Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Barry Gray
I’d never been a fan of cold brew coffee, and the reason was quite simple. I had tried it only a couple of years ago, and as a true coffee enthusiast, I had a particular picture in my mind of what a good coffee should taste like. Unless encouraged to try something new, I usually stick to what I know and love; this, I have learned, is a wrong move!
Once You Give Cold Brew Coffee A Go, Things Can Change
Once I tried cold brew coffee, my world changed, and cold brew coffee is now a part of my coffee repertoire regularly. It might be a best-kept secret, but it’s effortless to make.
To make a cold brew, you only need half-decent coarsely ground coffee beans, a jar, water, and a strainer. Plonk the ground beans in water, cover, and store in the fridge for around 12 -24 hours. This delicious extraction can form the base of all delightful iced coffee recipes, from the plain and simple to the very extravagant. I’ve even added a secretly easy recipe to help you make basic cold brew.
In those days, before I had tried cold brew, real coffee was just that: no adornments, no fiddly bits, just pure good hot coffee.
But this is one thing I love about coffee: tastes change, and new fads come and go.
Coffee Shops Became A ‘Thing’.
During my university years, I developed a love for coffee. Numerous coffee shops were tucked away near my campus, and I made exploring and trying their various offerings a habit.
I admit my family were not seasoned coffee drinkers. Most drank tea with much relish, but my father liked coffee, so he was allowed a cup now and then!
I do remember being amazed at the entire coffee shop scene when I first came across it. They had drinks I had never heard of before, as my hometown was more about regular coffee, either with or without milk, and nothing else.
So, when you had that background as a kid, how do you think it then felt when you came across a coffee drink that wasn’t even hot? It seemed like an alien concept to me, as I’m sure it did to others as well.
Do You Remember Your First Hit Of ‘The Freshly Ground Coffee’ Smell?
When I started traveling to coffee shops to kill time before or between classes, I got a whiff of the most heavenly smell I had ever experienced— freshly ground coffee.
I had a latte, and I never looked back. Due to this somewhat limited experience, my mind would always only consider hot coffee. Plus, the weather was pretty chilly where I lived, and a hot cup of soup or coffee was the thing.
Later in life, I bought an iced Starbucks while grocery shopping, which blew my mind. It wasn’t the most exciting coffee I have ever had, in hindsight, but it certainly opened up a new world of coffee for me.
A cold brew is an exciting option and a new experience you cannot miss. Now, I see this as a more refreshing drink than I had ever thought possible, and not just on those hot days, either.
The Secret of How To Make Cold Brew
But here’s the great thing. You do not have to simply go to a coffee shop in order to have a cold brew. Instead, you can make it yourself, which is a lot easier than you would have expected.
To make cold-brew espresso, you will need:
- 1 cup coarsely ground coffee beans – Any will do
- 3 cups cold water
- A large jar or pitcher
- A fine mesh strainer or coffee filter
- Combine the coffee grounds and cold water in the jar or pitcher.
- Stir to combine and make sure all of the grounds are wet.
- Cover the jar or pitcher and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
- After the coffee has steeped, strain it into another pitcher through the fine mesh strainer or coffee filter.
- Discard the coffee grounds.
- Your cold brew espresso is now ready to enjoy
See, I told you that this was easy.
Here Are Some Great Extra Tips
But I’m not only about trying to get you to taste some different ways of experiencing coffee. I want you to have the best coffee-tasting experience possible, and that’s why I have a few tips designed to make life that bit easier.
You can use any coffee beans to make cold brew espresso, but some prefer dark roast for a richer flavor. You can also experiment with different coffee blends to find your favorite. Coffee blending is part of the fun of coffee, and if you want to find out more, read here.
You do not need a particular machine to make cold-brew espresso. You only need a jar or pitcher and a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter.
However, some cold-brew coffee makers can make the process easier. A friend of mine practically only drinks cold brew coffee, so they have invested in a cold-brew coffee maker; another has an attachment to their standard espresso machine.
Cold brew espresso can be served on its own or mixed with milk, water, or other liquids to create various drinks. It can also be used as the base for iced coffee drinks, such as lattes and frappuccinos. The more recipes you search for cold brew, the more interesting it becomes as a new way to drink coffee.
Some Points To Keep In Mind
Use the best water you can; it might be filtered if your area doesn’t supply it naturally. Sadly, this is something a lot of people are used to, and if your water is poor, then filtered is the way to go.
Make sure your coffee is on the more robust side. There are some great coffees with a more hearty flavor.
The process of extraction by water does tend to remove the acidity from the beans, making it more mellow. You don’t want your coffee to become so mellow that it cannot stand up to any ingredients in the more intricate cold brew coffee recipes.
Wait to soak for no more than 24 hours—I use the 12-hour soak period. I feel that soaking too long can over-extract. Once you’ve removed the ground, you can store it in the refrigerator for about a week.
What are the Best Beans for a Cold Brew Espresso?
I’ve mentioned this on several occasions in other posts, but the beans are at the absolute root of making any decent coffee, and a cold brew espresso is no different.
But with so many to choose from, which beans actually work best?
I would personally opt for a dark roast. However, some people may prefer going for a medium-dark roast as the slow extraction process doesn’t produce the same bitterness levels as you would normally get.
A medium grind will also be best. This should strike a real balance between getting enough flavor and not over-extracting the coffee.
Here Are Some Great Reasons To Try Cold-Brew
I did fall in love with a cold brew, and I did so for various reasons. But I don’t want to keep those reasons to myself, so let me share them with you now.
- Smoother flavor: Cold brew espresso is typically less acidic and bitter than traditional hot espresso because the cold water extraction process draws out fewer bitter compounds from the coffee beans. The result is an authentic coffee flavor minus the bite.
- More concentrated flavor: Cold brew espresso is more concentrated than traditional espresso, so you get more taste in each sip.
- Longer shelf life: Cold brew espresso can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days without losing flavor. For example, I often make mine over weekends for barbeques so it is ready to serve.
- Versatile: Cold brew espresso can be enjoyed independently or used as a base for other drinks, such as iced coffee, lattes, and frappuccinos.
The Magical Process of Cold Brew
The process that makes cold brew espresso so tasty is the cold water extraction. Cold water extracts different compounds from coffee beans than hot water, resulting in a less acidic and bitter coffee with a smoother flavor profile. It’s a gentle, palatable drink.
Cold brew is quite versatile, not only for making excellent iced coffees.
So, while it is excellent for drinks such as lattes, frappuccinos, macchiatos, and other iced brews, you can also use the mixture in cocktails like Espresso martini.
Cold brew is also an excellent addition to desserts. To name a few, coffee cake, ice cream, and tiramisu are mind-blowingly good desserts for coffee lovers.
How Should It Taste?
Finally, how should your cold brew espresso taste? Well, it depends on the beans, but I tend to find my cold brew to be quite smooth and well-balanced compared to other ways I can drink something containing an espresso.
This is all thanks to the extraction process and the time it takes for the coffee to be extracted. This slow process seems to stop all of the harsher aspects of the coffee from dominating, making it all a far more pleasurable drink than you would expect.
Making a cold brew espresso is very easy, but it takes patience as you need to wait at least 12 hours for the coffee to be extracted. However, it does mean you get a significantly smoother coffee at the end, and it’s well worth the wait.
After it’s brewed, it’s then up to you as to how you will enjoy it. Add nutmeg or cinnamon or perhaps some syrups to change the flavor. It really is easy to change things around depending on your own personal likes.