DIY Cold Brew Coffees: The Master’s Art

By Glossy Magazine

DIY Cold Brew Coffees: The Master's Art

DIY Cold Brew Coffees: The Master’s Art

DIY Cold Brew Coffees: The Master's Art

Knowledge of how to make the ideal hot coffee is spreading across the globe. It’s no longer something confined to southern European countries and their offshoots. Even in places like Britain, fantastic-tasting drinks are becoming the norm.

With that said, coffee still harbors secrets, the main one being cold brews. These concoctions are even more refreshing than their hot compatriots and fill a void for those who dislike iced tea. But hardly anyone is making them regularly (even when temperatures outside soar).

The problem isn’t lack of desire. If you put a cold brew in front of most people, they will drink it. Rather, the issue is one of knowledge. Despite their appeal, cold brews still aren’t part of the cultural furniture. Ordering one still feels special.

One reason for this is inertia. People are used to making hot coffees – that’s just the way it’s always been. Suddenly switching to cold brews is jarring for some individuals.

But the main problem seems to be a lack of confidence. People simply don’t feel comfortable whipping up coffees and when adding ice. The process seems alien to them.

This article aims to change this sorry state of affairs. We explain how to master the art of making cold brews yourself from the best coffee beans in your area.  Then we explore various roast profiles to use and how you can infuse cold brews with other flavors. Once you get to the end, you’ll be an expert in your own right and feel more confident making cold coffees with awesome flavors.

What Are Cold Brew Coffees?

But first, what do we actually mean by cold brew coffees?

Interestingly, there are a couple of definitions. Coffee shops sometimes refer to cold brew coffees as espressos added to ice water. Here, baristas make the shot and then pour it into a cup containing some sugar, ice cubes, distilled water, and maybe syrup.

This method simulates cold brews, but it is not the real thing. Actual cold brews are made by using a slow extraction process and steeping the beans in water. This approach creates a smoother, more refined and less acidic taste profile, making the coffee-drinking experience more pleasant overall.

Cold brew coffees are actually quite old, dating back several centuries. Extraction techniques on modern coffee machines are superior to conventional and stove-top coffee pots, allowing for more of the flavor of the bean to come through in the finished drink.

How To Master DIY Cold Brew Coffees

Mastering DIY cold brew coffees is something anyone can do. It doesn’t take much practice, but you do need to know the proper approach.

The first step is to carefully choose your blend. You don’t want anything too fine. Most cold brew coffees are best with coarse grounds to reduce total surface area. Adding fine grounds causes the drink to taste too acidic, making it less refreshing (which is the whole purpose of making it).

Next, you need to add water to your coffee beans. The ratio you use is a personal decision.

Most people make coffee grounds 20% of the filled height of the container, adding the remaining 80% water on top for a 1:4 ratio. (You can dilute more than this, depending on your taste preferences).

The coffee will then start to brew. Compounds in the coffee beans will distribute in the surrounding liquid, slowly producing a richer flavor.

It takes a long time for the cold brew to finish brewing. Most people wait 12 to 24 hours for the full effect, but waiting up to 36 hours can produce a superior drink.

How long you leave the brew will determine how strong it is. The quantity of flavor compounds will depend on the bean type you use. Some grounds are more willing to give up their taste than others, so you’ll need to keep adjusting your brewing times until you find one that works for you.

Improving Your Brews Further

Once you know the basics, the next step is to improve your brews. Advanced techniques can make your drinks even more refreshing and delicious.

One option is to get dedicated cold brew-making equipment instead of relying on a jug in your refrigerator. Some brands make devices that will manage the cold brewing process for you, preparing the beans and telling you how long you need to wait before drinks are ready.

Another pro approach used by some DIY coffee lovers is to use distilled water. It doesn’t contain any contaminants (unlike tap water) and can produce a more consistent and finer drink.

Using distilled water in coffee works similarly to tea. Brews are silky smooth in the mouth and on the tongue. Distilled water is particularly good for cold brews served in glasses because it makes the drink more attractive, whether you decide to add milk or not.

Finally, you might want to improve your brews by varying the grind size. Using fine, medium, and chunky can help deliver combinations of flavors you can’t get from a single size. Mixing arabica and robusta beans in this way may deliver a superior taste sensation you love.

How To Choose The Right Beans For Your Cold Brew

Finding the right beans for your cold brew is more challenging than you might think. You don’t necessarily want to use the same grounds as for hot drinks.

The best beans for cold brews are those that are least acidic. While dark roast tastes great with hot drinks, that’s not the case for colder ones, since the acidity is more apparent.

You can try to deal with this problem by diluting the drink more, but this usually doesn’t work. The result is a slightly bitter, insipid taste that seems a little “off.”

Look for beans with naturally low acidity and high oil content. Oil is a carrier of coffee’s non-acidic components and helps to make the drink feel more substantial and complete.

Most cold brew enthusiasts go for a light roast. It’s not quite as exciting as its dark counterpart, but it makes an excellent cold drink when prepared properly.

If you want to make your cold brews more exciting, consider combining them with other flavors. For example, you might add berries, citrus peel, or vanilla to your drinks to alter how they taste and make them more interesting.

Quick Tips For Mastering The Art Of Cold Brew Coffee-Making

Above, we described in detail some techniques you can use to master the art of DIY cold brew coffee-making. However, it is probably worth revisiting some quick tips to ensure you understand everything and know what to do.

Use Freshly Roasted Beans

If you go to a coffee shop and ask for a cold brew, they will always make it with freshly roasted beans. These offer the best taste and ensure you’ll enjoy your drink.

Don’t use beans that have been in a packet for months or advertise themselves are being instant. These won’t give you the drink you want and could lead to disappointment.

Store Cold Brews In An Airtight Container

Making cold brews is a bit of a faff compared to brewing fresh coffee (unless you have a machine, of course). Therefore, many people like to make their brews in batches and store them in the refrigerator. You might want to do the same. Keeping them in an airtight container will prevent the oxygen in the atmosphere from reacting with the flavor compounds, making the drink taste delicious whenever you decide to pop it open.

You can store cold brews in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Just make sure you seal the container well (and preferably use an attachable pump to remove any air left inside).

Use A Proper Filter

If you decide to get into coffee-brewing in a big way, you’ll want to invest in a filter. These help to remove more of the particles from the drink so it doesn’t wind up tasting like the bottom of a sand pit.

Cheesecloth is one option and filter paper is another. Just be aware that if you use the latter, you can lose some of the oils in the coffee drink, which might not be to your liking.

You can also make cold brews from espresso, but the effect won’t be the same. Cold brews tend to have a unique flavor profile you can’t emulate with hot extraction.

Dilute Properly

Cold brew is strong by itself, so you may want to dilute it to your tastes. Using creamer, milk, or extra water can change the taste of the drink and help you make it just the way you like it.

The fact that cold brew is essentially a concentrate (like espresso) is useful. It means you can use it to make various drinks and keep experimenting until you discover something you love.

So there you have it: the master’s guide to making real cold brew coffees. As we discussed, there’s the shortcut for making cold brews (what most coffee shops do) and then the real way of doing it over several hours.