Cold brew coffee is smooth, refreshing, and offers an energizing dose of caffeine without the apparent acidity and bitterness that you get from brewing hot coffee. Although it’s called “cold” brew, it can be served hot or cold, so it’s perfect for any time of the year.
Kyoto-style coffee, or slow steep brewing, originated in Japan as early as the 1600s but, didn't start entering specialty coffee shops until the early 2000s. After this old fashioned trend caught on, by 2010, many of the big coffee chains added it to their regular menu.
However, cold brew is not just a coffee shop fad. It’s super simple to make at home. You just need coarsely ground coffee beans, a jar, and a cold overnight soak. The cold steeping process makes a smooth, mellow cup of coffee that has very little acidity or bitterness.
Even better, cold brew delivers some pretty impressive health benefits!
Why We Love Cold Brew Vs Traditional Brew
Fewer tummy issues. When you brew coffee using boiling or nearly boiling water, the heat extracts a lot of acidity from the coffee grounds. This acid can be detrimental to coffee drinkers who suffer from stomach issues like heartburn, indigestion, and ulcers. As a result, cold brew coffee may be easier on your tummy since it’s less acidic than coffee brewed hot.
Better mental acuity. The elevated amount of caffeine in cold brew can help you feel more focused and energized. Research also says that regular coffee drinking can decrease your chances of memory loss and other mental diseases. So it can keep you happy, attentive and mentally sharp as you age.
Healthier blood sugar. And just in case you need one more reason to indulge in cold brew, here’s another one: it can reduce your risk of blood sugar problems. A recently published study of nearly 1000 people showed that those who drink 3 cups of regular coffee a day [the equivalent of 1.5 cups of cold brew] are 40% less likely to experience high blood sugar levels.
Lattes, Milkshakes, and More!
There are numerous ways to savor your DIY cold brew. Let your taste buds guide the way.
- Iced cold brew. Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour cold brew coffee over them. The melting ice will dilute the concentrate to your desired strength.
- Cold brew latte. Combine equal parts of cold brew coffee and your choice of milk (dairy or plant-based) in a glass filled with ice. Stir well. For a touch of sweetness, add a drizzle of honey, monk fruit drops, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Cold brew milkshake. Combine a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a splash of cold brew coffee, and milk or cream. Blend until smooth and frothy. Yum, yum, yum.
- Cold brew affogato. Scoop a generous serving of ice cream (chocolate or vanilla) into a wide glass. Pour cold brew coffee over the ice cream and watch as it melts into a luscious combination of flavors and textures. This treat is irresistible.
- Cold brew mocktail. Mix cold brew coffee with sparkling water or tonic water for a fizzy and invigorating non-alcoholic beverage. Add a splash of citrus juice, a sprig of fresh mint, or a dash of flavored syrup.
Some Pro Tips To Get You Started
Cold brew requires a larger grind — something closer to the coarseness of raw sugar — to keep the brew from getting bitter during the long steeping process. Once steeped, strain the coffee mixture gently through cheesecloth and a strainer. Avoid pressing or squeezing the coffee grounds, as that extracts the bitter flavors.
This recipe makes a fairly strong cup of joe. You can dilute it with more water to make it a little weaker; simply adjust up or down according to your taste. You can store the coffee concentrate in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Timesaving hack: Making batches of cold brew helps prepare you for a quick coffee fix whenever you're on-the-go.
DIY Cold Brew Coffee
Making your own cold brew coffee is so easy and your iced coffee will never taste watery or bitter again.
- 8 ounces whole coffee beans
- 8 cups (2 quarts) cold water
- Coffee grinder
- 2 (3-quart) jars or pitchers with lids
- Rubber band
- Grind the coffee beans on the coarsest setting on your grinder, or in short 1-second pulses in a spice grinder. The goal is a coarse grind about the size of demerara or raw sugar.
- Transfer the coffee grounds to the container you're using to make the cold brew. Pour the cold water over top. Stir gently with a longhandled spoon to make sure the grounds are thoroughly saturated with water. The coffee will float to the top as it sits, but that’s ok. It’s more important to make sure all of the coffee gets wet.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 18 hours or up to 24 hours.
- After steeping, line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a large measuring cup. Slowly pour the coffee concentrate through the strainer. Depending on the size of your strainer, you may need to strain the coffee in batches.
- Make your cup of joe. To serve, fill a glass with 1 cup ice cubes. Pour 1/2 cup the cold brew over the ice, add 1/2 cup cold water, and stir to combine. Add milk, creamer or sweetener to taste. Enjoy.