Cold brewing, smoother and less bitter than brewed coffee and iced coffee, is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.
Sales have more than tripled since 2015, and sales are expected to reach nearly $372 million this year, and nearly $1 billion in 2025. That’s a hefty $4 coffee, which is the running price for a 20-ounce cup at Starbucks. . A 40-ounce container of Stok cold brew coffee costs about $5 at the grocery store.
What is cold brew coffee? Is it really different from iced coffee? How do people relate to it? Sometimes it takes your first cold Starbucks drink, and they’re all in it. It’s a good thing.
“Hot coffee takes a long time to drink and there are many ways it can go wrong. Cold brew is more consistent and I can drink it straight away,” said Susan O’Neill, project coordinator in Chicago. I stopped drinking soda.”
With most commercial cold drinks sold in plastic packaging, why add more plastic to the environment? Reduce waste and get a better taste when making cold coffee at home.
What’s the difference in Cold Brew Coffee anyway?
What is cold brew? It’s deceptively simple. Cold brew is coffee made from water and ground coffee. Rather than being brewed hot, concentrates are made by steeping ground coffee in water for 8 hours or more. It is then filtered and ready to be diluted with water or milk, and enjoyed hot or cold. Cafes often use a 1:4 ratio of concentrate to water.
The magic of cold brew is the lack of acid. Not only is the cold brew softer as you drink it, but the lack of acid means it’s less bitter and the other natural flavors are more pronounced. The cold brew also allows the added flavors to really shine. Some coffee drinkers may find the cold brew to be bland without the complexity of the acid.
Does cold coffee contain caffeine? Depends on who you ask. Coffee merchants claim it does, but looking into the details often shows that they refer to cold brew concentrate, which is further diluted for brew.
Hot ground coffee contains a lot of everything extracted by the heat: flavours, acid, and caffeine. A cold brew does not extract as much as all of these ingredients because the ratio of coffee to water is higher. People drink more cold brew than hot coffee.
Decaffeinated coffee drinkers don’t despair – you can make a cold brew using decaffeinated coffee beans. It tastes so much better than the old hot decaffeinated iced coffee you usually get from a store.
How is cold coffee different from iced coffee?
Iced coffee is hot, chilled coffee. It may have been fermented hours in advance, then refrigerated, or poured over ice for serving. Since it is hot fermented, all the oils and acids in the coffee beans are extracted and end up in the fermentation.
Cold brew is more expensive to buy from a coffee shop because it requires more attention. Calculating the right amount to pay for the next day without running out of time too early requires trial and error.
Theresa Vidal Chalkley, owner of The Chelsea St. Pete, who opened in the middle of a pandemic in St. Petersburg, Florida: “We use a certain coffee for our cold brew (Vesuvio mix from Batdorf auf Bronson)”. “There is a half kilo of coffee per gallon of nice spring water, with a bit of minerals in it. Then we filter it with bamboo and cloth filters.”
Make a cold drink at home
Buying a cold brew every day can end up costing over $1,400 a year. If you love drinking cold coffee and have a good pre-planning experience, concentrate your cold brew at home and save 50 percent or more.
You can make your own cold brew in ways to fit every budget. Go ahead and buy a premium coffee bean grinder, water filter, French pressure cooker, and high-end coffee beans. This one can cost you $250, or even higher if you choose top-shelf gear.
Before you spend on a $100 Clara French press, for example, look around your house and see if you have a pint or a larger mason jar, some coffee filters, ground coffee and water. This will do to start.
Three scenarios for cold drink at home
We’ll give you three scenarios that fit your budget so you can make cold coffee at home. There is a system for every budget and taste. Once you know how to do this, you can create your own recipes.
Chalkley uses pounds of coffee per gallon to concentrate the cold brew. You can play with the ratio according to the taste you want. Cold fermentation can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator without losing any flavor. Don’t want to focus? Use 3 ounces, or about two and a half tablespoons, per liter of water.
(Almost) No budget
The least expensive way to make a cold brew is using the stuff you have around the house. No need for a cold brew machine. You will need a jar with a lid (it is better to clean a jar of mason sauce or spaghetti well), coffee filters, a strainer, ground coffee and, of course, water. The basic cold brew ratio is 1:4, or 1 part coffee to 4 parts water. It is not necessary to use cold water, but filtered water is fine.
Use coarsely ground coffee beans (most grocery stores have grinders there). Put your coffee in the jar, add water and shake well. You can either cool it down or leave it outside. Leave it to soak for at least eight hours.
Once enough time has passed, place the coffee filter in the strainer and place it over a wide-mouth glass or jar. Let the coffee filter slowly (squeeze gently if it takes too long). Taste and add more water if it is too strong.
cost: $388 for coffee and filters for a year.
Filtering coffee is the least fun part of making cold brew coffee. Using a French press removes most of the anxiety. The French press not only makes it easy to clean the ground coffee, but you can also prepare a concentrated cold brew that will last several days. A French press can cost anywhere from $10 to $40. Make sure to buy one that contains at least 20 ounces.
There are many devices designed specifically for cold coffee. The Toddy (named by Todd Simpson, who first popularized cold brew coffee in the United States in the 1960s) starts around $40. Similar systems like the $18 Primula Burke come with bottoms that unscrew, so it’s easy to unload the ground coffee.
Freshly grinding your beans for each cold batch of coffee will result in a brighter, more flavorful coffee. Coffee grinders cost from $16 to hundreds. Using filtered water also helps make a more delicious cup.
Experts recommend not to use expensive coffee beans to prepare cold coffee. This is not the time to hack Kona. However, using only decent coffee beans makes your morning coffee even better.
cost: $500 to $780 per year (equipment included)
Money is not an object
“Coffee tastes better in coffee shops like ours because we have better equipment,” says Chalkley of Chelsea St Pete. You can also get a super cold brewing system at home with Toddy’s Pro Series for $500.
If you need a cold brew now, look for the Cuisinart coffee maker that promises to brew cold coffee in 25-40 minutes by shaking the ground coffee. It retails for about $200 but you can find it on sale online for half the price at Amazon and other retailers.
cost: $1,020 for a year (not much less than a coffee shop purchase).
5 tips for making cold coffee at home
When using a French press, put the coffee in a jar and shake it well. Then pour it into the French press. It’s less messy.
You don’t need to use cold water. Room temperature water is fine. It is better to use filtered water.
Let the mixture sit uncovered for a few minutes so that the naturally occurring gases can escape.
Get creative with your cold brew concentrate! Add a cinnamon stick, cayenne pepper, or any other flavor to the portion of water while it is soaking.
Add hot water to the cold brew concentrate to get a smooth hot brew in a 1:3 ratio of concentrate to water.
Penny Hoarder contributor JoEllen Schilke writes on topics related to lifestyle and culture. She is the former owner of a café in Saint Petersburg, Florida, and has hosted an art show at WMNF Community Radio for nearly 30 years.