No matter what season, you will always find the cold brew diehards flocking to the nearest coffee shop to get their fix in, and there's a reason.
Cold brew isn't just a different way to drink coffee -- it's an entirely different method that even the harshest coffee snobs can get behind.
In this article, you’ll learn what cold brew coffee is, why it's different from iced coffee, and how to make your own cold brew at home!
What Exactly Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Let’s go back to the hot coffee basics. When you think about how to brew hot coffee, you’ll come up with three key ingredients — some medium-coarse coffee, water, and heat.
The heat is what allows the juices inside the beans to diffuse into the water. That’s brewed coffee in a nutshell.
In the case of cold brew coffee, you’ve still got the first two ingredients which are the coffee beans and water. What you’re doing in making cold brew coffee is swapping out the last "ingredient", heat, for time.
Cold brew coffee is made by allowing the ground coffee to sit and infuse in water. With time, the coffee is drawn out into the water by osmosis.
Filter out the used coffee grounds, and you’ve got cold brew coffee.
Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee
You can put ice inside your regular cup of hot coffee, but what you’ll be getting is iced coffee — not cold brew coffee.
With iced coffee, you still need to brew hot coffee. Because ice will melt, you’ll ultimately be adding more water to the coffee. This can dilute the coffee, reducing the richness and even the caffeine kick.
So how is this different from cold brew coffee?
Remember that with cold brew coffee, you allow the coffee to infuse into cold water. This process usually takes over 12 hours -- the longer the coffee sits, the stronger the flavor. You’re adding no ice, so the coffee stays strong.
The resulting brew is a cold brew concentrate twice as caffeinated as regular coffee.
A Hint of Sweetness
The cold brewing technique is known to enhance the taste of the coffee. A cold brew is often described as more chocolatey than it's iced or hot alternatives.
On top of sweetness, smoothness is a characteristic present in cold brew coffee and not in iced coffee. This is because the heat applied to brew regular coffee alters the chemical structure of coffee -- bringing out more bitter flavors. The oxidation process created by heat is the same that occurs naturally over time to make liquid coffee go "stale", which is why iced of hot coffees often have an unpleasant stale taste.
Less Stomach Acidity
Have you ever spoken to people who avoid a cup of coffee like the plague? If you have, they might have said that it’s because coffee activates their acid reflux or heartburn.
Indeed, the caffeine content of coffee has a way of triggering your stomach to release more acid. However, studies are showing that hot brewed coffee creates more acidity than cold brew coffee.
According to Health Line, the acid content of coffee has a direct correlation with temperature. In particular, coffee’s acid content increases at temperatures of 195–205°F. This is the temperature of your average cup of coffee.
Interestingly, many studies have found significantly lower traces of acid in cold brew coffee. Hence, cold brew coffee might be a better alternative for someone who needs that kick in the pants but not in the stomach.
Caffeine Content of Cold Brew
The slower cold brew process typically extracts more caffeine than a hot brewed coffee.
On average, a regular cup of coffee is made with a ratio of about 1:17. This means that you’ll have to use a gram of coffee for 17 grams (0.6 fluid ounces) of water. So to make an eight-ounce cup of coffee, you’d need about 136 grams of coffee to experience it at full strength.
When you use a cold brew maker, the ratio will change because of the absence of heat.
An increase in the coffee beans without changing fluid proportions results in a concentrated cup of cold brew coffee. As a result, you get coffee that has more caffeine than regular cold brew coffee.
How To Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home
You don’t always have to drag yourself to your nearest coffee shop to get your cold brew fix. You can make your own delicious, satisfying cold brew right at home.
There are a few different methods to achieve the perfect cold brew at home:
Coarsely Grind Your Beans
To start your cold brew process, you'll need coarsely ground coffee. We recommend using freshly ground coffee beans to deliver the best possible cold brew. If you don't have a grinder, head to your local coffee shop and ask them to grind the beans for making cold brew at home.
Combine with Cold Water
Now that you have your fresh beans, it's time to add cold water. There are several methods for adding your water:
Mason Jar Infusion
For this cold brew-making method, fill up half of the mason jar with medium-coarse coffee. Then fill up the jar with water, and stir, ensuring that all beans are fully immersed in water. Leave the jar overnight either on your countertop or inside the fridge. The morning after, you’ve got concentrated cold brew coffee.
Pressed Cold Brew
Do you want that extra froth? Try making cold brew coffee with a press!
Fill up a third of your French press with medium-ground coffee beans and then add water.
Leave the French press in the fridge or on the counter overnight. In the morning, simply press down the filter the strain the beans and pour out your cold brew.
Mosi's Cold Brew Infuser
The Mosi Infuser allows you to make cold brew coffee in the same cup you'll take on the go the next morning. The air-tight seal of the infuser container creates a pressurized environment for the infusion of coffee. Because of the pressure, your coffee infuses even without heat.
Here’s how to make cold brew coffee using the Mosi Infuser with the Cold Brew Sieve attachment:
Place Medium-ground Coffee inside the Sieve
Remove the lid and place coffee inside the sieve. Re-attach the sieve by screwing it back onto the lid.
Fill the Infuser Container with Water
Simply fill up the container with room temperature water through the spout. After that, seal the container with the sieve filled with coffee grounds.
Flip it and Forget It (For a While)
Tip the container on the lid to let the coffee infuse. You can either leave it on the counter, or pop your infuser in the fridge (just budget about 18 hours for this option) so you have ready-to-drink cold brew the next day.
The next morning, simply remove the sieve and you will have cold brew coffee ready to take on the go with you in the same cup.
Store Your Cold Brew
Once you've made your cold brew coffee using your method of choice, make sure to cover it and store it in the fridge. If you're using the Mosi infuser, you can pop the entire travel cup in the fridge to enjoy another day. Once covered and refrigerated, your cold brew can last for up to a week.
How to Add Variation to Your Cold Brew
Looking to spice up your homemade cold brew? Here are some of our favorite techniques to add an extra kick of flavor:
Vanilla Cold Brew
Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste (or an actual vanilla bean!) to your beans as they brew.
Mocha Cold Brew
Add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to your beans as they brew.
Cinnamon Cold Brew
Add 1 cinnamon stick to your beans as they brew (for this recipe, we recommend using the mason jar infusion technique).