How (and Why) to Make Cold-Brew Coffee
The hottest trend in coffee these days is cold. Cold brew, that is.
Move over, pumpkin spice latteâ€”the hottest trend in coffee these days is cold. Cold brew, that is.
This isnâ€™t iced coffee, which is hot coffee or espresso allowed to cool and then served over ice (or whipped up in a blender with milk and sugar-laden syrups and topped with whipped cream). Cold-brew coffee is exactly what it sounds like, brewed by steeping coffee inÂ cold water rather than hot. And, like another trendâ€”weâ€™re looking at you, bone brothâ€”itâ€™s a tried-and-true classic that is back in vogue.
Proponents of cold-brew say that because the grounds aren'tÂ exposed to hot water, the resulting coffee is more flavorful and nuanced and less bitter than hot coffee. (Hereâ€™s some science around why, if youâ€™re so inclined.)
You can buy cold-brew coffee ($10.30, amazon), but if youâ€™re more of a DIY person, itâ€™s a cinch to make yourself.
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"Cold brew is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee around,â€ Michael Phillips, director of training for Blue Bottle Coffee, tells Health. â€œIf you have a bucket and some form of strainer or cheesecloth, youâ€™re all set.â€
Hereâ€™s a step-by-step tutorial from Phillips:
â€œA simple way to get a good ratio of coffee to water is to use one pound of coarsely ground (French press grind setting) coffee for one gallon of water,â€ Phillips says. A lighter-roast coffee will be fruitier and will work better for a longer steeping time; darker roasts are earthier. Phillips recommends starting with filtered water: Water is â€œthe majority of whatâ€™s in the final cup, so if it doesnâ€™t taste good to start, the brew wonâ€™t taste good in the end.â€
Put the coffee in a large, clean container (Phillips recommends glass; itâ€™s the easiest to clean and will not leave any flavor in the brew). Pour in a gallon of water, taking care to get all of the coffee wet. â€œI like to give it a good stir after 10 minutes to allow all of the grounds that were floating at the top to sink down to the bottom,â€ Phillips says. Cover the container with something breathable, such as cheesecloth, so no dust settles into it, and let it stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Set a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a paper filter on top of a clean container (this is the one that will be used to store the coffee) and pour in the coffee mixture.
Cover and refrigerate the brew for 4 to 5 days. Itâ€™s a concentrate, so when youâ€™re ready to drink, pour some of the brew into a cup and add some cold filtered water. How much you add depends on how strongly you brewed your cold-brew and how strong you like your coffee. Itâ€™s best served cold.
Tip: Cold brew â€œalso makes for a really easy-to-use ingredient for cooking to get coffee flavor into baked goods or even cocktails,â€ Phillips says.