Cold brew coffee can be a year-round staple or a warm-weather treat, depending on where you live. And, that’s the beauty of cold brew: it’s so versatile!
In comparison to flash-chilled or iced coffee, cold brew offers rich flavors and a creamy mouthfeel. Since cold brew is brewed… well, cold… the water doesn’t break down the natural compounds that lead to the flavors that many find undesirable such as bitterness and acidity.
This smooth and creamy cold coffee beverage started as a coffee shop special and has since exploded into a daily fixture for many coffee drinkers.
The popularity of cold brew led to it being a key ingredient in many caffeinated recipes, from cozy winter cocktails to fruity summer spritzers.
Today, you’ll learn:
- The easiest way to make cold brew concentrate at home
- What grind setting to use on the JavaPresse manual grinder for the best cold brew ever (+how to get your hands on a FREE coffee grinder!)
- How to make 5 caffeinated recipes using cold brew
Let’s get brewing.
How to Make the Best Cold Brew Coffee at Home
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of brewing cold coffee, it’s important to remember:
All coffees taste different!
Some coffees taste floral and fruity, while others present deep, rich notes of nuts or chocolate. Don’t be afraid to experiment with coffees from different regions and discover which natural flavors you like best in your cold brew.
- Pro Brewing Tip: Since much of the acidity is removed when brewing coffee cold, we recommend using a medium-roast coffee. This roast level will highlight the subtle acidity without drowning out the flavors and smooth mouthfeel of the cold brew.
And, since cold brew is brewed as a concentrate, you can adjust the strength to match your coffee preferences, too!
Need to dilute your cold brew concentrate to match a recipe? We’ll show you how!
2 Home Brewing Methods for Cold Brew: Immersion & Drip
When it comes to making cold brew at home, you have two choices:
- Immersion Method: Using a device such as a French Press, Toddy, or a mason jar, combine the water and grounds for 12+ hours before filtering out the ground. The immersion method of brewing coffee results in an intensely aromatic experience and rich flavors. Enjoy as-is or add milk and sugar for a flavorful experience!
- Slow Drip: The slow drip cold brewing method results in a crisper, lighter cup overall, but is an excellent option when you need cold brew quickly or want to highlight specific flavors. Although more challenging to complete at home, you can create a DIY slow drip brewer with an AeroPress, some filters, ice, and a mug!
Is one cold brew method better than the other? Nope! It all depends on what you like in your cold brew and what you’re looking to achieve in the cup.
Use our Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee to perfect your home recipe!
Using the JavaPresse Manual Grinder to Make Cold Brew Coffee: Which Grind Setting Should I Use?
Although changing the strength of the coffee will alter the final taste, there’s one key element that can make or break a cold brew:
There’s a reason we don’t soak whole beans in hot water—it would take forever to make a tasty cup of coffee.
So, we grind coffee to speed up the process! Therefore, the smaller the grind size, the faster the water will extract the delicious natural compounds we want from the coffee.
However, with cold brew, our grounds are in contact with the water for hours at a time. If our grind size is too small, the flavors we want from the coffee will be extracted quickly and the water will continue to pull out natural compounds that lead to attributes we don’t want in a coffee, like bitterness.
This is why we make cold brew coffee with coarsely ground coffee. This should look similar to the size of kosher salt. On the JavaPresse manual coffee grinder, this will be anywhere between 13-18 clicks.
Don’t Have a Coffee Grinder? Here’s How to Get One for FREE!
It’s critical to grind coffee fresh and match the grind size to your coffee brewing method for the best taste. Hence, why pre-ground coffee makes terrible cold brew!
We’re giving away our top-rated manual coffee grinder completely free when you try JavaPresse coffee, so you can enjoy great-tasting cold brew at home.
5 Caffeinated Cold Brew Coffee Recipes You Won’t Be Able to Resist
Cold brew coffee’s versatility makes it the perfect ingredient for all sorts of beverages. Try making any of these five recipes the next time you have a hankering for a sweet and smooth cold brew adventure.
1. Cold Brew Cocktails & Mocktails
Our favorite cold brew cocktail is a Cold Brew Martini. A twist on the classic espresso martini, this boozy coffee cocktail couldn’t be easier to make. You’ll need:
- 2oz cold brew coffee
- 2oz vodka
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 1oz coffee liqueur
- 3 coffee beans as a garnish
Combine the cold concentrate, vodka, simple syrup, and liqueur in a cocktail shaker with ice and mix. Strain into a martini glass, top with three whole coffee beans for decoration, and enjoy.
Or, if you want a classic coffee cocktail sans the alcohol, try making a Cold Brew Tonic! You’ll only need three ingredients for this simple mocktail:
- 2oz cold brew concentrate
- 6oz tonic water
Pour the concentrate into a glass and mix it with tonic water. Top with ice as desired and sip away!
2. Iced Latte
Trying to replicate coffee shop quality espresso at home can be difficult, especially if you don’t have an espresso machine. But cold brew concentrate will do the trick!
Make a cold brew concentrate a little stronger than normal to capture the bold punch of an espresso shot and make iced lattes at home. Try brewing your concentrate at a 1:4, 1:5, or 1:6 coffee-to-water ratio—whatever tastes best to you!
To make an iced latte at home, combine 2oz of cold brew concentrate with 6-8oz of milk or non-dairy milk and top with ice.
If you want to get creative, add flavors like:
- Brown Sugar
- Simple Syrup
- Chocolate Sauce (Hello, iced mocha!)
3. Hot Coffee
Surprise! Cold brew concentrate can be used to make hot coffee, too.
If you’re in a rush, traveling, or feeling a little laid back one morning, all you have to do is add a few ounces of hot water to your cold brew concentrate, and voila: hot cold brew coffee.
Now, your hot cold brew coffee won’t taste as if you normally brewed hot coffee. Remember, cold brew coffee has far less acidity and this will still be the case when you add heat to it. It’ll still taste smooth and rich but may lack the complexities you enjoy in a pour over coffee.
Nevertheless, hot cold brew coffee is the perfect last-minute coffee recipe for when you’re on-the-go.
4. Cold Brew Protein Shakes
Many athletes choose to drink coffee before a workout. The stimulating properties of caffeine are a fantastic pick-me-up before lifting weights or doing cardio.
But no one said your after-workout protein shake couldn’t be caffeinated, too! To add a kick to your protein intake, follow this recipe:
- 1 banana
- Protein powder of choice
- 3/4 cup cold brew
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. For varying flavors and healthy nutrients, consider adding other ingredients such as:
- Peanut Butter
Bonus Recipe: These caffeinated shakes can be transformed into a cold brew dessert with one simple switch: use ice cream instead of protein. Follow the same instructions and you’ve got yourself a creamy cold brew milkshake! While not as nutritious, cold brew milkshakes are just as delicious!
5. Iced Coffee Lemonade
What’s the one drink that comes to mind when you think about the hot summer sun? Lemonade.
The thirst-quenching drink is a summertime staple. But, all that sun exposure can make you sleepy. Add some caffeine to your summer day with an iced coffee lemonade!
This recipe is a variation on the popular coffee shop drink, an espresso lemonade.
To get started, gather the following ingredients:
- 2oz cold brew concentrate
- 6-8oz lemonade
- Lemon slice for garnish
- Seltzer, if desired
Add lemonade and ice to a glass and top with cold brew concentrate for a cool cascading effect. Garnish with a lemon slice. To make this drink more refreshing and crisp, add a splash of seltzer.
Use Specialty Coffee for the Finest Cold Brew Flavor
No matter what cold brew coffee recipe you choose to make, the flavor all boils down to the type of coffee you use.
You want your cold brew coffee to be rich and full of flavor, not dull and tasteless!
That’s why we always use specialty-grade coffee—no matter if we’re brewing cold brew, espresso, or drip coffee.
Specialty coffee is coffee that has met a specific, quantifiable level of quality, as judged by coffee professionals around the world. As a result of this dedication to quality, specialty coffee boasts unparalleled flavors like crisp green apple, smooth milk chocolate, tart citrus, and so much more. It’s an adventure in every cup!
Before you make a cold brew coffee recipe, make sure you have delicious specialty coffee on hand. Lucky for you, we’ve got a variety of specialty coffee blends and beans for you to choose from!