How to prepare cold brew coffee

For those who do not know, cold brew consists of a cold infusion where the coffee is extracted with cold water or at room temperature.

This type of beverage is very popular both in coffee shops and to prepare at home since it is super easy to make and is a very good option for the summer.

There are many opinions about cold brew and different ways to prepare it, so here we will see everything you need to know to find the best option that suits your taste.

How is coffee extracted in a cold brew?

To prepare cold brews, we must first understand what coffee extraction consists of.

The extraction is the method with which we dissolve flavors and other components of the roasted and ground coffee, where these components directly impact the flavor and aroma of the coffee.

For example, some of these are:

  1. Caffeine: which produces bitterness.
  2. Acids: which produce sweet, sour, and acidic flavors.
  3. Lipids: which produce viscosity.
  4. Sugars: which add sweetness and viscosity.
  5. Carbohydrates: which produce viscosity and bitterness.

By controlling how we extract these components, we have more control over the final profile of the cup. And how do we control these components?

Some of the factors that determine the components of coffee we cannot control, such as the genetic characteristics of the coffee and its processing.

By regulating variables such as the grind’s size, the water’s temperature, the method, and the time of extraction, we can adjust the final profile (it must be taken into account that modifying one variable’s impact on the others).

Grind, temperature, and time settings
Grind, temperature, and time settings

In the case of cold brew, cold water is used, and for the extraction to occur, it must be left to infuse for many hours.

In the world of quality coffee, cold brew has a bad reputation because it generally lacks two desirable characteristics: acidity and complexity. These two characteristics can only be extracted with high water temperatures.

When we use cold water, the final coffee tends to be sweet and round, without showing the characteristics of the origin of the bean, which is why one buys a quality coffee.

What is the perfect ratio for Cold Brew? My ideal recipe

This article will show you how I prepare cold brew in a French press, which most people have in their homes. If you don’t have a French press, you can make it in any container and filter it with paper, cloth, or a shifter.

  • Coffee beans: 50 grams.
  • Type of grind: Medium / coarse (texture of breadcrumbs or coarse sand).
  • Filtered water: 500 grams.
  • Water temperature: Ambient
Weigh the coffee beans on a balance scale
Weigh the coffee beans on a balance scale

As we always say, use a scale to perfectly measure the amounts of coffee and water, which should follow a 1:10 ratio. For each gram of coffee, we will use 10 grams of water. With this, we will obtain a cold brew ready to drink on its own.

If you want to add something else like milk, soda, or something else, you can prepare a concentrated cold brew with a ratio of 1:5, that is to say, for the 50 grams of coffee we would need.

You can use 250 grams of water with 50 grams of coffee. To drink it, you use a part of this concentrate and another part of milk or whatever you want to add, so ideally, you should know how you will drink it before preparing it.

Use the correct grind in the preparation of cold brew coffee

The grind we will use is the same as the one we use in the French press, a medium/coarse grind with a texture similar to breadcrumbs or coarse sand.

I recommend a coffee with a medium roast or perhaps with a natural process to accentuate the final sweetness of the cold brew.

Preparation of the cold brew coffee step by step

  • We place the 50 grams of freshly ground coffee in the French press on the scale.
  • We added 500 grams of filtered water at room temperature with the scale at zero.
  • We make sure to saturate all the coffee while pouring the water.
  • Stir just a little and cover the press without lowering the plunger.
  • We take it to the refrigerator for 16 hours.
Add 500 grams of water at room temperature
Add 500 grams of water at room temperature

Some recipes recommend infusion at room temperature, but we must consider that room temperature is not stable, especially if we prepare it from one day to the next.

The temperature drops significantly at night and rises during the day. Since the water temperature is higher than in the refrigerator, the extraction happens faster, so I recommend leaving it for 8 to 10 hours maximum.

If you have the option of being able to leave it in the refrigerator, I recommend it much more. With this traditional recipe, we obtain a sweet coffee with a medium body, round, and easy to drink.

Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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