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What Is Cold Brew Coffee and Why Is It Special?

Cold brew coffee has existed for many years, particularly in New Orleans in the USA, but was brought to mainstream attention by – whisper it – Starbucks, in 2015.

Pretty ironic since it is now seen as the ultimate hipster statement drink.

But what is cold brew coffee, and is it worth your time?

First, it’s important not to confuse iced coffee with cold brew coffee. Iced coffee is brewed hot, but served cold. This usually means it is somewhat diluted, or served a few hours after being brewed.

Cold brew coffee is made quite differently, by steeping ground coffee beans in room temperature water for six to twelve hours. This created a coffee concentrate that is then mixed with cold water or milk to serve.

Fans of the cold brew love it for its smooth taste and texture, and also believe it is much less acidic than hot-brewed coffee – good for those with a sensitive stomach.

So, there are definitely some big pros to cold brew coffee, but what are the cons?

Well – the time it takes to make, for one. This is not the coffee for you if you aren’t a planner or need an immediate caffeine hit. You’ll want to start the brew the night before if you want a morning coffee or put it on first thing in the morning if you prefer your cold brew as an afternoon pick-me-up.

To make cold brew coffee at home, follow these simple steps: 

  1. You’ll need freshly ground (we suggest our Cafetiere grind) coffee and fresh cold tap or still bottled water and a cold brew coffee maker/mason jar.
  2. Mix 1 part ground coffee to 5 parts water in your jar (if you’d like to drink it over ice or with milk you can use a 1:3 ratio or if you like it a bit more mellow, a 1:8 ratio also works - play around to find your perfect flavour)
  3. Let your ground coffee and water mixture sit for ideally 12 hours or even up to 18 hours (overnight is ideal).
  4. Your cold brew coffee is now ready to go. If you used a cold brew maker it will have a filter built into the lid, if you used a jar, you’ll need to filter the mixture  yourself - you can use a standard coffee filter (search ‘V60 filter’).
  5. Add sugar, sweetener, milk or other flavourings as desired (sugar syrup works well as granules don’t mix well without heat)
  6. Serve over ice (the larger the cubes the better, so it doesn’t dilute...think how you’d serve whisky!)
  7. Drink up :)

See our guide on more methods to create cold brew coffee