Cold Brew Coffee Recipe
You know what I love? Coffee. You know where I live? San Antonio. It’s freaking hot here, most of the year. And while the heat rarely deters me from a piping hot Chemex full of coffee every morning, the prospect of spending 10 minutes making hot coffee in the afternoon can be a bit much when it’s already 98 degrees by the time you finish off the first cup. So my summertime go-to drink is cold brewed coffee.
I’ve experimented with a few different methods of making cold brew, and the one I’ve settled on finds the right mix of easy to make, and easy to clean up. The recipe is below.
As with all coffee, cold brew is about the ratio. For pour over coffee, I land somewhere between 15:1 and 17:1 water to coffee. For cold brew, since I’m making a concentrate, my ratio is 4.25:1. For a 340g (12oz) bag of coffee, that’s 1445g of water (6 cups, if you will). I prefer to use a scale and work in grams, but if you’re not quite ready to invest in the necessary equipment, 1 bag:6 cups works out pretty well. The total yield, once I finished draining and filtering, is right at a quart, too.
I’ve already alluded to some of the equipment necessary, but here’s my list:
- Kitchen scale. If it’s sensitive enough to measure in 10th or 100ths of grams, even better
- Coffee grinder. For cold brew, a $10 Mr. Coffee blade grinder works great. We want a rough, course grind for cold brew
- A big container. I use a big cold beverage pitcher
- Coffee filters. I use Chemex filters, since I have them, but any type will do
- A funnel. I use my Chemex, but a larger kitchen funnel works - especially if the coffee filter fits inside
- A kitchen strainer. The smaller the mesh, the better
- Another container to catch the final product. We’re making about a quart of the finished product, so a quart mason jar works well
- 12-24 hours of something else to do while you wait
The Brewing Recipe
- Ask yourself - what will I be doing in 12-24 hours? Nothing? Great. Let’s make some coffee. If you’re not able to spend 20 minutes finishing up the coffee in 12-24 hours, don’t start.
- Get your bag of beans and grind it up. Grind them on the most coarse setting available. If you’re buying from your local coffee shop or roaster, they’ll often be able to grind them for you. Just make sure they know to grind them as coarse as possible.
- Put the pitcher on the scale and tare it back to zero. Pour the beans into the pitcher - this might take a few times, depending on the size of your grinder. Make sure you either add up the total mass of the beans, or keep the scale changing to prevent it from turning off. Once all of the beans are in the pitcher, make a note of the total mass of the beans.
- Multiply that number by 4.25. Again, if you’re using a standard 12oz (340g) bag of beans, you’ll get 6 cups (1445g).
- Flatten a standard drip coffee machine filter into a disc shape, and place it on top of the coffee grounds. Zero the scale out again, and slowly pour the amount of water we determined in the previous step onto the filter. The filter will allow the water to flow through, but keep the grounds from rising too much. Once you have poured all of the water, put a lid on your pitcher, put the pitcher on the counter, and walk away.
- Spend the next 12 hours doing anything you want.
- Come back in 12-24 hours. (I usually try for 20 hours, but the fun is in the experimentation).
- Slowly pour the coffee through the kitchen strainer into another (obviously larger than the volume of coffee) vessel. This might need to be done in steps, depending on the size of your strainer. Let as much liquid drain out of the grounds as possible. This step will get rid of the largest particles, but we’ll filter it again to get rid of any smaller particulates and leave us with a very clean final product.
- Filter the coffee through the coffee filter - you might need more than one, if it gets clogged with the particulates - into your final storage vessel - you want something that can be sealed, to keep it fresh for up to 2 weeks. This is where I use a funnel and a standard coffee filter.
- Seal the container and put your coffee into the fridge.
Drinking Your Cold Brew
We’ve just made some very concentrated coffee. It will be strong, maybe too strong to drink straight. I like to enjoy my coffee on ice, and diluted 2:1. Remember, this is concentrated coffee, and we’re not just concentrating the flavor, we’re concentrating the caffeine, too. If you drink too much, you’ll probably not get any sleep for a few days.
You can also enjoy the coffee concentrate in other recipes. Try mixing half concentrate, half Coca Cola, for an “Office Cocktail.” Cold brew concentrate, a bit of lemonade, and a splash of sparkling water makes a delicious, refreshing summer afternoon drink. Or, you can pour some cold brew concentrate into a milkshake and get a little caffeine with your dessert.