Cold Brew Coffee: Summer Refreshment, Or Year-Round Staple?

When a cup of coffee gets cold, it is gross. But what about cold brew coffee? Shouldn’t it also deal with a lot of rejections? Wrong. In reality, cold brew coffee is delicious and flavorful. …

Cold Brew Coffee: Summer Refreshment, Or Year-Round Staple Cover Image

When a cup of coffee gets cold, it is gross. But what about cold brew coffee? Shouldn’t it also deal with a lot of rejections? Wrong.

In reality, cold brew coffee is delicious and flavorful. It is more popular than a hot cup of coffee. Cold-brew coffee can perform miracles on a hot summer day.

Making this delicious summer refreshment is straightforward. No ninja skills or fancy equipment is needed. Cold brew coffee is smoother, less bitter, and less acidic than iced coffee. Want to learn more? Read along!

What Is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is one of the favorites among coffee drinkers. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, let’s get you started.

A cold brew coffee is a suitable summer-time drink that you steep overnight. You can enjoy this coffee concentrate with milk or cold water in the morning.

The result is a delicious, sweet, smooth, and super refreshing cup of joe. In addition, cold brew coffee is perfect for busy mornings; since you get a ready-made cup of coffee every morning effortlessly, it is more affordable than having a cup of coffee from coffee shops.

What if cold coffee is not what you want right now? It is perfectly possible to heat the cold-brewed coffee as well. You can enjoy a cup of hot coffee with the flavors of cold brew coffee.

Aren’t Cold Brew Coffee And Iced Coffee The Same Thing?

It’s easy to get confused and think they’re the same thing because they’re both “cold.” But seriously, what is the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

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Though they both have a similar concept, both cold brew coffee and iced coffee have distinctive characteristics that make them unique.

  • Cold coffee is made with room temperature water, whereas iced coffee is hot coffee poured over ice. Compared to regular coffee that is later iced, cold coffee is never heated.
  • Cold coffee is steeped for at least half a day. You can make iced coffee even with instant coffee.
  • Coffee concentration on the cold brew is adjustable, but for iced coffee, you need to adjust the strength when making the initial coffee.
  • Cold brew is less acidic, with a mellow taste. The taste of iced coffee depends on the coffee put through the ice but is usually more acidic and bitter.
  • You can turn a cold brew coffee into iced coffee by just pouring it over ice, and it’ll taste the same, however, if you lower it to room temperature like a cold brew after you already once before, iced coffee loses some of its taste integrity due to heat level fluctuations.

Taste and Flavor Profile

Cold brew coffee is less bitter and less acidic than a cup of hot coffee. In addition, the coffee tastes a lot sweeter and rounded because it uses cold water to infuse with the coffee grounds.

Heavy flavors like chocolate and nutty are prominent, though distinct aromas and flavors are muted or less intense.

As a result, identifying different aromas becomes difficult. Add milk or sugar to taste to boost the flavors of the cold brew coffee.

Caffeine Level

Caffeine content level in cold brew coffee is almost similar to a hot cup of coffee, sometimes even higher. The higher count comes in when the coffee is steeped too long and allows over-extraction of coffee flavor to mix it into the water.

If you are looking for a low caffeine cold alternative for your coffee drinks, iced coffee is the way to go.


Two simple ingredients to make cold brew coffee are coffee and water. To be precise, you need around 100 grams of whole coffee beans and about 900 grams/4 cups of water. Yet, there are a bunch of question clouds floating over your head as you read, such as

  • What is the best coffee bean for cold brew?
  • Which roast should I buy?
  • How should the water be?
  • What is the best ratio for cold brew coffee?
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Let’s answer all of them right now.

Bean Variety

There is no exact rule for choosing the bean type—any variety of bean work. The Arabica bean is less bitter and of superior quality to the Robusta.

But in this case, even the Robusta beans give a delicious cup of cold brew coffee since the final cup is bitter less for steeping in cold water.

Grind Size

A coarsely ground coffee works best for cold brew coffee. However, finely ground or powdery-sand-like ground creates an over-extracted muddy and gritty coffee. In addition, these grounds are difficult to filter out of the final cup since they pass through the filtering cloth.

Therefore, make sure that your ground coffee is coarse like cornmeal. A coarser ground will also avoid your coffee getting bitter.

Roast Profile

The best thing about cold brew is adjusting it with the flavor preference. Choose the degree of roasting according to your preferred flavor. A lighter roast is for you who love a mild taste. For those who prefer a more robust flavor, go for darkly roasted coffee.

I would recommend starting with trying a darker roast for cold brew coffee. Coldwater cannot extract aromas and flavors as efficiently as hot water does. As a result, the flavors of lighter roasts may feel muted sometimes.


Plain water at room temperature works well. However, to enjoy the optimum clean and sweet flavor in your cup, use filtered water.

Any contaminants present in the water may interfere with the taste of coffee. Using bottled water is a stable solution to this issue.

Cold Brew Coffee to Water Ratio

Cold brew coffee is a concentrated liquid that needs to be diluted before sipping. Therefore, the coffee to water ratio is flexible during steeping. You need to add milk or water to attain the desired concentration once finished steeping.

In general, 1-ounce coffee ground per cup of water does the job. If you are wondering, 1 ounce is 28 grams in the metric system. Coffee grounds will absorb some water but will get crossed out while adding the diluting liquid. The ratio of coffee to water is always kept higher.

The cold-brew concentrate is highly caffeinated. Never drink it straight down.

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Instead, add an equal amount of water as you added for steeping. The final brew will have almost double that of the initial one.

Want a fantastic tip? You can store the cold-brew concentrate in the fridge. Then, take out this delicious brew and dilute it just before drinking. It’s that easy!

Having fun Nomies? Check out our piece on regular coffee vs organic coffee.


The standard equipment you need is a grinder and a refrigerator. The grinder is for grinding beans, and the fridge stores the cold-brew concentrate.

Fun fact, the brewing method is up to your preference. According to your preferred preparation method, the need for a brewer will change. For now, let’s focus on the grinder and refrigerator.


When grinding beans at home, make sure to set the grinder at its coarsest. With a small grinder, you should grind in batches.

While using a home spice grinder, be careful to choose the correct speed. For example, it is best to set the grinder at 1-second pulses.

You know that the ground is ready when it resembles the size of raw sugar. There is nothing to worry about if you do not own a grinder.

Use the big grinders at the grocery stores and choose the coarser grinding option.


You may wish to use a fridge for the steeping purpose. It also comes in handy if you don’t want to drink all the coffee at once. Store it right away as soon as you are ready with a cold brew concentrate.

This way, it stays fresh. Take what you need out of the fridge before storing the rest back again.

You can enjoy it for up to 2 weeks. After that, you can add sugar to the entire batch if you have a sweet tooth, but never dilute liquid as the whole if you wish to store it later.

Diluting makes it vulnerable to microbial attacks and shortens the shelf life.

Preparation Method

You already know the “3S” of the general preparation method.

  • Steep
  • Strain
  • Serve
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In simple words, steep coffee overnight, strain it the following day, and serve with dilution.

There are three brewing techniques to choose from

  • Cold-brew using a jar and a strainer with cheesecloth
  • French press
  • Cold brew coffee maker

Beware that a French press is for small batches. Instead, buy a cold brew machine if you are a serious cold brew coffee lover, which allows you to brew in big batches.


Take a large mason jar or pitcher. Place the required amount of coffee and water in the pot and stir to mix. For the French press, add the coffee and water mixture to it. Push the plunger a little down, not to the bottom. Put the lip on and wait.

In both cases, leave the coffee mixture for 12-24 hours. The coffee steep time depends on the desired coffee strength.

The longer you steep, the stronger and more flavorful coffee you get because it goes from an acidic and thinner body to a rounded and fuller body.

You can steep the coffee mixture at room temperature or in the fridge. However, keep in mind that using a refrigerator will slow the extraction rate. So you will need to steep for a longer time to get a similar result.


Good Morning! Your cold brew concentrate is ready to strain now. If you’re a French press user, this is the time to push the plunger down.

Use a strainer and a coffee filter, thin towel, cheesecloth, or mesh cloth for straining. You can also use paper filters, but I recommend using any cloth since it is less messy and helps you speed up the process. Next, gently pour the cold brew concentrate through it. Don’t press; let it sit. Pressing will only extract out the bitterness.

Collect the strained concentrate in an airtight container. And store it in the fridge for later use.    


You need to dilute the concentrate with milk or water since it is highly caffeinated. , place some ice cubes in a glass. Pour the cold brew concentrate. Add cold water, milk, or a mixture of both. Add extra flavoring like cream or syrup if you want. 

The strength is a personal preference. Usually, an equal amount of diluting liquid goes with the concentrate. That means the ratio is 1:1.

5 Tricks To Make Your Cold Brew Coffee Better

Now that you know how to make a good cup of cold brew, here are a few tips you should follow to make it even better for bragging rights

  • Always Use Coarser Grounds
  • Use bottled water to ensure maximum purity
  • Don’t steep your cold brew for more than 15 hours
  • Use coffee ice cubes instead of water ice cubes
  • Use a special mug for maintaining the ideal cold coffee temperature

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

  • A cup of cold brew has so much to offer beyond its delicious taste. You can enjoy a flavorful, smooth, and sweet cup with no sour or bitter flavor.
  • No extra addition of cream or sugar is a must. Yet, you can add if you want to. Also, it can be served both cold and hot. , add hot water for dilution to enjoy a hot cup.
  • The strength is adjustable with dilution. Its preparation method is super easy with coffee steeping naturally.
  • Cold-brew saves time on your busy days. Make a big batch during weekends, and enjoy all week long.
  • With cold brew coffee, you only brew what you need to, ensuring most of your coffee stays fresh over a more extended time. Therefore, it is waste-free.
  • You can easily heat previously-stored cold brew coffee if you are in the mood for a hot cup.
  • Homemade cold brew coffee is more affordable than the ones available in a coffee shop.
  • Cold-brew coffees are less acidic. So if you are a coffee lover yet can’t enjoy a nice cup due to acidity issues, cold brew coffee is the right solution for you.

Had fun reading? You’ll love to read our what are coffee cherries article.

Bottom Line

As you can tell by now, cold brew is not just a summer refreshment; you can enjoy it all year round. So if you want to enjoy a quick cup of coffee without the hassle of coffee machines, grinding, etc., It is your best bet.


Which Type of Coffee Works Best for Cold Brew?

Arabica or Robusta, any variety of coffee beans work for cold brew. But it has to be coarsely ground like cornmeal. Choose a darker roast to extract aromas and flavors efficiently for the roast profile.

What Makes It So Popular?

A cup of cold brew offers a super refreshing, flavorful, and smooth taste that has no bitterness. The extra addition of cream or sugar is not a must. Also, it can be served both cold and hot. The strength is adjustable with dilution. Its preparation method is super easy and saves time on your busy days.

What Happens if We Steep Cold It Little (6 Hours)?

Steeping cold brew coffee between 12 and 24 hours is ideal. If you steep too little, the flavors do not develop. The coffee needs at least 12 hours to release most of its flavors.

What Happens if We Steep It Too Long (48 Hours)?

Steeping longer than 24 hours leads to over-infusion. The coffee becomes bitter, and the taste becomes unpleasant. A dusty or woody taste will develop.

Is Cold Brew Coffee Healthier Than Hot Coffee?

The nutritional value for cold brew is similar to that of hot coffee. What differs is that cold brew is more flavorful, less bitter, smooth, and sweeter. As a result, there is no need to add extra cream or sugar. That makes cold brew healthier than hot coffee.