Repeat after me, y’all: cold brew isn’t the same as pouring hot coffee over ice. I expect you to remember this from now on. Making this delicious concoction on your own is a drawn-out process that’s oh so worth it. Maybe you’re here because you want to perfect the best cold brew in town for your new mobile coffee shop, or perhaps it’s because you want to try making it at home. No matter the reason, there are common mistakes made when making cold brew coffee that I’m going to expose to save y’all the headache of dealing with them.
Grinding Beans Too Finely
When making cold brew coffee, one of the biggest no-nos is not grinding the beans yourself. Yep, you’re going to have to invest in a coffee grinder. With that said, pay attention to how fine you’re grinding the beans. Since you’ll be steeping them for around 12 hours, you’ll need the beans coarsely ground. Otherwise, you’ll end up over-extracting the coffee, resulting in a bitter-tasting cold brew. Y’all, nobody wants bitter coffee.
Using Fresh Beans
You don’t have to use the highest and most expensive bean to create the most delicious cold brew. I’m not saying use cheap, year-old beans; finding a middle ground works well. So, how old is too old? The cold brew process is relatively forgiving, allowing you to use beans that are a week or even a couple of months old.
Thinking You Must Use Cold Water
With a cold brew, the water temperature no longer matters. If you need to speed up the process a little bit, there’s no harm in using hot water to kick-start the brewing. Playing around with the water temperature is also a fun little experiment to conduct. Warm water may emphasize different flavors in the coffee. Begin with room temperature water if it’s a simple cup of cold brew you’re craving.
Messing up the Ratio
The basic formula for cold brew coffee is one pound of ground coffee to one gallon of water. Y’all, most likely you won’t need that much unless you’re throwing a barbeque or running a café out of your kitchen. Scale down the basic recipe and use four cups of water to a quarter-pound of coffee beans.
Failing to Dilute the Brew
The cold brew you’re creating is a concentrate. It’s a robust and intense flavor that you need to cut with water to scale back the strength of the coffee and caffeine. The experts suggest cutting the coffee fifty-fifty. Adding in cream or milk will also cut back on the bitterness and the amount of caffeine.
Storing for Too Long
An undiluted concentrate of cold brew will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. I suggest only storing it for a week because the flavor will start to degrade after that. Cutting the concentrate with water before storing it will shorten its life to only a few days.
Congratulations! Y’all will now become expert cold brew makers since you’ll avoid the common mistakes made when making cold brew coffee. What are you waiting for? You can try your first sip in a couple of days if you start today.