What Is Cold Brew Coffee and Why You Should Know It


    Smooth and less bitter than drip coffee and iced coffee, cold brew is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.

    Sales have more than tripled since 2015, with sales expected to hit nearly $ 372 million this year and nearly $ 1 billion in 2025. That’s a lot of $ 4 coffee, the common price for a 20-ounce mug at Starbucks. A 40-ounce container of Stok cold brew coffee costs almost $ 5 at the grocery store.

    What is cold brew coffee? Is it really that different from iced coffee? How do people get so addicted to it? Sometimes it just takes the first Starbucks cold brew and they’re all in. It is that good.

    “It takes too long to drink hot coffee and there are so many ways it can go wrong. Cold brew is more consistent and I can drink it right away, ”said Susan O’Neil, project coordinator for the city of Chicago. “I’ve been drinking 20 to 40 ounces a day since I stopped drinking soda.”

    Pro tip

    With the majority of commercial cold brews sold in plastic containers, why add more plastic for the environment? Reduce waste and get better taste by making cold brew coffee at home.

    What’s different about cold brew coffee anyway?

    What is cold brew? It’s deceptively easy. Cold brew is coffee made from water and ground coffee. Instead of scalding it hot, a concentrate is made by soaking the soil in water for 8 or more hours. Then it is filtered and diluted with water or milk and enjoyed hot or cold. Coffee shops often use a 1: 4 ratio of concentrate to water.

    The charm of cold brew lies in the absence of acid. Not only does Cold Brew feel softer when you drink it, no acid means it’s less bitter and the other natural flavors are more pronounced. Cold Brew also makes added flavors really shine. Some coffee drinkers may find cold brew boring without the complexity of the acid.

    Does Cold Brew Coffee Have More Caffeine? It depends on who you ask. Coffee traders claim this is the case, but when you drill into the details, it often turns out that they are referring to the cold brew concentrate that is further diluted for the drink.

    Hot brewed coffee grounds have extracted more of everything from the heat: flavors, acidity, and caffeine. Cold brew doesn’t extract as much as all of these because the coffee to water ratio is higher. People drink larger servings of cold brew than hot coffee.

    Decaffeinated coffee drinkers don’t need to despair – you can make cold brew with decaffeinated coffee beans. It tastes much better than the aged hot decaf coffee poured over ice that you normally get in a store.

    How is cold brew coffee different from iced coffee?

    Iced coffee is hot, cooled coffee. It could have been brewed hours beforehand and then chilled or poured over ice to serve. Since it was hot brewed, all of the oils and acids in the coffee beans will be extracted and end up in the broth.

    Cold brew is more expensive to buy in a coffee house because it requires more attention. Calculating the right amount for the next day without running out too early takes trial and error.

    “We use a specific type of coffee for our cold brew (Vesuvio blend from Batdorf on Bronson),” says Teresa Vidal Chalkley, owner of The Chelsea St. Pete, a coffeehouse opening in St. Petersburg, Florida amid the pandemic became. “There’s a pound of coffee for a gallon of fine spring water with a little bit of minerals. Then we filter it with bamboo and fabric filters. “

    Check out our tips on how to have a good cup of joe at home and save money on coffee. Tip # 1: grind the beans yourself.

    Make cold brew at home

    Buying cold brew daily can cost more than $ 1,400 per year. If you enjoy having cold coffee and are good at planning, make yourself a cold brew concentrate at home and save 50 percent or more.

    You can make your own cold brew in a way that fits any budget. Go all out and buy an excellent coffee bean grinder, water filter, French press pot, and good quality coffee beans. This gear could cost you $ 250, even more if you go for top-notch gear.

    For example, before settling on a Fellow Clara $ 100 franc press, look around your house and see if you have a pint or a larger mason jar, some coffee filters, ground coffee, and water. That’s enough to get you started.

    This illustration shows a cold brew coffee and how to make it.
    Getty Images

    Three scenarios for cold brew at home

    We’ll give you three scenarios that will fit your budget so you can make cold brew coffee at home. There is a system for every budget and taste. Once you know how to do it, you can start creating your own recipes.

    Chalkley uses a pound in a gallon of coffee to make cold brew concentrate. You can play with the ratio to your liking. Cold brew can keep chilled for up to two weeks without losing any of its flavor. You don’t want to make a concentrate? Use 3 ounces, or about two and a half scoops, to a quart of water.

    (Almost) no budget

    The absolutely cheapest way to make cold brew is by using things you have around the house. No cold brew maker is required. You will need a jar with a lid (ideally a well-cleaned jar with mason or spaghetti sauce), coffee filters, a sieve, ground coffee and of course water. The basic cold brew ratio is 1: 4, or 1 part coffee to 4 parts water. It is not necessary to use cold water, but filtered water is fine.

    Use coarsely ground coffee beans (most grocery stores have a grinder there). Pour your coffee into the glass, add the water and shake it well. You can either keep it cool or leave it out. Let it steep for at least eight hours.

    When enough time has passed, place a coffee filter in the strainer and place it over a wide-necked glass or glass. Let the coffee filter through slowly (press it gently if it takes too long). Season to taste and add more water if it is too strong.

    Costs: $ 388 for coffee and filters for one year.

    Medium budget

    Filtering the coffee is the least fun part of making cold brew coffee. Using a french press removes most of the anxiety. Not only does the French Press make it easier to clean the coffee grounds, but you can also make a cold brew concentrate that will last for several days. A French press can cost $ 10 to $ 40. Make sure you buy one that contains at least 20 ounces.

    There are numerous devices specifically designed for cold brew coffee. The toddy (so named by Todd Simpson, who first popularized cold brew coffee in the U.S. in the 1960s.) Starts at around $ 40. Systems similar to the $ 18 Primula Burke come with unscrewable bottoms, making it easier to empty out the coffee grounds.

    If you freshly grind your beans for each batch of cold brew coffee, you will get a lighter, tastier coffee. Coffee grinders cost from 16 to hundreds of dollars. Using filtered water also helps make a more delicious cup.

    Experts do not recommend using expensive coffee beans for cold brew coffee. This is not the time to break out of the Kona. However, using decent coffee beans will only make your morning coffee better.

    Costs: $ 500 to $ 780 per year (including equipment)

    money does not matter

    “Coffee tastes better in coffeeshops like ours because we have better equipment,” says Chalkley of The Chelsea St. Pete. You can also have a superior cold brew system at home with Toddy’s Pro Series for $ 500.

    If you need your Cold Brew NOW, look for the Cuisinart Cold Brew Coffee Machine that promises cold brew coffee in 25 to 40 minutes by shaking the grounds out. The retail price is around $ 200, but you can find it online at half the price on Amazon and other retailers.

    Costs: $ 1,020 for a year (not much less than buying in a coffee shop).

    In this illustration, a man is making cold brew coffee.
    Getty Images

    5 tips for making cold brew coffee at home

    1. If you are using a French press, first put the coffee grounds in a glass and shake them well. Then pour into the French press. It’s less messy.

    2. You don’t need to use cold water. Room temperature water is fine. It is better to use filtered water.

    3. Let the mixture sit open for a few minutes to allow naturally occurring gases to escape.

    4. Get creative with your cold brew concentrate! Add a cinnamon stick, chilli pepper, or other flavoring to the water part while it soaks.

    5. Add hot water to your cold brew concentrate for a smooth hot beverage with a 1: 3 ratio of concentrate to water.

    Penny Hoarder author JoEllen Schilke writes on lifestyle and cultural topics. She is the former owner of a coffee shop in St. Petersburg, Florida, and has an art exhibition on WMNF Community radio for almost 30 years.


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