Basic Cold Brew Recipe
Thailand’s heat makes me crave cold coffee, but many cold coffees here are made with instant coffee that is bitter or overly sweet. So, when I started making my own cold brew I was blown away by the smooth, flavorful, and super clean coffee that resulted. You can find cold brew coffee at some coffee shops, but the smaller coffee shops outside of Bangkok center generally do not carry it – unless you are up in the mecca of Thai coffee, Chiang Mai, where you can find cold brew in many shops.
The great thing about cold brew coffee is that it is super easy to make a batch right at home and you only need 3 pieces of equipment, coffee, and time.
Cold brew vs iced coffee
First off, you should know that cold brew coffee is not the same as iced coffee. Iced coffee is coffee that has been brewed with hot water then poured over ice. Cold brew coffee is brewed with, you guessed it, cold or room-temperature water. You can ice hot brewed coffee and it can turn out awesome, but it is a little trickier to not make a super bitter glass of coffee. The slow extraction of cold brew produces a rich flavor while not extracting the acidic notes and oils found in hot brewed coffee.
This is a basic cold brew method. There are all kinds of gadgets and gizmos aplenty to make cold brew, but this simple method should be where you start.
500ml of cold brew coffee concentrate at home
You will need:
I recommend using a mid-range coffee, no need to use your Finca El Injerto Coffee – $500/pound. However, if you use the cheapest beans you can find, then your cold brew will probably taste that way. Mix it up. Light roasts are more acidic, but the cold brewing method will extract only the flavors and not the acids so why not give a light roast a try? Dark roasts pair well especially when you mix your cold brew with milk or ice cream. I usually use dark roasts, but I think I will start to experiment a little more. Any roast will do, and each will have a unique flavor pulled out by the cold extraction process. (Learn more about roasts here.)
Step 1 – 1g of ground coffee to 8g of water
Measure out your coffee on a scale. We are going to make 500ml of coffee concentrate, but I find you need to make about 600 ml to yield 500ml of concentrate. 600ml water / 8 = 75g of coffee. Grind the coffee using a burr grinder (article on choosing a grinder) to extra coarse using the picture below as a guide. You do not want your coffee ground too small otherwise you will end up with a terrible bitter brew. It may look like a lot of coffee, but if you do a little math it is almost the same as hot brewing at a 16:1 ratio.
Step 2 – water
Place the 75g of coarse ground coffee into the jar. Place the jar on a kitchen scale and tare it to zero. Then pour in 600g(ml) of water. Stir the grounds to make sure all are in the water. Close the jar and set aside for 18-24 hours. This is the hard part because you must be patient!
Step 3 – strain
After 18-24 hours open the jar and pour the cold brewed coffee through a strainer to remove all the large chunks. Then pour it again through a paper filter to remove any grit that may remain.
Step 4 – enjoy
Cold brew is best served very cold so putting your concentrate in the refrigerator before consuming is best, but I usually can’t resist, and I end up pouring a cup right away. To enjoy your cold brew start by mixing 50% cold brew concentrate and 50% cold water then pour that over ice. Sip the coffee and take notice of the flavor. Is it a clean smooth taste? It should be. You can adjust your mixing ratio to suit your taste or mix it with milk if you are into that. I drink my cold brew mixed at the 50/50 ratio and serve it with plenty of ice.
It’s hot, so brew it up often!
This is the simple version and as you experiment with it you will notice that there are many things you can change to get a better cup. You can get fancy and do a hot bloom, which is where you hit the grounds with just enough hot water to get them wet for 30-45 seconds then add in the cold water. Or you can set your jar in the fridge for a true “cold” brew. Or set your jar out on the counter where the sun may hit for a few hours. You can change the ratio of coffee to 1:7 or 1:6. Mix up the kind of coffee and the roast of coffee which will all give you a different flavor. And on top of all that you can add cinnamon sticks, cloves, and other such things if you are feeling adventurous.
Cold brew is wonderful because it is very forgiving, and it produces delicious coffee. The hardest part is planning ahead so you don’t run out!
Or you can order fresh cold brew concentrate straight to your door from Storm Coffee Co. Use coupon code “coffeesimple” to get -10% your first order.