The Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee: Everything You Need to Know

In recent years, cold brew coffee has risen in popularity as a viable alternative to hot brewed coffee. It is a way of making coffee that calls for steeping coffee grounds in cold water for a long time – typically 12 to 24 hours – before filtering the grounds out.

A glass of cold brewed coffee with coffee bean on the ground

The end product is a coffee concentrate that is mellow, less acidic, and less harsh and can be diluted with water or served over ice.

Iced coffee, which is created by brewing hot coffee and then pouring it over ice, is not the same as cold brew coffee.

When coffee grounds are steeped in cold water, a new chemical reaction and flavor profile occur, creating cold brew coffee.

A smoother, less acidic cup of coffee is the result of the more thorough extraction of flavor compounds made possible by the longer steeping period.

Although it is easy to make cold brew coffee at home, it has also grown in popularity as a menu item at coffee shops and cafés.

Some coffee shops even sell nitro cold brew, which is cold brew that has been given a nitrogen gas infusion to give it the creamy, frothy texture of Guinness beer.

Cold brew coffee is a pleasant and refreshing way to drink coffee, whether it is consumed at home or while traveling.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Ground coffee beans are steeped in cold water for a lengthy time, typically 12 to 24 hours, to create cold brew coffee.

Woman pouring cold brew coffee into glass on table

Cold brew coffee is soaked gently in cold water as opposed to regular hot coffee, which is prepared fast with hot water and has a more acidic flavor.

Coffee grinds and cold water are combined in a container and steeped for several hours to create cold brew coffee.

Following the proper amount of steeping time, the coffee is filtered to remove the grounds, leaving a concentrated coffee that can be flavored with milk or water.

Due to its distinct flavor and reduced levels of acidity, cold brew coffee has become more and more popular in recent years.

To make a tasty and hydrating beverage, it is frequently combined with milk or cream, served over ice, or both.

How is Cold Brew Coffee Made?

Coffee beans that have been coarsely ground are steeped in cold water for 12 to 24 hours to create cold brew.

Pouring cold brew iced coffee in glass cup with ice cubes

In a container, water and coffee grinds are combined, and it is let to sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

The coffee steadily infuses into the water during this time, producing a rich, smooth concentrate.

Depending on the final product’s intended strength, the coffee to water ratio can vary.

One part coffee to four parts water is a typical ratio, but some individuals prefer a stronger brew and use one part coffee to three parts water instead.

The coffee is strained through a filter to get the grounds out after it has steeped for the predetermined amount of time.

You can keep the finished cold brew concentrate in the fridge for up to two weeks.

When ready to serve, the concentrate can be diluted to the desired strength by blending it with water or milk. For a cool iced coffee beverage, it can also be poured over ice.

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

Increasingly more people are drinking cold brew coffee because of its distinct flavor and myriad health advantages. The advantages of cold brew coffee include the following:

Lower Acidity

Compared to ordinary coffee, cold brew coffee has less acidity. Cold brew coffee is 50–67% less acidic than ordinary coffee, according to a Toddy research.

tall glass cold brew coffee with ice and milk

It is therefore the best option for those who experience acid reflux or other digestive problems.

Cold brew coffee is less prone to discolor your teeth because of the lower acidity.

Smooth Flavor Profile

Compared to ordinary coffee, cold brew coffee has a smoother and less bitter flavor.

Mason jars of tasty cold brew and coffee beans on white background

The taste of the coffee beans is extracted throughout the cold brewing procedure without the bitterness that results from using hot water.

Because of this, it’s a fantastic option for those who like their coffee black. The smooth flavor characteristic of cold brew coffee makes it a fantastic base for iced coffee beverages.

On general, cold brew coffee is tastier and more nutritious than ordinary coffee.

It is a great option for those who wish to enjoy their coffee without experiencing any unfavorable side effects because of its reduced acidity and smoother flavor profile.

How to Enjoy Cold Brew Coffee

Straight Up

Cold brew coffee is best consumed plain, without any added additions. This enables you to savor the cold brew’s distinctive flavor and smoothness to the fullest.

Mason jars with cold brew coffee on wooden tray

Pour the cold brew concentrate over ice to serve, then take a sip.

Iced Coffee

Make an iced coffee with your cold brew if you want your coffee with a bit extra volume.

Pouring milk into glass of cold brew coffee on dark table

Simply add your preferred amount of cold brew concentrate to a glass of ice, top with water or milk, and serve. To taste, you can also add sweetener or flavoring syrup.

Make a cold brew latte for a creamier iced coffee. Pour equal portions of cold brew concentrate and milk into a glass; top with ice and, if preferred, a sweetener.

For a foamy, latte-like texture, you can also use a milk frother.

A cold brew float may be made if you’re feeling particularly daring. Pour cold brew concentrate over a scoop of your preferred ice cream in a glass. Enjoy after adding whipped cream on top.

Overall, cold brew coffee is a flexible drink that may be consumed in a number of different ways.

To create the ideal cold brew, experiment with various ingredients and ratios.

Frequently Asked Questions

Iced coffee in a glass jar with a spoon full of coffee beans

What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for several hours. The coffee is then filtered to remove the grounds, resulting in a smooth and flavorful coffee concentrate that can be served over ice or mixed with water or milk.

Is cold brew coffee stronger than regular coffee?

Cold brew coffee typically has a higher caffeine content than regular coffee. However, the taste and strength can vary depending on the type of beans used and the brewing method. Some people prefer the smooth and mellow taste of cold brew coffee, while others prefer the bold and robust flavor of traditional hot brewed coffee.

How long does it take to make cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee requires several hours of steeping time, usually between 12 and 24 hours. However, the actual brewing time can vary depending on the recipe and personal preference. It’s important to experiment with different brewing times and ratios to find the perfect balance of flavor and strength.

Can cold brew coffee be heated?

While cold brew coffee is typically served cold, it can be heated up if desired. However, heating the coffee may alter the flavor and texture, so it’s best to experiment with small batches before committing to a larger serving.

How long can cold brew coffee be stored?

Cold brew coffee can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. However, the flavor and quality may start to deteriorate after the first few days. It’s best to consume the coffee as soon as possible to enjoy the full flavor and freshness.

Is cold brew coffee more expensive than regular coffee?

Cold brew coffee can be more expensive than regular coffee due to the longer brewing time and higher coffee-to-water ratio. However, many coffee shops and retailers offer affordable cold brew options, and it’s also possible to make cold brew coffee at home using simple ingredients and equipment.

Cold brew iced coffee. Refreshing cold summer drink on a dark table


Popular alternatives to typical hot coffee include cold brew coffee. It is prepared by steeping ground coffee in room-temperature water for a number of hours, typically 12 to 18 hours or even longer.

After filtering the grounds out, the beverage is chilled before being served either alone, over ice, or diluted with water. The end effect is a coffee that is less caffeinated, smoother, sweeter, and less acidic.

Low brew temperature and a big grind size are the two main components that give cold brew its distinctive properties.

The big grind size limits the surface area of the coffee particles, slowing the extraction process and resulting in a less bitter taste. The low temperature reduces the extraction of bitter chemicals and acidity.

For some whose stomachs find normal coffee to be too bitter, cold brew coffee is a fantastic alternative. Also, it is a wonderful option for individuals who wish to cut back on their caffeine consumption without affecting coffee’s flavor.

The fact that cold brew coffee is not always healthier than ordinary coffee should be noted. It still has caffeine and other ingredients that some individuals may find harmful.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.