There is a mystique around Cold Brew coffee. It has become quite popular in India in recent times and a lot of people are talking about it. But even with all this buzz and so much text being available, there is no real guide that tries to answer all the questions at once or a guide which can get us started in this world.
When I was getting started, I had a lot of questions in my mind. What is Cold Brew & how is it different from other coffees? How to go about it for the first time? Where to find the supplies from?
And a lot more.
This guide aims to answer all this for you. So if you have even a tiny bit of interest in Cold Brew coffee, this guide will help you take it further. This is the real Cold Brew coffee guide to get you to delve into the cold brew world.
What is Cold Brew?
Cold Brewing is a method of brewing coffee where ground coffee beans are steeped in room temperature water for more than 20 hours. Cold Brewed Coffee a.k.a Cold Brew is the coffee concentrate that you get after the brewing is complete.
For me to get deeper, let me explain a bit of context first.
There are actually several methods of brewing coffee. The most common method used by almost all coffee shops around is called espresso.
Espresso is a method of brewing coffee where extremely hot water (~95℃) is forced through finely-ground coffee at enormous pressure. This is done using an espresso machine that you can spot at any coffee shop. This Italian method to brew coffee became the most common way to brew because it's the fastest. All it takes is 30 seconds, and your coffee concoction (aka espresso shot) is ready to make various coffees such as Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, and more.
Other methods of brewing such as french press, Aeropress, Moka pot, etc. are relatively slower and take 4-5 minutes to brew a cup.
Coming back to cold-brewed coffee, this brewing method takes the most amount of time - About 20 hrs give or take. But it is also one of the easiest methods of brewing coffee at home, very simple to do and requires no equipment.
All one needs to do is steep coarsely ground coffee in water overnight. The best part about Cold Brew is that you can make it in batches and store it in the fridge for 15+ days for your daily coffee.
This method of brewing coffee has caught everyone's fancy because the resultant coffee concoction is less acidic and less bitter in taste. So you get the caffeine in abundance without it feeling bitter or acidic. Cold-brew coffee has more caffeine than your regular coffee.
My Take ->
Cold-brewed coffee has just the good parts of coffee i.e caffeine (that you may be seeking for increased productivity, alertness or else) along with taste. Also, this coffee is best suited for making Iced Coffees. You can make a ton of different recipes and each will taste better than the other. And as for hot coffees, who makes them anymore? So, hands down, Cold Brew is my choice of brew I drink on a daily basis in office and home.
The Coffee Beans
Duh!! Can you even brew coffee without the coffee beans?
Where to buy the coffee beans from?
I have listed some of the prominent coffee companies from India where you can easily find good quality coffee beans.
You can also shop for beans at specialty coffee roasters like
- Kaffa Cerrado
- Quick Brown Fox
- Koinonia Coffee Roasters
- Third Wave Coffee Roasters
- Bombay Island Coffee Company
- Several others I have not listed here
If none of these suit you, then you can just go to Amazon and search for coffee beans.
There are two ways to buy coffee beans. You can either go for the whole beans or you can buy the ground coffee beans.
It is always better to buy the whole beans as they don't lose flavor and aroma as easily as the ground coffee. But in the latter case, you would need a burr grinder (the one being used in the video above) to grind the beans yourself. Coffee beans cannot be ground in the household mixer-grinder.
Most of the specialty coffee roasters listed above will roast and grind the coffee beans fresh for you after you have placed the order. These places also grind the coffee as per your preference of brewing method you're gonna use. For people like us who want to make cold-brew coffee, they would grind the beans coarsely as required.
If you're just getting started, buying the ground coffee is your best bet as you will not need the grinder then (the only equipment used in the recipe video above).
Now that you have got your coffee beans sorted i.e. either you have bought ground coffee or you have bought whole beans and ground the coffee yourself, let's look at how we're going to brew this coffee.
The Cold Brew Filter
You got the coffee. You can now submerge it in water for 20+ hrs in an airtight jar and get a good coffee liquid. The question becomes, how to then separate those coffee beans from the water to get a smooth, black coffee concoction?
The good old tea strainer does not work here because the coffee beans are way smaller than the tea granules. The coffee you will get will have loads of sediment in it and will not be drinkable at all.
We have experimented with a lot of cold brewing equipment - from the most sophisticated ones to the completely DIY method. For quite some time we were using this cold brew maker so if you are just getting started, you can get one of these and call it a day.
But this only makes 1 Ltr Cold Brew at a time and we like to make our cold brew in weekly batches, so we have shifted to a DIY method.
To separate the used coffee beans from the brewed coffee we have tried a few different filters like paper filters, muslin cloth, etc. But we found Nut milk bag to be the best as brewed concoction is smooth and without any sediments. It is fairly simple to use and doesn't create a mess either. Also, it is reusable so saves a ton.
To see how to use a Nut Milk Bag for making your cold brew, check out the video above.
Nut Milk bags are easily available on Amazon.
Let's look at the recipe now.
How to make Cold Brew Coffee?
- Steep 100 gms of freshly ground coffee (Prefer 100% Arabica beans) in 1 Ltr of water for 20+ hours in an airtight jar. (We prefer the ratio of coffee to water as 1:10 - easy and best - i.e for 100 gms coffee, 1000 ml water is needed)
- Use a Nut bag for filtering. Use the filtered coffee to make Iced or hot coffees.
- Refer to the video above.
The filtered coffee is called Cold Brewed Coffee. The heat and pressure required to brew espresso are replaced by time in this method. That is why we are keeping the ground coffee beans in water for so long. Another thing to note is that we have used an airtight jar. This increases the shelf life of our coffee concoction so it is definitely recommended.
If you are looking for a stronger brew steep the ground coffee for 24+ hours. That's it.
How to best consume the cold brew coffee?
This coffee is extremely simple and so are recipes using it. As Cold Brew is less bitter and less acidic, you can just have it on the rocks. Put a lot of ice if you are looking for a lighter brew.
Another way to have it is to top up with a bit of milk and any sweetener. My preferred sweetener has always been honey. Out of all the options, this is the one I like the most for my daily caffeine cravings.
If you want to up your game then add a bit of hazelnut syrup in the cold brew and pour it on top of the ice. This is a secret recipe that not a lot of people talk about. But the drink is damn good. You can also add milk of your choice. But just black coffee is good too.
If you are looking for a drink that is creamy, sweet and still gives a good coffee kick, Vietnamese Iced Coffee is the one. It is the coffee you should start with.
The first time I had this coffee was in Thailand, and even though I didn't exactly know what it was back then, I was hooked. Since then I have made it umpteen times.
You can refer to the video below for detailed steps.
Hot coffees can also be made using it. Add cold brew and any sweetener to milk and heat it in a microwave.
Honestly, there are tons of really amazing coffees that can be made using cold brew. Once you get a hang of it, it would be tough to go back to the world of espresso and Moka pots. We definitely believe so.
I have tried to make this guide as comprehensible as possible and have poured my heart into it. I hope this would be stepping stone into cold-brewing your own coffee. Do share your experiences with us via Instagram or in the comments below.
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And we promise we're gonna be coming up with a lot of amazing recipes and articles for you.