After reading this guide you will be clued up on the best ways to cold brew at home, even if you don’t have a French press to hand.
I’m going to tell you the beans you should use to get the best flavour, the exact grind size you need and the perfect water to grounds ratio.
Click here to skip to our quick round cold brew Q+A, which answers questions such as ‘is it more acidic?’, ‘does it have more caffeine?’, ‘is it stronger?’ and much more.
Before learning how to make it at home, here are the best beans you can buy for cold brewing…
What type of coffee should I use for cold brew?
A coffee that packs a punch is your best bet for cold brew. This type of brewing isn’t designed to pull out all the subtle flavours, so a blend with a bold taste is what you should be looking for.
Usually, the hot water extracts the various flavour from the grounds, but as we’re using cold water, we need to adjust our routine slightly.
Here are our top recommendations…
The best coffee beans for cold brew…
Of course, it is difficult to tell you the best beans, as taste is subjective, and any avid drinker will know there are many conflicting opinions in the coffee industry. So, we’ve got a few recommendations for all…
Choose a dark roast for a bold and punchy flavour…
These Java beans are the go-to for cold brewing at Adams and Russell. The full roast works fantastically in this beverage with the delicious rich Earthy flavours. The low acidity and deep body creates an even smoother drink which will have you coming back for more and more cups of cold brew! Here’s what one customer thought…
‘Exactly as described deep earth notes, low acidity. Very satisfied, definitely will get more.’
The perfect medium roast for slightly less intensity…
If you are looking for something a little less intense than the dark roast Java beans but still want a lot of flavour, a medium roast is the way to go. The Sumatra Mandheling beans still pack in some bold flavours such as rich Earthiness with a touch of sweetness, chocolate and liquorice.
‘When my coffee arrives from A&R it’s always a tough decision which bag to open first! This time I went for the Sumatra Mandheling, a new one for me. As usual I wasn’t disappointed. Very smooth and chocolately with just the right amount of spice to balance it. Great coffee.’
A light roast for those who want a subtler taste…
If you are looking for a more delicate flavour profile, these Brazilian beans are the ideal choice. Enjoy an incredibly smooth flavour with a medium body and notes of chocolate and vanilla aroma.
‘Lovely smooth coffee. I can’t believe the difference it makes versus a supermarket bean.Always buy my coffee beans from Adamas and Russell now.’
The best decaf beans for cold brew…
These decaffeinated beans are smooth, nutty and full of delicious flavour. They are decaffeinated using the Mountain Water Process, which doesn’t involve the use of any chemicals. Mexico’s coffee is known for having a pleasantly dry flavour and crisp snap, which works perfectly as a refreshing cold brew.
Cold brew is often a drink that is sipped throughout the day, so decaf is the perfect way to enjoy your beverage at any time without worrying about the effects of too much caffeine.
Now you’ve got the best coffee for the job, here are the easy ways to cold brew at home…
How to cold brew coffee at home
Cold brewing doesn’t require any more skill or effort than regular brewing, but it does require quite a bit more time. Here are the simple steps to follow for the best results…
- Grind 90g of beans on a coarse setting.
- Add the grounds into a cafetiere (in this tutorial we are using a 1 litre cafetiere).
- Slowly pour 887ml of room temperature water into the cafetiere in circular motions to fully immerse the grounds.
- Use a spoon to stir and push the grounds down as you don’t want them to float at the top.
- Cover with the plunger (or anything else that will cover the top if it doesn’t fit on the shelf) and leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
- Press the plunger down, but not all the way as you don’t want to release the bitter flavours.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy.
A vital part of cold brewing is the grind size, here are some tips for achieving the perfect grounds…
Which grind size should I use for cold brew?
If you’re spending 12+ hours making this beautiful cold brew, you need to make sure you’ve got the basics right first. Grind size plays a huge roll in the end result and can either make or break your refreshing concoction.
A coarser grind size is best for a cold brew, and I’ll tell you why.
First, here is how brewing works…
The longer you steep for, the coarser the grounds should be. This is because the water penetrates into each ground of coffee and eventually reaches the ‘sweet spot’, which is where the magical flavours are found.
Steep for too long, and you’ll go past it and get a bitter flavour. Steep for too little, and you’ll end up with a cup seriously lacking in flavour.
So, time is one variant. Another way we can manipulate coffee is with the grind size.
If you’re short on time, opt for a finer grind size and you’ll reach the flavour in a shorter amount of time. If you’re brew time is pretty long, like 12 hours long, then a coarser grind size is required so that the bitter flavours aren’t extracted.
As well as experimenting with grind size, it is also useful to experiment with the cold brew coffee ratio…
What is the best cold brew coffee ratio?
Depending on who you ask will depend on the answer you get to ‘what is the right grounds to water ratio?’
It usually ranges between 1:4 to 1:7, but it can depend on a few factors. Of course, it mainly depends on how strong you want the flavour. If you like your coffee to have rich, deep and strong flavours, we’d recommend a coffee to water ratio of 1:4.
If you like the flavours a little subtler, try 1:6 or 1:7.
It also depends on the type of grounds you are using and how much flavour they have to begin with, so it’s all about experimentation and finding the perfect balance for you.
When cold brewing at home, there are more ways to create this delicious drink other than using a cafetiere…
How to make coffee without a French press…
Using a French press (or cafetiere) is perhaps the easiest way to cold brew, but not if you don’t own one. Fear not, there are other ways to create this delightful drink at home, and with minimal resources.
The only reason you need a French press is to filter out the grounds when you are serving the drink, so this is what we are going to re-create. You can steep the cold brew in the fridge using a jar, jug, cup or whatever else you have else you have lying around.
To filter out the grounds in the morning, you could use a paper filter, cloth, tea towel, a very fine mesh strainer, paper towels or napkins, cheesecloth or any other material that would do the job,
Simply place over a bowl or jug and pour your coffee through it. It may take a little longer to filter through, so pour very slowly to gage the speed.
Now you’ve got the best tips for cold brewing at home, you may be thinking, ‘will I even like cold brew?’ Keep reading to find out…
Will I like cold brew coffee?
This is the ideal beverage for someone who loves coffee but is looking for a refreshing change. If the main reason you drink coffee is for a hot comforting drink, this may not be for you.
But if you’re looking to discover new flavours and are bored of your usual routine, this is the perfect way to switch things up. Keep reading to find out what it tastes like…
What does cold brew taste like?
Many opt for this drink to enjoy the delicious smoothness, and there is a reason behind this favourable characteristic. Hot water can enhance the acidity, bitterness or intensity of a blend. Cold water takes a lot longer to steep as it can’t extract the flavours as easily, which means it is much less likely to over steep and pull out the bitterness.
Cold brew is often described as the lighter, sweeter and milder cousin of your usual hot cup of joe. This particularly appeals to those who enjoy a subtle drink, rather than a super dark blend that has a deep and intense taste.
Of course, it depends on the type of coffee you are using as to how the flavour will turn out. But if you are looking for a milder and less acidic drink, this is definitely for you.
Cold brew vs iced coffee taste – are they the same?
In short, no. Iced coffee is brewed with hot water and then cooled down. This means it has pretty similar flavour and characteristics of a normal cup of coffee, but it’s cold and served over ice.
Cold brew is made in a completely different way, so yields completely different results. As I mentioned previously, it has a more subtle and mellow flavour profile.
Iced coffee (depending on the blend you choose) may have a bolder acidity and richer flavour profile.
If you’ve still got some questions around the mystical cold brew, take a look at our quick-fire cold brew Q&A below…
Cold Brew Q&A…
Is cold brew better?
It depends who you ask. Someone strolling through the park on a hot Summers day may consider cold brew to be ‘better’. Someone else stood in the freezing cold at a bus stop may say wrapping their hands around a delicious hot cup of coffee is ‘better’, you see where I’m going here?…
It’s all subjective! Many enjoy this beverage as a refreshing change, so you don’t have to pick a side.
Does it have more caffeine?
This question causes a lot of confusion but is something we are all eager to know when battling fatigue on our morning commute to work.
There are two aspects that play a role in this beverage’s caffeine content:
- It is brewed with cold water, which doesn’t extract as much caffeine as hot water.
- It uses a much higher ratio of grounds to water than normal coffee, which increases the caffeine content.
This means that there isn’t a big difference in the caffeine content. Hot coffee does tend to have a slightly higher content, but the difference is fairly minimal, and you won’t notice much of a difference.
How does cold brewing work?
Also known as cold water extraction or cold pressing, it simply involves brewing coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water.
It works exactly like a normal brewing, in the sense that the water penetrates the grounds and extract the oils, flavour molecules and aromatics. The major difference is that the grounds need a lot longer to steep with cold water as it doesn’t extract as easily.
Is it less acidic?
Cold brew is said to be at least 67% less acidic than a hot brew. This comes down to the fact that cold water isn’t as efficient as extracting all the oils found in grounds. The oils that contain the acidity often aren’t able to be extracted by cold water, creating a less acidic cup.
Although some prefer a bold acidity in their cup and see it as a good quality to have, those who are sensitive to it prefer a lower acidity.
To read find out the best products you can buy and where acidity comes from, take a look at our guide to low acid coffee.
Is it stronger?
When asking the question ‘is it stronger?’, drinkers are usually referring to one of two things, either:
- Flavour strength.
- Caffeine strength.
In both cases, no, it is usually not stronger. The taste is more subtle and mellow, and it has a slightly lower caffeine content.
Is it watery?
No, it is not watery if brewed correctly. Iced coffee is more likely to be watery as it is cooled down with ice cubes. As there is no need to cool down cold brew, it shouldn’t produce a watery cup.
Cold brew is often diluted with milk or water after steeping, especially if a high volume of grounds has been used. We recommend tasting the beverage before diluting and adding a little at a time to avoid it becoming watery.
Is it healthier?
There are arguments for both sides and after extensive research, neither cold brew or hot coffee is healthier than the other.
They both have benefits and drawbacks, which tend to cancel each other out, meaning they are pretty on par healthwise.
For instance, cold brew could be healthier for those who are sensitive to acid and or suffer with acid reflux. On the other hand, hot water extracts more of the antioxidants from the grounds.
There are plenty of other arguments for both sides, but generally there is a minimal difference in which is healthier.