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How to Cold Brew Coffee: Beginners Guide to Cold Brew

Enjoying coffee at a Picnic next to river with a french press in the foreground

Cold brew coffee has become a popular choice for coffee lovers looking for a smooth, refreshing alternative to traditional hot-brewed coffee. Cold brew coffee is a method of brewing coffee that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours.

Below Planetary Design breaks down everything you need to know about how to cold brew coffee.

Cold brew coffee and regular coffee are made from the same type of coffee beans, but the brewing process is different.

Regular coffee is made by brewing ground coffee beans with hot water. The brewing process is much faster than cold brew, typically taking just a few minutes. Regular coffee is generally stronger and more acidic than cold brew.

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period. The resulting brew is a concentrated coffee that is smooth and less acidic than regular coffee.

Both cold brew and regular coffee can be served hot or over ice and can be flavored with milk, creamer, sugar, or other sweeteners to taste. However, because of the differences in the brewing process, cold brew and regular coffee have different flavors and characteristics. Cold brew is typically smoother and less acidic, while regular coffee is stronger and more robust. 

Is Cold Brew Healthier Than Regular Coffee?

There is no definitive answer to whether cold brew coffee is healthier than regular coffee, as it depends on various factors such as the type and quality of the beans used, the brewing method, and how the coffee is prepared and consumed.

One potential advantage of cold brew coffee is that it may be less acidic than regular coffee. Some people find that cold brew coffee is easier on their digestive system and causes less heartburn or acid reflux. However, this is not true for everyone, and the acidity of coffee can vary depending on the type of beans and the brewing method used.

Cold brew coffee is also generally lower in caffeine than regular coffee, as the longer brewing time results in less caffeine being extracted from the beans. However, the caffeine content of cold brew can still vary depending on the type and amount of beans used, as well as the strength of the brew.

It’s also worth noting that coffee, whether cold brew or regular, can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. However, adding sugar, cream, or other high-calorie ingredients to your coffee can increase its caloric content and potentially negate any potential health benefits.

In general, it’s a good idea to choose high-quality beans and brewing methods to get the most flavor and potential health benefits. If you have any concerns about the health effects of coffee, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional.

Can You Brew Regular Coffee for Cold Brew Coffee?

Yes, it is possible to use regular coffee beans to make cold brew coffee. To make cold brew coffee using regular coffee beans, you can follow the same basic recipe as for any other type of coffee beans.

You can adjust the ratio of coffee to water to suit your taste, and you can also experiment with different types of beans to see how they affect the flavor of the cold brew, although lighter roasts are typically used for cold brew coffee.

Is Cold Brew the Strongest Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is generally not considered to be the strongest type of coffee, as it is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period rather than using hot water to extract flavors and caffeine from the beans. The long-brewing time and lower water temperature result in a coffee that is smooth, naturally sweet, and less acidic than coffee made with hot water.

The strength of cold brew coffee is determined by the ratio of coffee to water used in the brewing process. A higher ratio of coffee to water will result in a stronger brew, while a lower ratio will produce a weaker brew. You can adjust the ratio to suit your personal preference.

It is also worth noting that the strength of cold brew coffee can vary depending on the type of beans used. Some types of beans are naturally higher in caffeine than others, so using a bean with a higher caffeine content can result in a stronger cold brew.

Best Ratio for Cold Brew Coffee?

The best ratio for cold brew coffee will depend on a couple of things: your personal taste, the type of beans you are using, the method, and the coffee maker. In general, a good starting point for traditional methods of cold brew coffee is a ratio of 1:8, meaning 1 part coffee to 8 parts water. This will yield a strong, full-bodied cold brew that is well-balanced and not too acidic. If using a french press, a 1:16 ratio is recommended. You can adjust the ratio to suit your preferences. For a stronger cold brew, you can use a higher ratio of coffee to water, such as 1:6 or 1:4. For a weaker cold brew, you can use a lower ratio, such as 1:10 or 1:12. To determine the best ratio for your taste, you can start with the recommended ratio of 1:8 and then adjust up or down as needed until you find the perfect strength for you. Don't want to experiment? We will tell you exactly what ratios and everything else you need to know with specific methods and coffee makers below!

Different Ways to Make Cold Brew Coffee?

If you’re new to cold brew coffee, or if you’re looking to try different methods of making it, here are a few different ways to make cold brew coffee at home:

The Traditional Method

  • The traditional method involves brewing the coffee in a jar or pitcher with cold water, then steeping it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. This method produces a smooth, mellow flavor and is perfect for those who prefer a less acidic, less bitter coffee.

The Immersion Method

  • The immersion method involves brewing the coffee in a French press. To do this, simply add coarsely ground coffee beans to the French press, add cold water, and let the mixture steep for at least 12 hours. Once the coffee has finished steeping, press down on the plunger to separate the grounds from the liquid. This method produces a full-bodied, robust flavor and is perfect for those who prefer a stronger, more intense coffee.

The Slow Drip Method

  • The slow-drip method involves brewing the coffee using a slow-drip coffee maker. To do this, add coarsely ground coffee beans to the top chamber of the coffee maker, add cold water to the bottom chamber, and let the coffee brew slowly over several hours. This method produces a balanced, smooth flavor and is perfect for those who prefer a more nuanced, complex coffee.

No matter which method you choose, cold brew coffee is a delicious and refreshing alternative to traditional hot-brewed coffee. Give one of these methods a try and see for yourself just how tasty and versatile cold brew coffee can be.

Best Ways to Brew Cold Coffee

There are many coffee devices and products to make a delicious cup of cold brew coffee. We have listed our favorite cold brew coffee makers for each method below:

The Traditional Method | Rumble Jar: Quart size (32oz), includes Mason jar

cold brew coffee - Planetary Design

The Rumble Jar is a device specifically designed for making cold brew coffee at home. It is a jar with a built-in filter that allows you to brew coffee using the traditional method of steeping ground coffee in cold water for an extended period.

You’ll need coarsely ground coffee beans and cold water to use a Rumble Jar:

  1. Simply add the coarsely ground coffee beans into the stainless steel filter.
  2. Fill up to one of the notches – the less coffee you put in, the less strong your brew will be.
  3. Seal the filter with the silicone cap and place it in the mason jar.
  4. Now comes the fun part now. Fill the mason jar with lukewarm or cold water and get your rumble on. Well, it isn’t so much of a rumble, but you’ll rotate the jar horizontally two times (please do not shake vigorously).
  5. Now time to let it steep. If leaving it at room temperature, let it steep for 8-12 hours. If in the refrigerator, let it steep for 16-24 hours.
  6. Remove the filter, dispense the grounds in your compost bin, give the cap and filter a rinse, and enjoy your cold brew coffee.

The Rumble Jar is convenient, fun, and easy to use. It’s a great option for beginners and one of the best ways to make cold brew at home.

The Immersion Method | The OVRLNDR® Travel Press by BruTrek®

Our OVRLNDR® Travel French Press is an easy-to-clean, durable french press that excels in the outdoors but can be used at home as well. It’s a double-wall vacuum-insulated, stainless steel french press that brews 24 fl. oz. of coffee. The OVRLNDR® can make excellent hot and cold brew coffee, so it’s the perfect option for those who want one product that can do it all. 

  1. Like most cold brew methods, we recommend using coarsely ground coffee beans with the french press.
  2. The standard coffee-to-water ratio for french press is 1:16. This means we will use 44 grams of coarse grounds and around 709 grams, or 24 fl. oz., of cold water.
  3. Mix these and throw the OVRLNDR® Travel Press into your fridge with the lid on and plunger up, or no lid on, for 12 hours.
  4. When it’s time up, pull the french press out of the refrigerator, push the plunger down, and enjoy your cold brew coffee.

The OVRLDNR® Travel Press has some nifty features. One of them is the Bru-Stop™ Plate which separates the coffee grounds from the water and prevents over-extraction, a common issue with immersion cold brewing. This plate doesn’t allow any coffee grounds to seep into your brew, meaning you can make cold brew coffee with this french press and drink straight out of it too!

The OVRLNDR® also has a removable bottom, so when you’re done sipping your cold brew, cleanup is as easy as twisting off the bottom and dispensing the grounds. A french press that can make hot and cold brew coffee and doesn’t require paper filters makes the OVRLNDR® French Press a versatile, eco-friendly option.

ovrlndr cold brew - Planetary Design

Slow Drip Method | Cold Bruer Drip Coffee Maker

Slow drip coffee makers, which have gained popularity in Japan, involve a process in which cold water is slowly dripped over coffee grounds and filtered through a filter. Because the coffee never sits in the water for an extended period, there is less extraction, resulting in a milder flavor. Additionally, the slow drip brewer handles the filtering process automatically.

This method of brewing coffee has been praised for its delicate and nuanced flavor profile. While slow drip coffee makers can seem daunting, the Bruer Cold Drip Coffee Maker is a simple coffee maker with everything you need and nothing you don’t to make a great cup of cold brew.

  1. We’ll start with assembling the filter into the silicone ring, making sure the finer mesh is facing up.
  2. Attach the filter to the bottom of the vessel and add 60g of coarsely ground coffee.
  3. Give the Bruer a little shake to ensure the coffee grounds are level so you can place a paper filter on top of the coffee bed.
  4. Once this is done, pre-wet the coffee with about two fl. ounces of water to evenly soak the grounds.
  5. Insert the valve (pro tip: wet the lip of the seal to help it slide easier) and pour 24 fl. oz. of an ice and water mixture (half water – half ice) into the vessel.
  6. Set the drip rate to your desired rate. We found a drip per second yielded the best results.
  7. Place the Bruer in the refrigerator and wait anywhere from 4-12 hours, depending on your chosen drip rate.

There are many elaborate slow drip coffee makers out there, but the simplicity of the Bruer makes it our choice. It can be a little more intensive to clean than the previous two options and does require paper filters, but its user-friendly design and ease of use make up for it.

Additionally, the vessel is made of borosilicate glass which is more durable and sustainable than traditional glass, which is a huge plus! Borosilicate glass has temperature-retention qualities meaning it’ll keep your coffee cold on a hot day, and it has an elegant look so you can show off your Bruer on your kitchen counter when not in use. 

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home With Household Objects?

If you are eager and can’t wait for your cold brew coffee maker to get to your doorstep or enjoy DIY methods, here are some common household objects you can use to make cold brew coffee at home:

  1. Large jar or pitcher – This can be used to mix the ground coffee and water, and to store the cold brew concentrate in the refrigerator.
  2. Fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth – These can be used to strain the coffee grounds from the cold brew concentrate.
  3. Wooden spoon or spatula – These can be used to stir the ground coffee and water together and to scrape the sides of the jar or pitcher when straining the cold brew.
  4. Funnel – This can help pour the cold brew concentrate into a clean jar or pitcher without spilling.
  5. Coffee filter – If you don’t have a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, you can use a coffee filter to strain the cold brew. Simply place the filter in a funnel and pour the cold brew concentrate through it.

What Can You Add to Cold Brew Coffee?

There are many things that you can add to your cold brew coffee to add flavor and taste. Some popular options include:

  1. Milk or cream: Adding a splash of milk or cream to your cold brew coffee can add richness and depth of flavor. You can use whole milk, skim milk, or a non-dairy milk alternative such as almond milk or oat milk.
  2. Sweeteners: Adding a sweetener such as sugar, honey, or agave syrup can help to balance out the natural acidity of the coffee and add a touch of sweetness.
  3. Flavorings: You can add a variety of flavorings to your cold brew coffee to add depth and complexity. Some popular options include vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, or chocolate syrup.
  4. Spices: You can also try adding spices such as cardamom, cloves, or allspice to your cold brew coffee for a unique and aromatic twist.
  5. Citrus: Adding a squeeze of lemon or orange juice to your cold brew coffee can add a bright and refreshing citrus note.

Remember to start with small amounts of any added ingredients and adjust to your taste. Enjoy experimenting with different combinations to find your perfect cold brew coffee!

Cold brew coffee is a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy coffee. It is easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients, or you can get fancy with different methods and coffee makers – it’s up to you.

brew coffee - Planetary Design

Cold brew coffee is a great way to experiment with different types of beans and brewing ratios to find the perfect strength and flavor profile for your taste. It is also a fun and easy way to try new brewing methods and techniques and discover new and exciting flavors in your coffee.

Whether you are a coffee aficionado or just looking for a new and delicious way to enjoy your morning cup of joe, cold brew coffee is a great option to explore. Contact Us to see how Planetary Design can provide the best cold brew coffee maker options for you!

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