What Is Cold Brew Concentrate? (Guide & Tips)

Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by John Moretti

Cold brewing has become one of the most popular methods for brewing and using coffee in the world. This phenomenon has gained massive popularity in the past few years, and along with it have come cold brew variations such as cold brew concentrate. What is cold brew concentrate, and how do you use it?

Cold brew concentrate is a concentrated version of cold brew coffee that is brewed at a very high ratio of coffee to water. A typical cold brew concentrate recipe is 200g of coffee per liter of water. The concentrate is best drunk when diluted or used as a base or ingredient in another drink.

Cold brew concentrate can be delicious, but it is one of the most challenging forms of cold brew coffee to perfection. This process takes time and understanding, but if you get it right, this can be one of the most versatile and tasty cold brew variations you may ever try. Let’s talk about cold brew concentrate. 

What Defines Cold Brew Concentrate?

Cold brew is not difficult to define, as the name says it all. Cold brew coffee is coffee that has been brewed entirely cold, without introducing heat to the process at any pint. However, cold brew concentrate is slightly more complicated than that.

The concentrated version of cold brew is produced by cold brewing coffee with a very high coffee to water ratio. Typical ready-to-serve cold brew is made with a brew ratio of around 70g of coffee per liter of water.

Photo of a bottle of cold brewed ccffee lying on a table

However, cold brew concentrate may use as much as 200g of coffee per liter of water. It is not common to brew such a large amount of concentrate, but this is done by larger coffee shops and cafes that use large quantities of concentrate every day.

The typical at-home brewer will make around 100 – 200 milliliters of cold brew concentrate per batch, which is much more manageable.

Cold brew concentrate is typically used as a base for creating interesting and delicious drinks. The concentrate is used in a wide variety of cold and iced coffee drinks, cocktails, and even tonics. 

Concentrated cold brew is difficult to get right, but if you brew it well, it can be delicious and very versatile when used in combination with other ingredients.

How To Make Cold Brew Concentrate

Making cold brew concentrate is not a complicated process. However, the ratios used and the type of coffee used in the brew drastically affect the favor and overall success of the brew.

To prepare cold brew concentrate, begin with filtered water, good quality coffee, preferably an espresso roast, a cold brewing device, and a good quality coffee grinder.

The first step is to determine how much concentration you want to make. This will be based on what you want to use it for, and it will determine how much coffee and water to use in the brew.

A ratio of around 200g of ground coffee per liter of water is a good place to start. This ratio produces a very strong concentrate, but it can be easily adjusted according to your preferences.

With this ratio, brewing 200ml of cold brew concentrate requires 40g of ground coffee. Grind the coffee beans as fresh as possible, and be sure to use a coarse grind size.

Place the ground coffee and filtered water into your cold brew brewer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not own a cold brew brewer, using a standard immersion coffee brewer such as a French press will work well for this brewing process as well.  

Once the ground coffee and water are combined, place the entire vessel into the refrigerator for between twelve and twenty-four hours. Sixteen hours is a good brew time for most concentrates, but some coffee beans will take longer to fully extract.

After this time has elapsed, decant the cold brew concentrate, and store it in an air-tight vessel for when you are ready to use it. This type of concentrate can be stored in a refrigerator for up to fourteen days.

How To Use Cold Brew Concentrate

Cold brew concentrate is a very strong, very intense, very rich version of cold brew. This coffee is hard to drink on its own, but it can be used in various ways to create delicious cold brew beverages.

One of the most popular uses for concentrate is to dilute it over ice to create a delicious black coffee cold brew drink.

Other popular uses include a dirty cold brew which is concentrate poured over ice-cold milk, cold brew cocktails including a cold brew martini, and a cold brew negroni.

Combining cold brew concentrate with tonic water and ice is an excellent way to cool down on a hot day. Blending cold brew concentrate with ice creates a delicious cold brew freeze, and pouring concentrate over ice cream is a tasty modern twist on a classic affogato. 

However, if you choose to use cold brew concentrate, be sure to dilute it or cut it with a sweet ingredient, as this beverage can be very harsh to drink when brewed with high ratios.

Is Cold Brew Concentrate Good?

Cold brew concentrate is becoming very popular, but there is still a lot of confusion surrounding this drink. Many coffee lovers who taste cold brew concentrate do not enjoy the flavor, but this is usually because it is not meant to be drunk on its own.

A concentrated cold brew is delicious, but it is a concentrate. This liquid is incredibly strong and full of dense flavors. This means that it can taste very harsh on its own and should be diluted or used as an ingredient or base in another type of drink or a dessert.

When used correctly, cold brew concentrate is delicious. When sipped on its own, it can be difficult to drink. Take the time to find a good way to use cold brew concentrate that works for you and suits your taste, and you will never be disappointed by this beverage again.


Photo of iced cold brewed with a pair of sunglasses beside it

Cold brew concentrate is straightforward to make but easy to ruin. If the incorrect ratios are used, the brew can go bad very quickly, but if it is made well, cold brew concentrate can be delicious as well. 

Take the time to experiment with various cold brew concentrate recipes and ratios to find what tastes best for you. Every concentrate must be diluted in some way, so be sure to find a method of mixing or using concentrate that you enjoy.