Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home
I don’t know about you, but I’m currently stuck at home because of a global pandemic. Since advice from professionals with a lot of isolation experience is to focus on what you can control, I’m writing this post to help you control the amount of cold brew coffee in your home. If you are reading this in a future time where you’re not stuck at home and just want to make cheap delicious coffee, this article is also for you.
There are many reasons to make cold brew. My reasons are because it is tasty, cheap, and very easy to make. You don’t even need any specialty equipment — you only need water, ground coffee beans and a clean container to put them in.
Cold brew is supposed to be less acidic than hot brewed coffee, which means it should be better for your teeth. Anecdotally, if I spill it on things, it doesn’t seem to stain them. Recent studies suggest that the science around the acids is actually a little more complicated, but since I only know some of the words in that article, I will stick to just describing how to make it.
You will need:
- Coffee. I start with fresh beans, but you could start with ground beans if you don’t have a grinder. I use around a cup, or 100 grams
- Cold water. I use around a litre
- Something to brew it in. I use a french press, but you could also use a saucepan, or anything really
For best results, you’ll also want some way of filtering the grounds out when it is brewed, and something to keep the coffee in after you’ve made it.
To start with, you will need a cup of beans. Depending on where you live, you may have a cafe or coffee roastery nearby that you can get takeaway or delivery from — please do support your local small businesses if you can.
Next, grind the beans. If you put them back in the cup, you will see that the coffee now takes up more space (pictured). This is an important observation if you were ever considering using your grinder to help you pack a suitcase. The picture above suggests that it will not help.
After that you will need some cold water:
I say cold, but I actually mean room temperature. I use water straight out of the tap. If you have a mountain stream nearby, I guess you could use that. If you live near the ocean, do not use seawater. It will taste terrible and be very bad for you.
Next, put the grounds on top of the water:
At this point I should disclose that I’m told by people who know more about coffee than I do that putting the ground beans in before the water is technically the better method. However, I can tell you that putting them in afterwards is definitely more fun.
Next, stir the water to mix the grind beans and water:
You may be wondering which part of the process is the most appropriate part to sing songs about stirring coffee. Fear not — I’ve predicted your question, and want you to know that this is the part of the process where it is most appropriate to sing songs about stirring coffee. Or you can just stir in silent contemplation. If you want.
The next step is to lick the stirring thing:
Pro tip: Do not lick the stirring thing. It is a bad idea and will not bring you exciting new experiences or fun adventures. I’m sorry I told you to do this.
Next, all you need to do is put the lid on it and wait for 12–24 hours. If you’re using a french press, you can take the filter part out so that you don’t have to plunge it immediately. Good places to put the coffee while waiting are the cupboard or the fridge. The fridge will result in a slower extraction and lighter brew (my coffee expert friend tells me not to put it in the fridge, but I like the lighter flavour).
I didn’t take a picture of this step, because my fridge is a mess. Why did I admit this to you, anonymous reader? I… don’t know.
So anyway, around 12–24 hours later, your coffee is ready to be filtered (or plunged) and decanted into another vessel for storage. The result will be pretty concentrated — you can have it over ice for a cold dilution, or add a bit of hot water if you want to have a quick hot coffee. For best results, keep it in the fridge — it will stay delicious for around a week, and drinkable for around two weeks.
I like to keep it in old whisky bottles, because it looks nice. Sometimes, you need to empty a bottle to put the finished cold-brew in: