It’s finally above freezing 50% of the time, at least here in WNC. As far as I am concerned, that means it’s cold brew season. Who doesn’t love the robust flavor and silky texture of a fresh cold brew coffee, maybe with a splash of cream?? Not only does cold brew taste delicious, it has more caffeine than hot brewed coffee and so I get an extra energy boost!
What I do not love, however, is the price. True cold brew can be anywhere from $3-$5, or more. Why not make it at home- your coffee will be accessible anytime and you can adjust the strength and sweetness to your liking. It’s easy and cheap, and here’s how!
You don’t really need any special equipment. For the most basic set up, a coffee grinder, mason jar and some coffee filters/sieve will do the trick. However, I like minimal effort (notice a trend here???). So, I splurged and paid the $25 for the CoffeeSock. I have the 64oz size and it comes with a re-usable cotton filter. If you go the coffee filter/sieve route, you have to filter out grounds and per usual, I cut out unnecessary steps whenever possible.
As far as the grinder, any old one will do. That being said, we make a LOT of french press and a latte here and there, so we wanted a good quality, long lasting grinder. We splurged big time and purchased the Breville Smart Grinder. It grinds consistently and precisely, with course to fine grind settings.
Of course, if you use crappy coffee, your cold brew will probably turn out crappy. However, I usually use a good but not great brand of coffee (I like Trader Joe’s or Wholefoods brand). The slow cold brew method decreases the acidity and bitterness inherently found in coffee, so even middle of the road beans are more palatable when brewed this way. Plus, you are using a large quantity of beans, so if the coffee is a little more economical, that’s a plus.
Making cold brew takes about 2 minutes of active time but 12 hours of passive time. I recommend setting up the brew the night before, so your coffee is ready to go in the morning.
- The generally accepted ratio is 3/4 cup ground coffee to 4 cups water (on my grinder that is a setting of 8 cups of coffee). Grind the beans on the coarsest setting available.
- If using a CoffeeSock, place your sock in the mason jar and add the coffee (if no sock, then straight into the jar). Then slowly pour about half of the water in the center of the sock and allow to “bloom”. Add the rest of the water. Tie up the sock using the plastic ring (take a look at their website, the video does a better job of explaining). Screw on the lid and place the jar in the fridge overnight or at least 12 hours. If you are going sans sock, you must first pour the coffee over a large coffee filter placed in a sieve to remove all of the grounds prior to use.
- After steeping, this is now a concentrate. Add ice (if desired) and dilute the coffee to your preferred strength using water, milk/cream (including non-dairy alternatives) or a combination. If you want to add a little more sweetness, I recommend using a splash of simple or agave syrup, as it will dissolve easier than granular sugar.
I sometimes remember to remove my sock the first morning, and this is probably best. When the grounds sit for a long period of time, it can start tasting stale. I usually go through my coffee within 2-3 days, but it can keep up to a week. Coffee grounds are great additions to your compost, but I would not recommend putting them through a garbage disposal.
As you can see, this is a fast, low effort way to enjoy cold brew at home and on the go. Welcome to the season!!