How to make cold brew coffee

It's HOT! Here's how to make cold brew coffee.

It's been damn hot this week! All this crazy weather has had me trying out a few different cold brew recipes (and consequently drinking too much coffee).

So here’s a great starting cold brew recipe for you to try at home.

What you’ll need;

  • Fresh coffee
  • A jug or french press
  • A fine strainer or filter papers 

Here’s my personal recipe from this week too, using the Kenya Gulmarg Honey process coffee;

  • 32.5g coffee coarsely ground (“Filter” setting on the Wilfa Svart home grinder).
  • Add 500ml of Yorkshire’s finest council pop.
  • Give it a little stir.
  • Leave out at room temp for 14 hours.
  • Strain through a V60 02.

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What is cold brew

So what makes cold brew so different from a “normal” brew? Heat!

Heat works as the catalyst in extracting all those lovely flavour compounds in coffee and applying that properly is what can sometimes cause a coffee to be too bitter if over-extracted (too much heat for too long) or taste sour and weak (not enough heat).

Whereas in cold brew coffee, we are letting the water do the work for us instead and this is where your grind setting and timing really come into play.

Grind

Firstly grind is very important with cold brew, just as it is with “hot” brewing, if we have our ground coffee too fine it can cause more bitter compounds to be extracted as the grounds have become more permeable to water. On the other side if we have the coffee way to coarse with big chunks of beans knocking about, we won't be able to extract much at all from that and will end up with very weak brown water.

But once you’ve got the grind setting down (again just slightly coarser than you would grind for French press), we can start to play with timing and this is how long we’re going to leave the coffee to extract. The longer we leave it the more compounds will be extracted from the coffee and different compounds can extract at different rates due to their solubility.

Timing

Personally I enjoy a shorter brew time of 12-14 hours at room temperature as I find it brings out all the lovely sweet notes along with the floral and fruity flavours I love in a cold brew, whilst minimising bitterness.

Some of you may enjoy increased bitterness in your cold brew though, the bitter compounds found in coffee usually take longer to extract than others so by leaving your cold brew to extract longer (18-24hrs), you can increase the extraction of the more bitter flavour notes and create a “stronger” tasting cold brew. If you are wanting to brew your coffee for the 18-24hr, I would always highly recommend doing this by leaving it covered and in the fridge, as the longer you leave the brew, the longer it has to oxidise and become stale in taste.