you're reading...
home eats

The Magical Wonders of Cold-Brewed Coffee

Who says that you need hot water to make coffee?

Well, a lot of people. And until pretty recently, I would’ve said the same (and I work at a café too – shame on me!).

Almost all coffee-brewing methods, from the French press, to the pour-over, pulling an espresso shot, and even an automatic drip machine, all require heating water to the right temperature before saturating the coffee grounds.


But these are all methods you use when you want coffee relatively quickly. Cold-brewing, on the other hand, takes a MUCH longer time – we’re talking about hours here, folks.

To make a long story short: if you plan ahead and are patient enough to use this method, you’ll be rewarded with an iced coffee that tastes about a gazillion times better than hot coffee that’s been cooled down.

You see, the thing about cold-brewed coffee is that the cool water will dissolve only certain  elements from the coffee grounds (namely the flavor elements and the caffeine content), whereas hot water will extract more of the oils and acids. So compared to regular hot coffee, cold-brewed coffee will be more aromatic and far less bitter.


Now, doesn’t that pique your curiosity?

It sure did for me, and once I figured out how it worked, I got busy getting everything together.

I started with about one cup of whole coffee beans. I usually get my beans from Moon Doggie Coffee, a local micro-roaster in Maywood; while their café isn’t that great, they have a huge variety of coffee and they also freshly roast their beans on-site every few days. This time was the the first time I tried their house organic blend “Half A World Away,” and it’s AMAZING.

I put a little less than 1 cup into my grinder because the coffee usually increases in volume when they’re all ground up.


Turning my grinder to the medium-coarse setting, I let ‘er rip.


Now, I hate to sound like a coffee snob, but if you can, you should reaalllly get your coffee ground as close as possible to the date you’re using it. You’ll notice that I keep my beans whole and grind them at home, right before I use them. I can do this because I have a conical burr grinder that’ll grind the beans to equally sized particles; but if you use a spice grinder, the beans will just end up smashing against each other into bits that range from really large to itty-bitty, making for badly extracted coffee. So if you want good coffee, either invest in a good grinder, or use those special grinders you see in stores – the ones with the different settings on them.

Whew. Ok, now that the schpeel is over, onwards to the cool coffee adventure!


For this kind of coffee, you want a 4:1 water-to-grounds ratio – so I added a little over 4 cups of water to my 1 cup of ground coffee.


See the little bubbles on the surface of the coffee? That’s the grounds releasing carbon dioxide, which it’ll do when the coffee is freshly roasted and ground. If I had done this a few days earlier, you would’ve seen even more of the “bloom.”


But you can’t just let your coffee sit around like that! You’ve got to stir it around…


Mixing the slurry until the light colored foam starts to come up.


Un-separated chopsticks are my utensils of choice for this kind of stirring – they get all the way to the bottom of the jug, and also do a good job mixing without removing to much of the grounds once you pull it out.

After everything has been well mixed, put a top on your container and let it sit in the fridge for 12 hours (although I’ve heard that anytime from 4 hours on is alright).


But just to be safe, I left my pitcher to chill overnight…

And took it out this morning once I had my straining things all prepared.


With a fine-meshed sieve on top of another jug, I poured the brewed coffee through my strainer…


And let it sit for a while, so I could get every single precious drop of coffee from the grounds.


Now you’ll notice that the resulting coffee still looks kind of thick – that’s because of the smaller coffee particles that are still swimming around in there.


Which is why we use a moistened-then-wrung cheesecloth to strain everything again!




Like last time, you’ll want to wait a bit even after you’ve poured everything through the sieve; just let gravity do its thing and pull the coffee down.



Well, almost.


‘Cuz now that you’ve made this awesome coffee, you have to actually drink it.

Preferably in a reusable, double-walled container made especially for cold drinks. A regular ol’ cup will suffice, but c’mon – this thing is perfect when you want homemade coffee to-go!


Cold-brewed coffee is actually stronger than regular drip coffee, which makes it ideal for iced coffee; as the ice melts, it’ll slowly dilute the brew to the perfect level of caffeination.

Or you can a little bit of water and heat it in the microwave if you want hot cold-brewed coffee.

Oxymoron much?


And the verdict?

I’ve tried this same exact coffee both hot and cold-brewed, and I’ve got to say that the cold method definitely has a deeper flavor. It’s less bitter, with slight notes of fruitiness that dance on the back of your tongue towards the end of each sip.

In other words: pure deliciousness, and perfect for these hot summer days.

Now, please excuse me while I go pour myself another cup.




19 thoughts on “The Magical Wonders of Cold-Brewed Coffee

  1. that looks SO good. im gonna try it over the summer one dayyy! :)

    Posted by jisun | June 21, 2011, 12:10 am
  2. This looks great! But question, how long will the cold coffee last once the process is complete? If I make a batch on Sunday will it still be good on Friday???

    Posted by danjerface | June 22, 2011, 5:30 pm
    • Between my mom, my dad, and me, my family goes through iced coffee pretty quickly, and we usually drink an entire batch in 2-3 days. Cold-brewed coffee will definitely last longer than hot coffee that’s been cooled down, but I would still recommend making smaller batches more frequently than making one large batch to last through out the week. I’m sure it’ll be ok on Friday, but it probably won’t taste as good as it did on Monday. That being said, if you keep it in a jug with an airtight seal like mine, it should be good for a couple days at least!

      Posted by minyungee | June 23, 2011, 9:37 am
  3. Is it stronger, caffeine wise? Any more jitter-inducing?

    I can’t wait to try this! Not sure that condensed milk would dissolve into it cold-brewed though. Do you sweeten your cold coffee at all? I realise that may be sacrilege…

    Posted by âpihtawikosisân | July 2, 2011, 8:34 pm
    • Haha, no that’s perfectly acceptable! I think Vietnamese coffee is made by cold-brewing, than adding sweetened condense milk to it. I’ve never tried it, but from what I read, the milk will settle to the bottom but it should be fine if you stir it up. I hope you enjoy!

      Posted by minyungee | July 2, 2011, 9:25 pm
    • I use a 14 oz can of condensed milk and a 12 oz can of evaporated milk. Pour them both into a plastic container. Just shake it up before adding to the cold coffee. I use about half coffee and half milk mixture.

      Posted by Christina | July 10, 2011, 10:48 am
  4. Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    Posted by Kian | April 4, 2013, 4:06 pm
  5. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on
    sites I stumbleupon everyday. It’s always interesting to read articles from other writers and use something from their websites.

    Posted by Green Coffee Advance Diets | April 20, 2013, 8:23 pm
  6. always i used to read smaller content that as well clear their
    motive, and that is also happening with this post which I am reading at
    this place.

    Posted by chocolate coffee beans | June 12, 2013, 2:21 am
  7. obviously like your web-site but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to tell the
    truth then again I’ll surely come again again.

    Posted by coffee Pure Cleanse | July 19, 2013, 1:24 pm
  8. Fantastic items from you, man. I’ve take into account your stuff previous to and you’re just too
    fantastic. I really like what you have bought right here, really like
    what you are saying and the best way during which you assert it.

    You’re making it entertaining and you continue to care for to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read far more from you.

    This is actually a wonderful web site.

    Posted by pixie bike | July 27, 2013, 1:59 am
  9. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle
    for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to new updates and will talk about this website with
    my Facebook group. Chat soon!

    Posted by green coffee bean extract | July 28, 2013, 1:52 am
  10. Its not my first time to visit this site, i am browsing this
    site dailly and obtain good facts from here all the time.

    Posted by Georgia | August 4, 2013, 5:45 pm
  11. I every time emailed this web site post page to all my friends, since
    if like to read it next my friends will too.

    Posted by airsoft m4 | August 17, 2013, 12:40 pm
  12. How to get pregnant after weight loss surgery?

    Posted by coffee bean extract dr oz | August 29, 2013, 6:28 am
  13. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it,
    you are a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your blog and may come back from now on.
    I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great
    job, have a nice holiday weekend!

    Posted by Velda | August 29, 2013, 1:08 pm
  14. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe that this amazing site needs a lot more attention.

    I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the info!

    Posted by best coffee maker | January 9, 2014, 2:55 am


  1. Pingback: 2 Twists on Traditional Summer Eats « you eatin' nice - June 23, 2011

  2. Pingback: Cold Brewed Iced Tea and Iced Coffee | V-Spot - July 21, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

In the Past…

%d bloggers like this: