Let’s just set the record straight right away, the answer is no – iced coffee and cold brew are certainly not the same thing. And it’s a difference you’ll know and remember that first time you taste high-end cold brew – after which you might never dive into a standard iced coffee again.


All over the world, cold brew has become a big deal to say the least and retailers are well and truly capitalising on it. Generally way more expensive that standard coffee or iced coffee, cold brew tops the table in terms of premium pricing and has become a true hipster favourite. But on the plus side, it’s perfectly possible and even pretty easy to brew your own at home – not only saving a ton of money, but also having a nice stockpile of the stuff on-hand at all times.


Cold Coffee


What’s All the Fuss About?

In terms of what makes cold brew so special, the clue is in the name. Instead of being made by pouring standard filter coffee over ice, the coffee is instead brewed cold – or at room temperature. In removing the heat from the water, it takes much longer for the coffee to infuse. In fact, you’ll need to let it steep for at least 12 hours, ideally longer. But it’s totally worth it – the result being a gorgeously smooth, mellow and rich coffee without even a hint of acidity or bitterness.


Making it Happen

There are dozens of different ways of cold brewing coffee and most aficionados swear by their own unique preferences. However, it’s the same basic principle at the core of every process and really isn’t difficult – you won’t even need a great deal of equipment.


First of all, you’ll need to grind your coffee beans to a relatively course consistency. Making sure you have the finest beans you can get your hands on is important, given the way in which cold brewing won’t allow you to mask imperfections in bean quality. Grind to about the texture of breadcrumbs or sand – powder consistencies won’t work quite as well.


When it comes to adding the water, you’ll need a comparatively large dose of coffee – aim for something of a 1-to-4 ratio coffee to water. This is about twice as much as you’d usually put in a manual coffee press, but don’t worry – it won’t come out mind-blowingly strong or unpleasant. After this, it’s simply a case of mixing the coffee with the water in a suitable container. A glass fridge pitcher is ideal, just as would be any jar or plastic tub large enough.


As already mentioned, you’ll need to exercise plenty of patience and give the whole thing between 12 and 24 hours to really get into shape. During this time, the mixture can be left at room temperature if it’s not too hot at the time, or placed in the fridge. Feel free to make enough to keep you going for several days as once it’s ready, it keeps for a long time.


The final and most challenging part in the process when cold brewing is that of straining the liquid to get all of the grounds out. You can try your hand with a French press, filter it all through a paper coffee filter, use a metallic coffee filter or really anything else suitable. Or if preferred, you could try any combination of these to really make sure you get the whole lot of them out of there.