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Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Cold Brew Coffee

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Cold brew coffee is fast becoming a mainstream coffee beverage. With popular coffee shops such as Starbucks introducing it in their menus, it is bound to gain even more momentum.


Many people mistake a cold brew coffee as being another iced coffee. Both the coffees have different making processes and shouldn’t be thought of as the same thing.

What is cold brew coffee?

When coffee is brewed over a period of 12 to 24 hours using water which is either at room temperature or cold, it is known as cold brew coffee.

While a cold brew coffee is cold, it didn’t get its name due to the temperature of the final cup of coffee. Cold-brew got its name due to the process that is used to make the coffee.

How a cold brew tastes like

Cold-brew should be smooth, full body and less acidic in taste. This is mainly because of being brewed using cold water. A cold brew also has high caffeine levels. It can be served either hot or cold. Due to the longer brewing time, the flavors are also extracted to the maximum. 

Due to the cold brew coffees being less acidic (mainly due to the longer steeping times), they are easier on the stomach. So people whose stomach gets upset due to coffee should definitely try switching to the cold brews.

What makes cold brew coffee special


Because of longer brewing time, cold brews tend to extract the maximum flavors out of the beans. Cold brews are also smooth and full body due to having less than half the acidity and bitterness of other coffee drinks.

Easy on the stomach

Many people get an upset stomach after drinking coffee. Cold brews are perfect for these people as it is low on acidity which prevents any discomfort, especially on an empty stomach.

Low maintenance

Due to the cold brewing process being simple it is very low maintenance. Since it uses the immersion method, a french press can be used for the brewing and a pour-over dripper for the filtration.


Cold-brew coffees can be brewed in a concentrated form by increasing the number of coffee grounds that we add to the water. This can’t be achieved with hot brewed coffee. Also due to the longer steeping times even if extra coffee beans are added to the water, it won’t result in an unbalanced extraction.

Few tips for improving the taste of your cold brews

  • Use freshly roasted coffees and grind only before brewing –

A coffee bean starts losing its flavors after two weeks of being roasted. This is mainly due to the oxidation that happens after the beans get roasted. The oxidation process replaces the original flavors with a dull and bitter flavor. To prevent this only buy from places that roast on the spot or roast in small batches.

It is also important to grind your coffee right before brewing. Coffee starts losing its taste after 30 minutes of it being ground. That’s why it’s best to grind only when needed.

  • Use filtered water –

If your water contains chlorine or any other flavors to it then it’s best to use filtered water for making the coffee. Unfiltered water can affect the taste of your coffee.

  • Correct coffee to water ratio –

Using the right coffee to water ratio is important. Normally a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water is sufficient. 

  • Use coarse grind –

Using the coarse grind helps make the filtration process easier. It also prevents the coffee from becoming too bitter. Another reason for using coarser instead of finer is that fine beans can overheat the grounds which will affect the taste of your coffee.

  • Make your coffee strong or less strong –

If your final cup of coffee is too strong then you can add some water to reduce it. Similarly to make your coffee more strong add some concentration to it.

  • Dealing with bitter or sour tastes –

Many times your coffee might taste too bitter or sour. In case of bitterness, it was likely due to the concentrate being over-extracted or using finely ground beans. To fix this you can lessen the brew time and go with a coarser grind. 

In the case of your coffee tasting sour, it was likely due to being under-extracted. To fix this, you can increase the brew time by a few hours and use a less coarse grind.

Steps to make a better-tasting cold brew

  1. The first step will be to take freshly roasted coffee. Remember that the roasted coffee shouldn’t be older than 2 weeks.
  2. Then use a burr grinder and grind the coffee coarsely. Burr grinder is used to prevent the coffee beans from getting heated and grinding the beans to a uniform size.
  3. Since we will be first creating a concentrate the ratio to be used for the concentrate is 1:7. So take 100gm of coarsely ground coffee and put them in the french press.
  4. Now pour 700gm of water over the coffee grounds slowly. Make sure that they are saturated uniformly.
  5. After a few minutes, immerse the coffee grounds that have formed a hard layer on the top.
  6. Now it’s time to let the coffee brew for at least 12 hours or more depending on how you want the taste of your coffee.
  7. After the brewing time has completed, push the filter down in your french press. You can put any extra concentrate into a container with a lid and store it in a refrigerator. This concentrate can be used up to 2 weeks after making.
  8. To serve the coffee, mix your concentrate with the same quantity of water. Now you can add ice and the coffee is ready to be served.

You can always experiment with the recipe to get the final cup of coffee according to your taste. Ultimately it’s all about sipping that perfect cup of coffee. To get started all you need is a french press and burr coffee grinder.

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