How Much Coffee Do You Use in a Cold Brew? Get the Perfect Ratio Every Time

As avid coffee enthusiasts ourselves, we understand the importance of getting the perfect cup of cold brew to kickstart our day. The secret to a delicious batch of cold brew lies in the coffee-to-water ratio. With so many opinions floating around, it’s essential to find the right balance for your taste buds, as well as make the most out of your chosen coffee beans.

In this article, we’ll explore the various coffee-to-water ratios commonly used for cold brew and learn how to adjust them according to your preferences. As a rule of thumb, a higher ratio of coffee to water results in a stronger, bolder flavor. This can be enlightening for first-timers, as well as a helpful refresher for those already on their cold brew journey.

Remember, the beauty of cold brew is in its versatility – from the type of coffee bean to brewing methods and ratios, you can experiment to find what works best for you. So let’s dive in, and together, we’ll discover the perfect coffee-to-water ratio for an irresistible cold brew experience.

cold brew

Cold Brew Basics

Cold Brew Vs Iced Coffee

Let’s start by understanding the differences between cold brew and iced coffee. While both are served cold, their preparation process varies. Iced coffee is simply brewed hot and then cooled down over ice or in the fridge. On the other hand, cold brew involves steeping ground coffee in cold water for an extended period (11 to 18 hours), resulting in a concentrated coffee that is diluted with water or milk when served.

Cold Brew Coffee Benefits

Cold brew has some unique benefits that make it a popular choice at coffee shops and for home brewing:

  • Less acidic: Cold brewing results in a coffee with lower acidity, making it gentler on the stomach and suitable for those with acid reflux or sensitive stomachs.
  • Highly caffeinated: Due to the longer steeping process, cold brew tends to have higher caffeine content compared to traditional iced coffee. This makes it an excellent pick-me-up for those needing an extra energy boost.
  • Smooth and bold flavor: The cold brewing process allows for a richer, deeper flavor with less bitterness than hot-brewed coffee. It’s perfect for those who appreciate a robust coffee taste.

As for the coffee-to-water ratio in cold brewing, we recommend using 1/4 cup of coffee grounds for every 1 cup of water. You can adjust this ratio to suit your taste preferences, but using a coarser grind will yield the best results. Some sources suggest a 1:8 ratio (1 gram of coffee for every 8 grams of water) or a 1:11 ratio, depending on your brewing device and desired strength.

In short, cold brew is a delicious and versatile coffee option with multiple benefits. Experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios and steeping times to find the perfect balance for your taste buds. Happy brewing!

Brewing Process

Coffee Beans and Grind Size

When choosing coffee beans for cold brew, keep in mind the flavors you prefer. We suggest using a medium to dark roast coffee, as they provide a richer and more balanced flavor profile. Once you have selected your beans, use a coffee grinder to coarsely grind them. This not only helps in preventing the coffee from turning bitter, but also ensures the proper extraction of flavors during the steeping process.

Cold Brew Coffee Ratios

The next step in the brewing process is to decide on the right coffee-to-water ratio. A common ratio is 1:4, which means 1/4 cup of coffee grounds for every 1 cup of water. However, you can always adjust the ratio to your preference. Here’s a quick reference:

  • For a strong brew: 1/3 cup of coffee grounds to 1 cup of water
  • For a more balanced brew: 1/4 cup of coffee grounds to 1 cup of water
  • For a lighter brew: 1/6 cup of coffee grounds to 1 cup of water

Brewing Time and Temperature

After combining the coffee grounds and water, it’s time to let the steeping process begin. Brew your coffee at room temperature or inside the fridge. Steeping in the refrigerator helps in preventing any unwanted bacterial growth, while also providing a refreshing cold brew.

Here’s a general guideline for the brewing time:

  • Steep for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 24 hours at room temperature
  • Steep for a minimum of 16 hours and up to 36 hours in the refrigerator

Keep in mind, the longer you steep, the stronger and more intense the flavors will be.

During the brewing process, use a French press, a mason jar, or any other container with a lid. Just make sure the lid is secured to avoid contaminating your cold brew.

After the desired brewing time, filter the coffee grounds by straining the mixture. Voila, you now have cold brew concentrate! You can dilute the concentrate with water or milk, depending on your preference, and add ice for a refreshing touch.

Remember, with experimenting and adjusting these parameters, you’ll eventually find the perfect cold brew coffee that suits your taste buds. Happy brewing!

Cold Brew Equipment

French Press

french press

Using a French press is a simple and popular method to make cold brew coffee. Here’s the process:

  1. Measure the coffee grounds and water. We recommend using a ratio of 1/4 cup coffee to 1 cup water for cold brew.
  2. Pour the coffee grounds into the French press.
  3. Add cold water to the French press, ensuring all grounds are fully submerged.
  4. Put the lid on without depressing the plunger, and let the mixture steep in the fridge for 12 to 18 hours.
  5. After brewing, push the plunger down to separate the grounds from the coffee, then pour and enjoy your cold brew!

Mason Jar

Another convenient option for making cold brew coffee is using a mason jar. Here’s how we’d do it:

  1. Opt for a 1-quart wide-mouth mason jar for easy preparation and handling.
  2. Combine coffee grounds and water in the jar, again following a 1/4 cup coffee to 1 cup water ratio.
  3. Stir the mixture, then let it rest for 5 minutes before giving it another stir. This helps expose more grounds to the water.
  4. Place a lid on the jar and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
  5. After brewing, strain the cold brew using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to separate the grounds from the liquid.

Cold Brew Maker

If you are a frequent cold brew drinker, investing in a dedicated cold brew maker is a great idea. Here are the steps:

  1. Add coffee grounds to the designated filter/basket, adhering to the 1/4 cup coffee to 1 cup water ratio.
  2. Assemble the cold brew maker and ensure the filter/basket is in place.
  3. Pour cold water through the grounds, allowing it to drip into the carafe below.
  4. Let the coffee steep for the recommended time, typically 3 to 5 hours, depending on the specific cold brew maker.
  5. After brewing, remove and discard the grounds, then enjoy your smooth and delicious cold brew!

Serving Cold Brew

Diluting the Concentrate

When making cold brew coffee, the process starts with a concentrated coffee, usually prepared using a ratio of 1 ounce (28 grams) of coffee per 1 cup of water. To enjoy your cold brew, you’ll need to dilute the concentrate. A common dilution ratio is 1:1, meaning equal parts of concentrate and water. However, you can adjust this to your taste. Here is a simple dilution guideline:

  • Mild: 1 part concentrate, 2 parts water
  • Medium: 1 part concentrate, 1 part water
  • Strong: 2 parts concentrate, 1 part water

To dilute your cold brew, simply add the desired amount of water or milk to your pitcher, then stir in the concentrate.

Customizing Strength and Flavor

The beauty of cold brew is that you can easily customize its strength and flavor to match your preference. Experimenting with the coffee-to-water ratio when brewing the concentrate is one way to do this. Here are some common cold brew ratios to try:

  • Light brew: 1/4 cup coffee per 1 cup water
  • Medium brew: 1/3 cup coffee per 1 cup water
  • Strong brew: 1/2 cup coffee per 1 cup water

Make sure to use a coffee filter to strain the concentrate after the brewing process.

Cold Brew Recipes

Cold brew coffee is incredibly versatile and can be used in many different recipes to enhance your morning routine. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Iced Coffee: Pour the diluted cold brew concentrate over ice for a refreshing iced coffee.
  • Coffee Smoothie: Blend the concentrate with milk, ice, and your favorite sweetener for a caffeinated smoothie.
  • Cold Brew Affogato: Pour a shot of cold brew concentrate over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a coffee-infused dessert.

Feel free to get creative and explore new ways to incorporate cold brew into your recipes! Remember to always start with high-quality coffee beans and adjust ratios to create the perfect cold brew experience for your taste buds.