This results in more acidic coffee.

Area of extraction

Another notable difference is the area of the extraction. This is the available surface where water will interact with the coffee. The greater the extraction area (finer grind size equals more extraction area, while coarse grind size means a smaller area of extraction), the faster and better the extraction happens. This is something to be cautious with because if the area of extraction is great, over-extraction is inevitable. Unless you decrease the extraction time accordingly, and you’re not using high temperatures.

Shelf life

Cold brew can last up to 60 days in your fridge if the concentrate is pure. In other words, this means it has not been diluted with any other ingredients. So if you want to dilute your cold brew concentrate after it has been 30 days in the fridge, you’ll still get a perfectly drinkable coffee. 

Regular coffee, on the other hand, is rarely drank once it gets cold. A lot of people complain that it’s not as tasty and aromatic once it’s cold. This, however, doesn’t indicate the shelf life. So its shelf life is a couple of months if stored in the fridge, but the aroma will be gone. And freshness is a big factor when it comes to hot brewed coffee.

Taste

How you extract the flavor out of the coffee is very important. Cold brew coffee became very popular lately, and one of the reasons has been its taste. Cold brew coffee is less acidic (that’s why you’ll need less, if any, sugar in it). 

A case study by Toddy frequently used as a source of truth cold brew is 67% less acidic than regular coffee. But other scientific case studies showcase that while the cold brew is less acidic, it’s not nearly the percentage mentioned above.

How to Make Concentrated Cold Brewed Coffee

If you want to prepare a cold brew concentrate for the first time, all you need is coarse grind sized coffee and water and an item (preferably glass) to store the concentrate in it. 

How long to store the cold brew coffee depends on a lot of factors. If you’re cold brewing in your fridge, it can take up to 24 hours. But if you’re cold brewing at room temperature, then you need between 8 and 12 hours usually. If you’re doing it for the first time, check out our article for beginners

This can be further influenced by the specific method you’re using, but more about that below. First, let’s go over the most frequently asked questions about preparing a cold brew concentrate, and then I’ll share a recipe for an outstanding cold brew coffee.

What Is The Cold Brew Concentrate Ratio?

The most frequently used ratio of cold brew concentrate to water is 1:15 up to 1:18. But as every taste is different and you can put more or less water: it’s up to you and your preferences.

How to filter cold brew concentrate

After the concentrate has steeped for the planned duration, it needs to be filtered. This is the last step before you can dilute your concentrate. 

If you want to filter your cold brew concentrate, you need to put one type of filter on top of a glass or container and strain the concentrate through it. There are factors to consider when picking the best filter, and you can read all about it here

If you’re wondering why you should do this: it’s because you’d hate your coffee to have a dusty or sandy taste! That’s why some people will use a metal filter and put cheesecloth on top to avoid this feeling entirely.

What do you need to prepare cold brew coffee at home?

While none of the items listed below are mandatory, they are certainly nice to have. Some will allow you to get your preparation routine to perfection. 

BONUS TIP: Regardless of whether you’ll purchase any of the items, I urge you to document your cold brewing process. I mean taking notes of the exact ratios and metrics while preparing your cold brew every time until you hit your desired taste. This will make it easy to recreate a successful cold brew. And while you can certainly remember this, bear in mind you’ll not be brewing cold coffee every day, but once or twice a week. 

Coffee Scale

A coffee scale will allow you to keep track of the exact measure of coffee you’re using, which is especially handy when you’re still not sure of what your ideal ratio is. 

Measuring cap

The measuring cap will allow you to measure the quantity of liquid used in the brewing process. While you can always guess roughly the amount, I have to remind you that this will not always hit the sweet spot you want. 

Mason Jar

Mason jars are handy and will allow you to prepare enough cold brew coffee concentrate for yourself for a couple of days. They are made from glass, and the lid closes perfectly. You can always use another item, but by all means, make sure it’s made of glass. 

FUN FACT: Glass doesn’t chemically interact with whatever is containing. It will not affect the taste of your coffee in any manner.

Filtering items 

If you’re using a cold brew coffee maker of some sort, you’ll have a filtering system in place. But if you went for the standard way (and cheaper) of cold brewing coffee in a glass container, you need a filtering ‘system’. You can pick either a paper or metal filter, and they come in different shapes. On top of that, the paper filter can come in white or brown (both doing slightly different filtering).

Best Recipe For Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate

We can’t be discussing cold brew concentrate without giving you an amazing recipe. I encourage you to adjust the ratios and play with it until you reach the taste you like. 

Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate: Brewed at Room Temperature

For this recipe, you can use any glass container that can seal the concentrate properly.

Step 1: Grind 1 cup of coffee beans until they are coarse size for better extraction (we mentioned this above) of the coffee. 

Step 2: Put the coarse sized coffee in the glass container and pour 4 cups of water. the ratio used is 1:4, so adjust depending on the dose you want to prepare. 

BONUS TIP: Make sure to stir the concentrate right away after adding water to the coffee. This will allow all the coffee to absorb the water evenly and help the extraction process spread more evenly. Make sure to stir it again in 5 minutes.

Step 3: Patience. You’ll need to let the concentrate steep for 12 hours at room temperature. You can prepare the concentrate in the evening and let it steep during the night.

Step 4: The next morning, you need to strain the cold brew coffee, concentrating on a metal filter and cheesecloth. You can use another type of straining system, but I’m using this one to have a crystal clear concentrate.

Step 5: Put in a glass some of the cold brew concentrate and add as much water as you’d like until you reach your desired taste. 

BONUS TIP: You can further add milk or add ice depending on your taste. But bear in mind adding any further ingredients beyond water will make the cold brew coffee less intense.

What Is The Cold Brew Concentrate Ratio?

The most frequently used ratio of cold brew concentrate to water is 1:15 up to 1:18. But every taste is different, and you can put more or less water and still enjoy your cold brew.

Cold brew concentrate maker 

Today you can find numerous cold brew makers. These items are easy to use and simplify the brewing process (as much as it can since it’s just two ingredients in a container). 

The one that stands out and is not a maker per se is the Kyoto Tower. It’s an old technique brought to us by the Japanese, who have practiced this technique for centuries. When it comes to cold brewing coffee records are dating back to the 1640s when Dutch traders brought to the city of Kyoto in Japan.

Can you drink cold brew concentrate?

Yes, you can drink cold brew coffee concentrate. But this is a very strong and concentrated liquid, and it’s not something everyone will enjoy. It’s most frequently diluted with water and/or milk to reach the desired taste. 

Let’s see how to prepare cold brew iced coffee from a concentrate!

How to Make Cold Brew Iced Coffee with Concentrate

You have already prepared a cold brew coffee concentrate (maybe following our recipe above), and now you want to explore a bit. Look no further than the cold brew iced coffee if you want a great drink for the summer or something tasty and refreshing. 

Once the concentrate is ready and filtered properly, you need to get a cup. I’d recommend going with the 50-50 concentrate to water ratio, but feel free to adjust it according to your taste. 

So in that cup put ice and pour the concentrate over it and then add water. Instead of water, you can definitely use milk for a more mellow taste. 

If you want, you can also combine and add both water and milk to the cold brew iced coffee concentrate. This flexibility is one of the greatest perk cold brew coffee has, in my opinion.

There you have it: a cold brew iced coffee to start your day! If you’re interested in more ideas on what to add to your cold brew coffee concentrate, check these articles: 1234, and 5.

Are there any added benefits to drinking cold brew coffee?

Consumers today have become very benefit-centric, which pushes brands to transparently convey the benefits of their products. There are three main benefits of drinking cold brew coffee: health, cost, and time. Let’s explore each in more detail now.

Health

Today we became very aware of the importance of our health. I like to say that health and time are the only non-refundable things we have in our precious life. So when it comes to cold brew coffee, there are a lot of health benefits.

  • It’s great for people with heartburn or acid reflux because cold brew coffee has polysaccharides in it, among other things. The polysaccharides don’t decrease the acidic taste but are negating its effect, which is even better.
  • Cold brew coffee positively influences your cognitive performance, alertness, mood, and well-known sleep-deprived feeling. Based on this case study, there are at least 20 effects worth mentioning. 
  • Cold brew coffee can help with your gallbladder and colonic motor activity.
  • 100 mg of caffeine increases the number of calories used to perform activities by 3-4%, and if this dose is consumed every 2 hours up to 12h (meaning 6x100mg), this reaches 8-11%. 
  • It helps with decreasing your fat mass.
  • According to the National Coffee Association and their team of scientists, coffee can help to a certain extent with these medical conditions:
    • Cancer,
    • Longevity
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Live health
    • Diabetes and
    • Stroke

This list can be longer, but I feel these are the most known benefits.

Costs

Costs arising from our habits are always a hot topic. That’s why another benefit of cold brewing coffee at home is that it’s cost-friendly. 

You can always go a bit ‘crazy’ and invest a lot, for example, if you buy a Kyoto tower and some very expensive coffee beans. However, if you stick to the standard cold brewing at home, it’s going to be cheap. You’ll have everything you need to prepare a cold brew for only 15$. 

Time

Last but not least important is the time. How much time you invest in preparing your cold brew coffee, and how it will optimize your morning routine. 

You can prepare every Sunday your cold brew coffee concentrate for the week ahead. That means you’ll invest 10 minutes per week to prepare coffee for the next seven days or 168 hours! This efficiency is insane because you’re investing 0,099% of your time in having coffee for the rest of 99.9%. 

How much caffeine is in cold brew concentrate?

The caffeine in your cold brew will vary on the type of coffee and ratio used. But let’s take the following example. In 4oz of liquid of cold brew concentrate, you’ll have around 250mg of caffeine (most likely more). 

Contrary to that, a hot brew coffee of 4 oz will have 50mg of caffeine. You can see that the caffeine difference is five times greater in the cold brew coffee concentrate.

The concentrate is incredibly strong, and as mentioned already, that’s why it’s called concentrate. And that’s one of the reasons we dilute the concentrate with water and/or milk.

Does coffee strength mean more caffeine?

No, it doesn’t. Scientifically speaking, the strength of a coffee is measured by Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). And the cold brew coffee concentrate has a TDS of 2.8% up to 3.4% undiluted. Considering you dilute the concentrate with 50-50 water/milk, the TDS will decrease from 1.4% up to 1.8%. 

Final thoughts

Cold brewing coffee is a fun experience, and when I first tried, I didn’t know much about it. I can tell you that as with anything else, the more you practice it, the better it gets. But it doesn’t get boring, because you can experiment a lot! 

As you saw in this article, there are many factors to consider when preparing your cold brew coffee concentrate, but it’s all worth it in the end. Not only is cold brew great for your health, but it will also save you money and time along the way. And who can object to these benefits?! 

The recipe in this article is tested by many starting with myself, and while it’s great for me, it might not be for you (ratio wise). I’m always encouraging people to test the waters when it comes to cold brew. And remember ratios are important, but equally relevant is your taste, type of coffee, and quality of the water used

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