Learn How To Make the Perfect Cold Brew Coffee at Home
on Feb 02, 2024
There’s never a bad time of year to enjoy a hot cuppa, but nothing hits quite like an ice-cold brew when the sun’s scorching. As good as an iced long black or iced latte from your local café may taste, we reckon the best way to go is brewing your own cold brew at home to enjoy. And with summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to perfect your cold brew-ing game.
That’s right legends – you can make these incredibly tasty bevvies at home with limited equipment. Keen to get started? Here’s everything you need to know – including what coffee to use and what gear to get your hands on – to make your new go-to refreshing iced beverage at home.
What is Cold Brew?
Cold brew is a type of iced coffee (not to be confused with an actual ‘iced coffee’ – no ice cream to be found here). It’s made by steeping coarse coffee grounds in cold water for roughly 12-18 hours, then straining and enjoying cold, over ice.
Cold Brew vs. Iced Long Black
The flavours of iced espresso coffee and cold brew can differ greatly. An iced long black is simply adding espresso shots to cold water, served over ice. For an iced latte, swap the water for milk and voila. Now, don’t get us wrong, we love a classic iced espresso, but cold brews are something special, and the flavour is unmatched.
The straightforward cold-brewing method produces a much smoother taste compared to a long black, allowing coffee lovers to better appreciate the tasting notes of specialty coffee – much like when you use alternative brewing methods like a Moccamaster or V60. They’re usually less acidic and bitter as well.
Even better, you can batch-make cold brew ahead of time (and store in the fridge for up to seven days) so it’s ready to go whenever those coffee cravings kick in. Plus, cold brew can be used as the base for a bunch of tasty recipes, including our crowd favourite oat milk cold brew served on tap at our HQ Tasting Bar – keep an eye out for that recipe coming soon…
Before we get stuck into the step-by-step guide, here are a few key things to note:
What Coffee Works Best
Though there is some debate around the preferred roast to use for cold brew, at Will & Co, we reckon light to medium roasts are the way to go as they allow more complex and sweet flavour notes to shine.
Needless to say, you can’t go wrong with our house blend, Three-Oh-Three coffee beans. It’s our most complex blend of three origins, with notes of blackberry, raspberry, roasted peanut and lemon zest. Yum. If you’re after even more of a flavour kick, we recommend using our rotating single origin beans - browse our coffee range online.
What Brewing Vessel to Use
As noted earlier, making cold brew coffee is essentially soaking coarse coffee grounds in cold filtered water for 12-18 hours. That means you can use literally any vessel to make a perfectly good cold brew – we’re talking plungers, saucepans, buckets and pitchers. Even a vase will do the job. Just make sure it’s large enough to fit your desired amount of coffee and water.
When choosing your vessel, it’s also important to consider how you’ll filter out the coffee at the end of the infusion to ensure you don’t end up with coffee grounds in your cup. This could be a paper filter, cloth, a super fine sieve, or something else. We recommend doing a test run, pouring water from your vessel through the chosen filter, to ensure you’re good to go before starting your brew.
With all this said, if you’re looking to go all out, the Toddy brewing system is arguably the best choice in the market for making cold brew. It uses a two-filter system to deliver a super clean brew. We can’t argue with that.
Achieving a well-balanced batch of cold brew is all about getting the perfect ratio of grounds to water. While the ratio can vary depending on the coffee and an individual’s taste, most roasters recommend anything from 1:8 to 1:15. At Will & Co we follow a grounds-to-water ratio of 1:10 – it’s what we use at our HQ Tasting Bar in Bondi for both single origins and our Three-Oh-Three house blend.
If that ratio doesn’t do it for you, have some fun and experiment until you find your perfect coffee-water mix.
In addition to the coffee-to-water ratio, grind size is equally important. To make the perfect cold brew, your coffee should be ground coarse – somewhere around what you’d use for making a plunger or French press coffee. If your coffee is too fine, it can speed up the brewing time and result in an over-extracted coffee. For this reason, we don’t recommend using pre-ground packs as these will often be too fine for cold brew.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Perfect Cold Brew at Home
What you’ll need:
- 500ml filtered water
- 50g coarse ground coffee
- A vessel large enough to hold the coffee and water (if you own a Toddy, nice one)
- Something fine enough to strain your coffee – a mesh strainer, thin paper coffee filter or a thin cloth will do the job
- Coarsely grind your coffee beans – this should be around the same coarseness as you’d use for a plunger or French press coffee.
- Add the water and ground coffee into your chosen vessel and mix gently to ensure all the coffee grounds are covered.
- Place in the fridge and leave to steep overnight or for roughly 12-18 hours. If you find your first batch is a little light, leave for another hour. If it’s too strong, try an hour less.
- Strain your coffee.
- Remove the grounds from your strainer and strain again.
- Serve over ice and enjoy! Add a splash of milk, pinch of cinnamon or touch of vanilla if you’d like.
- Store any remaining cold brew in your fridge in a closed glass or plastic container for up to seven days.
And that’s all folks. Easy as.
Cold brew is a super convenient and ridiculously tasty home-brew method that’s easy to nail. You don’t need any coffee-making skills or fancy equipment to get started, but if you follow the steps above, you’ll make a ten-out-of-ten iced coffee drink to rival the pros. Now that you’ve found your perfect go-to for summer, shop our Will & Co beans and get started.