Mastering how to grind coffee for cold brew ensures you get an incredibly energizing beverage every morning. If you’ve never tried this drink before, it’s the perfect alternative to a traditional cup of joe, especially in the summer.
With full-bodied immersion and nuanced flavor profiles, you’ll fall in love with your regular beans in a new way. There are several things to keep in mind when you begin learning this art form. Let’s look at the steps to take as well as professional tips to help you make barista-quality brews at home.
- How To Grind Coffee for Cold Brew
- Getting Ready to Grind
- How Do I Brew Cold Brew Coffee?
- Keepin’ It Cool With Cold Brew
How To Grind Coffee for Cold Brew
The primary purpose of grinding coffee is to create the perfect surface area for optimal infusion. When water touches coffee grounds, the time it spends in contact with each granule determines the strength and flavor of your beverage.
With that said, the optimal texture for cold brew is a medium to coarse grind. You will want a slightly finer consistency than what you’d use for a French press but not nearly as fine as in espresso. When in your hands, the coffee should feel similar to sea salt with a chunkier texture.
A coarse grind allows the water to filter through the coffee quickly, extracting the sweet flavors of the beans. It’s important to remember that cold brew is sweet rather than bitter.
Also, a coarse grind offers the ideal surface area, leading to better immersion and more flavor. As such, it will provide subtle hints of the more nuanced flavor profiles of your beans.
With that said, there’s a fine line between ultra-coarse and coarse to medium grinds. It’s far too often that coffee lovers use ultra-coarse grounds, resulting in underdeveloped coffee. The grounds will have less contact with the water, which means limited flavor extraction.
On the other hand, using fine textures can also be disastrous for your cold brew. Remember, the finer the grind, the poorer the filtration process will be. As such, you might notice your coffee having a murky appearance and a more bitter flavor.
Unfortunately, finely ground coffee doesn’t allow the water to travel through the coffee as quickly. Because of this, too much flavor is extracted (known as over-extraction), creating an overly bitter cup.
Getting Ready to Grind
With a good idea of the ideal grind size for cold brew, it’s now time to get ready for the process. Fortunately, the steps are pretty easy to follow as long as you have the right equipment at your disposal.
Before You Get Started
The most important thing when cold brewing is to aim for the best flavor. An optimal way to achieve this is to grind your beans only as you need them. Typically, you’ll want to grind beans right before brewing to lessen the likelihood of lost aromas and flavors.
Coffee is a relatively volatile ingredient. So, once the grounds interact with oxygen, you can lose the flavor in mere minutes.
You’ll want to make sure you trap all of these essential flavors in your cold brew rather than release them into the air. It is the reason why you should grind your coffee only before brewing and only grind as much as you think you’ll need.
Step 1: Choosing a Grinder
Buying a grinder is one of the first things every coffee lover should consider doing. Not only is it necessary for making cold brew, but it can also make a huge difference for every other brewing method.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on professional equipment, especially since cold brew is forgiving. A blade grinder or burr grinder will work well, with the latter being more versatile.
Burr grinders are known to achieve finer and coarser grinds, making them ideal for coffee and espresso. In comparison, blade grinders are more affordable, easier to use, and have a leading edge for coarsely ground coffee.
The number one advantage that burr grinders have is that they allow for consistency. The more consistent your coffee grounds are, the better the immersion will be. Also, water will travel evenly across the grounds, so you’ll be able to steep perfectly every time.
Another massive benefit of these devices is they have customizable features. With this, you will be able to adjust the grind size and texture. Whether you want a cold brew or a steaming hot cup, burr grinders can accommodate both.
If you’re on the hunt for the most flavorful and professional-quality coffee possible, these grinders are ideal. However, they are also more expensive than blade grinders and have a slight learning curve.
As a more affordable alternative, blade grinders are convenient for beverages requiring coarse grounds. You won’t have a consistent texture as you would with burr grinders, but they work quickly.
Blade grinders pulverize your coffee using rotating blades at the bottom of the hopper. Depending on the speed at which you feed the beans into the blades, the grounds can be uneven.
As you can imagine, uneven grounds can lead to uneven extraction and a lack of flavors. Even so, blade grinders are undoubtedly the most convenient solution for first-time cold brewers because of their low cost.
As a third option, you can also buy a manual grinder instead. These tools are bound to be the least expensive choice for managing your coffee beans. Although they require more work and can take longer, they give you a more hands-on approach to preparing your coffee.
Step 2: Find the Best Coffee
One of the most commonly asked questions when working with cold brew is: What type of coffee works best? It’s important to remember that your cold brew will have an abundance of flavors for you to enjoy. With that said, it can be beneficial to find beans with strong profiles of sweet and bold flavors.
Most often, people opt for dark roasts because they are better for brewing cold. Light roasts rely on high temperatures to bring out their acidic profiles, making them less appealing for cold brew. With a medium to dark roast, you’ll experience bold and brilliant chocolate and nutty hints.
The best part about creating the perfect cold brew is testing different beans to find the ideal solution. There isn’t a specific formula for making the perfect cup, as every coffee lover has preferences. You might find that a light roast is something you’d prefer over a medium or dark roast.
Step 3: Grind the Beans
The final step to grinding your coffee for cold brew is to follow through with the grinding process. If you’re using a burr grinder, ensure you choose the proper settings for the beverage. You’ll need a coarse grind with even consistency that will allow for the ideal immersion.
When using a blade grinder, keep an eye on the beans as you work them through the machine. You might have to shake it once or twice to ensure the results come out as evenly as possible. Also, feed the perfect amount of beans for the coffee you want to make to avoid wastage.
How Do I Brew Cold Brew Coffee?
With your coffee grounds with you, it’s time to make your way onto the next step, which is making the cold brew. Fortunately, the process is fairly simple, making it a fantastic option for everyday coffee lovers.
The most time-consuming part of making cold brew is letting it steep for the perfect amount of time. You’ll likely want to consider preparing your coffee the night before so that it’s ready to go in the morning. Otherwise, the grounds won’t have enough time to steep to achieve their fullest potential.
Step 1: Purchase a Cold Brew Kit
One of the most common ways people make cold brew is by purchasing a kit with all the equipment they need. These kits will come with filters, a hopper, and a carafe. Some of the higher-end models may also feature a temperature and weight scale for artisanal coffee-making.
Alternatively, you can use your favorite coffee-making equipment that you already have at home. One of the most popular tools for cold brew is a French press, which allows for a good amount of immersion with less effort.
Step 2: Brewing Cold Brew Using a French Press
If you choose to purchase a cold brew kit, your kit will have specific instructions to follow for the perfect cup of coffee.
When using a French press, you’ll be able to get your coffee prepared quickly as well. Simply add your grinds to the French press and fill a separate container with cold filtered water.
Take the plunger out and pour the cold filtered water on top of the coffee grounds in the press. Doing this will allow the water to work into the coarsely ground coffee without any hindrances.
Step 3: Steeping the Coffee
Once you’ve combined your water and coffee grounds, it’s time to let the mixture steep. For cold brew, you’ll want to leave the mixture in your fridge overnight, typically between 12 and 14 hours. This timing will ensure all of the flavors get extracted from the beans.
An essential step of steeping is to check that you cover the French press with a lid or cloth. This process ensures the flavors are trapped inside of the carafe and don’t escape into your fridge.
Step 4: Preparing the Coffee
After 12 to 14 hours of steeping, it’s time to prepare your cold brew for drinking. Remove the cover and insert the plunger into your French press. Then, slowly push the plunger down, allowing the filter to press tightly against the beans.
Once finished, you’ll have a perfectly brewed carafe of coffee to enjoy. Lastly, remember to clean your French press as you normally would until the next time you make coffee.
Keepin’ It Cool With Cold Brew
Learning how to grind coffee for cold brew is a great way to master your favorite cold beverage. With coarsely ground coffee and a French press, you can make cafe-style cold brew entirely at home. Alternatively, you can invest in a cold brew kit for a more artisanal approach to coffee-making.