Best way to make Cold Brew Coffee – from behind the Barista’s counter

Cold Brew Coffee has grown in popularity over the years as consumers explore different types of brewing methods to satisfy their tastes. There are number of cold brew methods including press and nitro infused. However, I’m going to look at the traditional method today.  

We will have a look at a few things today including, cold brew coffee ratio, best grind for cold brew coffee and preferred coffee beans for cold brew.

What’s with Cold Brew Coffee?

Most customers have all had coffee brewed with hot water. Whether its espresso, Stovetop, percolator or french press (also known as plunger coffee). However, many keep asking me, what’s the big deal with cold brew coffee? Do you heat it up? Do you add milk? The questions keep coming.

In short, the cold brew method is another brewing method that uses cold water only, which brings out different characteristics of the coffee. Because the coffee has a longer brewing time and is using cold water, it brings out a lighter, fresh mouth feel and is quite refreshing, especially in the summer months. Typically, people drink it straight out of the bottle or poured over ice. Some prefer to add a splash of cold milk to it, just to take the edge off.

How to brew cold brew coffee.

Firstly we need to establish what type of grind we use for cold brew. Ideally, it is the same grind consistency you would find for a drip filter coffee, which is in between espresso and plunger coffee. The picture here shows it to give you more of an idea. Ideal grind consistency

The ratio of the coffee grind to water is another important matter. Usually this is to taste, however you need to ensure that you do not exceed the water ratio too much as it will take away from the essence of the brew. Typically, in my business I am using 80 grams of coffee to 600ml of water. Some of this water will remain in the grind upon the completion of the brewing process, so you will probably end up with around 570ml.

There are different types of cold brew makers out in the market, but the one you see pictured here is the one I use in store. They all do the same thing, some just look a little more fancy than others! Basically though the water sits in a vessel on the top, the grind sits in another vessel under it and the water passes through over a 5-hour period to the last vessel on the bottom.

With regard to the vessel holding the grind, typically there is a metal filter at the bottom of the vessel. The grind is then poured on top. We then gently, rest a heavy tamper on top just to level it out and ensure it is packed not too tight but also ensuring there are no major air-holes. Once this is done, we add a paper filter on top. The paper filter aids the water to pass through the entire vessel holding the grind, rather than just making a bee-line for the bottom.

Most cold brew makers have a valve on the vessel holding the water. This gives the ability to speed up or slow down the drips.

All you need to do now is let gravity do its work and just keep an eye on the vessel holding the coffee grind to ensure the water does not overflow.

What are the best coffee beans for cold brew?

Although I love a portion of Robusta in my espresso blends, from the experiments I have conducted in brewing units, the best blends to use are 100% Arabica. I typically go for blends that have Guatemalan and Colombian in them as they are quite smooth whilst being full-bodied.

If you wish to brew Single Origin coffees, I again would use if for the first time a Guatemalan or Colombian and then try different ones from there. Another great Single Origin to use in cold brew coffee are Hawaiian beans as they are exceptionally smooth and not over powering. For those that like the real exotics with lots of fruits and great acidity, you would be leaning towards a Costa Rican, PNG or Kenyan AA.

Brewing it at Home?

You don’t have to be a Barista to enjoy making and drinking cold brew coffee. There are many affordable cold brew coffee makers out on the market. Probably the most popular one is the Toddy Cold Brew System. Comes complete with all you require (other than your favourite coffee!) as well as instructions.

Enjoy it anyway you like!

Coffee like wine is very subjective. Ideally is comes down to personal taste. So experiment in the making and consumption of your cold brew. Whether you have it black, on ice, with a splash of milk or even in a recipe in cooking, the versatility of cold brew coffee is endless.

 

Water valve for optimal flow

Staring down onto the filter covering the coffee grind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Replies to “Best way to make Cold Brew Coffee – from behind the Barista’s counter”

  1. I normally drink tea unless it is ground coffee but recently my daughter bought a coffee machine with those pods and I started drinking cold coffee which, to be honest, I was extremely surprised at just how good it tasted, but I guess, as you mentioned this is all down to the type of bean that is used. My wife is the coffee drinker but I will certainly be taking your advice on which coffee beans to use. Thanks for sharing and explaining “Cold Coffee Brewing” which I’d not heard of before.

    1. Thanks Mick, it’s great to explore new alternatives and the cold brew coffee is likened to tea with the properties it brings out in the brewing method.

  2. Hey Matt! What a cool article. I’ve been drinking tea for a long time but switched to drinking more coffee lately (guess that’s something becoming a full-time software developer comes with 🙂 ) – Now this really made me curious. I don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, but I haven’t had the chance to try out cold brewed coffee yet. But I really like the idea.

    Now that you pointed out what coffee I need, what kind of “hardware” do I need to brew the coffee? Is there a special “cold brew coffee machine” you suggest? Is there something like that at all? 🙂

    Thanks,
    chris

    1. Chris, Thanks for stopping by. In regards to the apparatus, it all depends what country you live in. I will certainly do a little more research for places like US & UK but in Australia, I source my apparatus from Dolo Enterprises. Cheers Matt

    2. Chris, I’ve updated my article on the Cold Brew Coffee Maker. Most of my experiences have been around making it my espresso bar, however I have a number of customers who make it at home and have reflected on the “hardware” in my post. Thanks again for your interest! Cheers Matt

  3. Hey great article my friends have been talking about cold brew coffee for a while now and I haven’t had any answers for them. But after reading your article I can finally recommend what type of coffee and what type of machine to buy. This has been a very educational read for me on a favorite subject, coffee, can’t wait to see them again next week.
    Thanks,
    JesusB

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