Cold Brew At Home: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Making Yours
As you may now have discovered, coffee offers unlimited flexibility owing to its many different variations in recipes, coffee bean grounds, and the brewing process. Those looking to venture into the vast world of coffee making will eventually stumble upon cold brew coffee. For the uninitiated, the first thing to know about cold brew coffee is that it is far from being just hot coffee poured over ice.
Instead, it's best to think of this distinctly strong and often pricier coffee that peaks in popularity during the hot days of summer as an entirely different beast. It's made slowly by steeping coffee beans before straining them out, resulting in a smooth and sweet brew that lacks hot brewed coffee's acidity and bitterness. Although making it yourself at home is relatively simple, we must admit that it does involve a bit more than just pouring water onto a batch of coffee beans and forgetting about them.
If you're interested in making your own cold brew at home, avoid these common mistakes to ensure your first sip is one to remember.
1. Using the wrong beans
While it may sound obvious, the type of beans you use is one of the most important factors regardless of which brewing process you opt for. In this case, use a quality batch of relatively new coffee beans. In most cases, those that are several weeks old should be the upper limit. Even though the cold brew process is far more forgiving when it comes to the age of beans, using those that are already months old will only lead to noticing its lifeless qualities.
2. Grinding them too fine
Other brewing methods like pour-over require finely grinding the beans. Fine ground coffee will lead to being over-extracted and result in bitter coffee. However, that is not the case with cold brew since it involves steeping the grounds for 12-24 hours, so make sure to grind them coarsely instead.
3. Using the wrong ratio
The basic formula is one gallon of water to one pound of grounded coffee beans when making cold brew. For the average coffee lover just trying to experiment at home, a suitable ratio would be four cups of water to a quarter-pound of grounded coffee beans.
4. Not diluting the concentrate
No matter how long you steep your beans, the cold brew concentrate will generally be too strong to consume directly. Therefore, dilute it by mixing with water or another liquid of your choosing, such as cream or milk and its many alternatives, to cut down the intensity. When you follow the 1 gallon:1 pound ratio, your cold brew should contain roughly double the caffeine in hot drip coffee. Cutting that half and half with water will keep your caffeine consumption at moderate levels while also mitigating the intensity.
5. Storing the brew for too long
There are several reasons why cold brew is better - one being their longer shelf life. If you have some undiluted cold brew concentrate left, you can keep it chilled in the fridge for up to two weeks. However, note that its flavour quality will typically degrade past the first week. If you opted to add water to cut the concentrate further, its shelf life would decrease to just two to three days.
Making your own cold brew at home certainly sounds exciting and well-worth trying out. Hopefully, these tips and some trial and error will help you land on the perfect concoction. Before getting started, why not check out our ready-to-drink cold brew coffee in Singapore first for some inspiration?
At Wake The Crew, our coffee concentrates and bottled cold brews are freshly brewed in our SFA-approved microbrewery in Singapore. We offer delivery, wholesale options, and more! Contact us today to get your caffeine fix!