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How to Make
Cold Brew Coffee

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Great For

  • Arrow Right Eco-Friendly Plastic-Free Brewing
  • Arrow Right Make-Ahead Convenience
  • Arrow Right A Sweet, Mild, Low Acidity Brew

Recipe

Makes 3 8-Ounce Servings, < 5 Minute Prep + 12 - 18 Hour Brew Time

  • Trade Cold Brew Bag
    Trade Cold Brew Bag
  • Coarse Ground Coffee
    Coarse Ground Coffee
    3 oz / 85 g
  • Room Temperature or Cold Filtered Water
    Room Temperature or Cold Filtered Water
    24 oz / 710 ml
  • 1 Quart Container
    1 Quart Container
Step 1
Fill Bag to Top
Fill one Cold Brew Bag with coarse coffee grounds. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you fill your bag properly:
  • If you’re not weighing with a scale, use the drawstring as a guide and pour to right below that line.
  • Resist the urge to try and pack the bag as tightly as humanly possible, as you want that cold water to be able to penetrate all the way into the center of the bag of coffee grounds.
  • Pull the drawstring gently until the bag is sealed tightly, which will stop the grounds from spilling out into your cold brew concentrate and muddying it up too much with sediment.
Step 2
Add Bag & Water
Put the sealed bag in your container and fill it with room temperature or cold filtered water. No need for any fancy pouring technique, just make sure all the coffee is submerged. It’s important to stop the coffee from oxidizing and picking up stale flavors as much as possible during the brewing process, and that can be accomplished in two ways. First, and probably most obvious, is covering your container while brewing, so make sure to get that jar lid on tight. Second, place your jar in a spot that’s out of direct sunlight. You don’t want your coffee to heat while it’s brewing, as hotter temperatures make oxidation happen faster, while also speeding up the brew process, potentially leaving you with bitter flavors. So cover your makeshift cold brew coffee maker tightly and leave the container out at room temperature.
Step 3
Let Sit & Brew
Cold brew coffee does require a certain amount of patience (or at the very least a certain amount of forethought). Wait 12 to 18 hours — longer brew times will yield a richer concentrate, but you don’t want to leave it brewing for much longer than 18 hours, as that could cause bitter flavors. Because cold water extracts much slower than hot water, you’ll need all that time to get the flavor you want into your brew. Our cold brew bags make cleanup no more difficult than the process of steeping a cup of tea. There’s no need to do anything special to strain your coffee, just remove the bag and discard or commercially compost. If you want to go for maximum reusability, save your grinds in a separate container and hit the internet for a wide world of ideas about reusing your grinds for everything from facial scrubs and lip balms to improving the health of your soil.
Step 4
Drink to Taste
Your cold brew is ready! If you followed our recipe, the coffee you brewed should be a fine strength to pour over ice and enjoy right away, and strong enough so that the ice (or any milk you choose to add to it) won’t dilute it too much. If the concentrate feels like it’s too strong, go ahead and add water to taste. Everyone’s palate is different, and a recipe is just a starting point on the journey to make cold brew that tastes good to your individual taste. If you’re not going to drink it right away, keep any leftover concentrate you brewed in your refrigerator, where it should last for up to a week without showing any negative taste qualities. Pro tip: because cold brew can be brewed as a concentrate, it will easily stand up to other ingredients in a cocktail recipe too.
Coffee Talk
From Our Coffee Expert

What kind of coffee should I use for cold brew?

While you can use any coffee you’d like in cold brew, it isn’t really able to extract many of the acids you find in hot coffee, so we would recommend coffees for which acidity isn’t one of the major selling points. You’ll likely be better off cold brewing coffees with lots of body and sweetness. That certainly describes darker roasts, but don’t shy away from lighter roasted natural coffees, which often carry tons of fruit flavors. Because cold brew is an immersion brew method (meaning the coffee is completely submerged in water and stays in contact until the brewing is done), you want a very chunky, coarse grind size. The larger the surface area, the longer it takes for the water to extract the delicious stuff out of the coffee. If you’re using a burr grinder, which has a vastly more even grind size for better flavor extraction, you’ll want to use the higher number settings. If you use a blade grinder, just don’t grind for nearly as long as you would for, say, a drip machine. If you’re buying your coffee beans pre-ground, you should be able to ask for it to be ground for cold brew, but if all else fails remember the word “coarse”.

In what ways can I adjust your recipe?

Our recipe calls for around an eight to one ratio of water to coffee, which we think will taste delicious over ice; taking into account that the ice will melt, diluting the cold brew. However, it couldn’t be easier to adjust the recipe and brew a stronger coffee concentrate. You could use the same amount of water but two Trade Cold Brew Bags worth of coffee, for a concentrate that’s roughly twice as strong. The main advantage of making a concentrate is that it takes up less space, making it easier to transport. On the flip side, if our cold brew recipe is too intense for you, feel free to use less coffee for a more diluted brew. Just measure how much less coffee you’re using so you can repeat or accurately adjust it from batch to batch. As long as you have a vessel that’s big enough to hold the Cold Brew Bag and narrow enough to submerge it all the way under the water, you’re golden. You can get away with a large french press, Tupperware container, or even a mixing bowl.In coffee shops, steeping big batches of cold brew coffee in a food grade bucket is very common. Whatever vessel you choose, just make sure to cover your container in some way to avoid contact with oxygen, which can interact with coffee and cause some slightly off flavors.

How is cold brew coffee different from iced coffee?

As with many coffee brewing terms, there isn’t always strict agreement in the coffee world, but generally “iced coffee” refers to any way to serve non-espresso-based cold coffee over ice. This has in the past meant taking regular coffee brewed on a drip machine and putting it in the fridge. It can also refer to flash-chilled coffee. Cold brew, then, refers simply to any brew method that doesn’t use hot water. As far as caffeine, cold brew could be stronger depending on how you look at it. Technically, you can make cold brew coffee with any ratio of coffee to water that you want, so if you brew it using the amount of coffee and water in, say, our French press recipe, it’ll have roughly the same amount of caffeine. If you make it using the stronger coffee to water ratio most recipes (like this one) call for, the finished brew will have more caffeine by volume, but since we expect you’ll be filling around half your glass with ice, the beverage should have around the same total caffeine as the similarly sized hot beverage.