Coffee is one of the most important drinks in our daily routine. One of the first things that come to our minds when we wake up in the mornings is a hot steaming cup of coffee. Coffee gives us a wake-up kick in the brain and boosts our energy. For a coffee lover, there are few things more thirst-quenching than a perfectly brewed cup of iced coffee.
But to get the best cold brew coffee you don’t have to rush to your nearest Starbucks anymore! Here we are going to share the perfect secret technique that Starbucks does for its cold brew coffee. The best part is that you can make a big batch in advance and enjoy it for days together.
Difference between Cold Brew Coffee and Iced Coffee
Cold brew coffee is a much-refined version of chilled coffee that is totally different from the sugar-laded and artificially flavored cold coffee variants. An iced coffee tastes over bitter because it is nothing but standard filter coffee poured over ice, while a cold brew coffee is subtly sweet, rich in flavor but not entirely overwhelming.
It is ice-cold but not watery and is also utterly refreshing. To sum it up, the basic difference is cold-brewed coffee is ground coffee steeped in cold water and then strained, and iced coffee is brewed hot and poured over ice.
The difference in the making methods of both types also results in immensely different flavors. Iced coffee is instant and very quick. There is an intense and rapid extraction of flavor from coffee beans by the hot water and so it is very bitter.
Cold-brew takes around 18-24 hours to get ready. Its gentle infusion process results in a subtly sweeter version of coffee that is also less acidic. Cold brewing is a much better method of preparing cold coffee.
Before we jump in straight to learn how some big cold brew coffee brands whip the perfect cuppa, lets us gather some information about cold brew coffee.
Fun Facts on Cold Brew Coffee
- For those who have never shifted from their traditional steaming coffee, they should know that a cold brew coffee can be slightly sweet, smooth and very refreshing.
- It is also quite easy to make at home.
- The best part is that it can be made in a large batch and use it as a ready-made brew for busy days.
- You can also heat it up if you feel like having hot coffee.
- Depending upon the steeping time, coffee beans used and the dilution, a cold brew can be really strong. You can control the dilution factor easily.
- Cold brew coffee is less acidic than hot coffee.
- Cold-brew takes a little while longer to make than drip coffee because it takes a longer time to steep. It is usually best to steep it for 12 to 18 hours to get the intense coffee flavor, caffeine, and the dark color. This process of cold extraction results in a sweeter and smoother result.
- The best beans for cold brew are the ones that are coarsely ground.
- If you are wondering which is the best coffee to make cold brew, then you must know that any coffee variety will work.
- A cold brew coffee also tastes less bitter than hot brew coffee.
- Cold-brew coffee gives a slow release of caffeine in your system when compared to hot brewed coffee. You also won’t experience a crash due to excessive caffeine even though the levels are much higher.
Few Tips You Must Know if You are Cold Brew Coffee Lover
Big-Batch Cold Brew
You might have made iced coffee at home plenty of times, but the best cold brew coffee is slightly different than your instant iced coffee. You need to mix ground coffee with cool water and let the mixture steep in the fridge overnight. This mixture has to be strained the next day to get an intense concentrate.
This concentrate can be diluted and served right away. It can also be stored in the fridge for two weeks. Bit coffee brands usually make their cold brew in big-batches with this method. The cold steeping process mellows the coffee and there is no bitterness in the flavor. It is also less acidic.
Starbucks-Style Cold Brew
Most of us are die-hard fans of Starbucks cold brew. So, what is the secret behind their perfect brew? The fact is that they make the most incredible big-batch cold brew. They use a large-scale Toddy Brewing System for their big batches and also soak their brew for 20 hours before straining. Even their darkly roasted coffee does not taste bitter because of this slow extraction method.
To get the Best Cold Brew you need to
- Get the perfect grind: The best cold brew can be made if you have a specific grind texture. It should resemble the coarseness of raw sugar. This texture prevents the brew from getting bitter during the long steeping hours. While grinding coffee beans at home using a small grinder, it is best to grind them in small batches.
- Strain Slowly: If you want to get Starbucks style coffee brew at home, then you need to strain slowly. Their Toddy System relies on gravity to slowly remove the cold brew from the grounded beans. To get the same results at home, you can use a cheesecloth to slowly strain the brew.Do not squeeze or press the coffee grounds to prevent the extraction of bitter flavor. Strain the brew in batches to get the best results.
- Straining Methods: The perfect straining procedure is also important to get the perfect cold brew. After the steeping process is over, you need to strain the coffee grounds out of the water using a cheesecloth or something finer. Using a French press filter or a fine-mesh sieve alone will not be enough as you might end up getting a sludgy and murky concentrate. The best and most recommended method is to use a cheesecloth covered over your sieve. You can also use a thin paper coffee filter. Ensure that the filter is not made from very thin paper, else it would take forever to filter through. A vintage handkerchief also works quite well. Use a lint-free, cotton cloth to cover your sieve.
- The ratio of water and coffee: You need to use a higher ratio of coffee to water. To get the Starbucks to style cold brew at home, you can use 8 ounces of ground coffee to 8 cups of water. Drip coffee, on the other hand, uses ½ ounces of coffee per cup of water.
- Recommended Steeping Time: The recommended steeping time is 12 hours and above. It is best to steep it for 12 to 18 hours. Starbucks steeps its coffee brew for 20 hours. If you have left it steeping for 24 hours, it is alright. You might get a stronger cold brew, which you can dilute with more water.
- Serving: To make this cold brew into iced coffee, pour ½ cup of coffee concentrate over 1 cup of ice in a tall glass and then top it with ½ cup of cold water. This tastes like a very strong brew.
So, now that you have learned about the basic information about making your own best cold brew coffee at home, let’s check out the detailed recipe:
Recipe to Make Best Cold Brew Coffee at Home
Makes: 2 Quarts
- 8 ounces whole coffee beans
- 8 cups (2 quarts) filtered water
- Coffee grinder
- 2 (3-quart) jars with a lid
- Rubber band
- Fine-mesh strainer
- Coarsely grind the coffee beans using a coffee grinder. The final texture should resemble that of raw sugar. You can also do it in batches if your grinder is small.
- Pour the ground coffee in a jar and add the water. Stir the mixture gently to ensure that all the coffee gets wet. Some coffee may float on the top, but that is alright as it will slowly soak in.
- Cover the lid of the jar and refrigerate your cold brew for 12 to 18 hours.
- Next, use a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a measuring cup. Now pour the concentrate gently through the strainer. Do not squeeze or press the coffee ground as this will result in bitterness. You may have to strain in batches if your quantity is large.
- Again, transfer the strained cold brew to a clean jar for storage. Cover the jar and store in the refrigerator for two weeks.
- To serve, fill a tall glass with some ice cubes. Pour ½ cup of cold brew over the ice and ½ cup of cold water. Stir and enjoy it. You can also add some sweet cream if desired.
So, if you are fond of good and rich coffee, then cold brew is just for you. It is much more effective in regards to the caffeine kick and also more stomach-friendly. It can be easily made at home with large batches and enjoyed for days together!