Cold brewing is not like pouring hot coffee on ice. Avoid these simple pitfalls and focus on the home of the precise, rocket-powered cold mix. Say it with us, people: Cold brew is not just hot coffee poured over ice. No, the expensive and surprisingly strong iced coffee that goes through our veins throughout the summer is an entirely different animal, made by slow-steeping coffee beans before straining them out. The outcome is dark and intense, often very bitter. While this is not rocket science, figuring out how to make a cold brew at home can be a little more complicated than just pouring water over a bunch of beans and just leaving it. Avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll have cold brew so good, you could charge $5 for a small one.
1. Use good quality beans
Although we do not argue for using year-old beans from the grocery store sales rack, it is a mistake to “waste” your super fresh, super high-end, single-source beans into a cold mix. But how old is too old? “You can still get quality batch cold brew with beans that are weeks old. I will not let them go too far (as in months), or you will start to notice some changes that can probably make you wonder whether it was originally coffee or something else. However, the brewing process is more forgiving when it comes to cold coffee,” said Michael Phillips, Blue Bottle training director.
2. Grind the beans too finely
Some methods, such as spreading, are called peanuts. But in the cold brew, you have to grind the beans coarsely, because you are steeping them for up to 12 hours. Phillips explained that coffee that over-extract is grounded finely. Overly extracted coffee is bitter coffee.
3. Using the wrong ratio
One pound of ground coffee beans per gallon of water is the basic principle for a cold brew. If you do not run a small cafe out of your kitchen (or plan to be productive), you do not need that much. A quarter-pound bean to four cups of water is a more home-made friendly ratio.
4. Freaking Out about the Water Temperature
Everyone calms down: even if you have heard it before, you can start the process upright with the temperature you find appropriate. The hot water preparation party starts, which is useful if you are busy – let me know if you start the batch at 10 pm. It would help if you had it by 6 am the next morning. Phillips explains that hot water highlights the different flavors of coffee, which leads to an interesting experiment if you are the scientific method type. However, if we’re talking about the classic, simple cup cold ingredient you need, start with room-temperature water.
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5. Not Diluting the Concentration
The ideal time is 24 hours, Phillips said. Be aware that will result in an intensely flavored (and caffeinated) coffee concentrate. When you are ready to drink, dilute it with water (adding cream or alt-milk will reduce the intensity). When made in a 1 pound: 1-gallon ratio, your cold brew contains twice as much caffeine as hot coffee. Phillips recommends cutting it 50/50 with water. It not only reduces your caffeine intake; it also reduces bitterness.
6. Storing in the Fridge for Too Long
After a few hours, unlike hot coffee, the cold brew is stored in your fridge. An undiluted concentrated one can be stored for up to two weeks, although the taste quality decreases after the first week. If you cut the water concentration, it will shorten the shelf life to just 2-3 days.