Cold brew coffee—or “iced coffee taken seriously,” as senior director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America Peter Giuliano calls it—is the latest beverage to take American coffee culture by storm. With a more intense, richer flavor, yet with the same refreshing qualities as its well-known sibling, iced coffee, cold brew is hot.
Cold brew is simple to make at home. The easiest approach is to begin the brewing process in the evening and allow the grounds to steep overnight, ensuring a long, slow process that captures the complete depth of the bean’s flavor. And there is plenty to capture—while coffee grounds infused with hot water produce a bitterer, sourer liquid (due to the oils full of acidic compounds that give coffee its bitterness) these oils don’t dissolve at lower temperatures; ergo, brewing with cold water, while a much longer process, allows the subtle nuances in coffee’s flavor to emerge in a way they never would in a cup of hot coffee.
Of the dozens of possible flavors, tasters readily notice citrus, chocolate, nuts, spices, wood, herbs, and even floral notes in a cup of cold brew.
You will need:
- A coffee grinder (or coarsely ground coffee)
- Coffee beans, preferably a roast specific to cold brewing (probably light or medium)
- Cold or room temperature, filtered water
- A wooden spoon (non-reactive)
- A French press coffee maker or (a mason jar)
- Grind one cup of coffee beans on “coarse.”
- Combine with four cups of cold or room temperature, filtered water.
- Place in refrigerator and allow to steep for at least eight hours, preferably twelve.
- Strain the solution through a coffee filter, a fine mesh sieve, or layered cheesecloth. Or if using a French press, just filter with the press mechanism as you would with hot coffee.
Unlike hot coffee, refrigerated cold press has excellent shelf life, and should remain relatively fresh for up to ten days. The recipe above can be doubled or halved; feel free to make a week’s worth and save yourself the everyday “grind.”