Cold brew coffee is a summertime staple. In fact, it’s such a staple that you can buy it in stores these days.
Cold brew coffee is simply coffee that has been brewed using cold water for a long period of time. The process of brewing coffee this way results in a surprisingly smooth, tasty cup of coffee.
Making your own cold brew at home is easy to do and allows you to control the ingredients. This article will explain what cold brew concentrate is, how it’s made, and how you can make your own at home.
Read on to learn more about cold brew concentrate and how it differs from regular cold brew coffee.
What is cold brew concentrate?
Cold brew concentrate is a special concentrate that is made by steeping roasted coffee beans in cold or room temperature water for several hours. The resulting product is an extremely smooth and flavorful concentrate that can be mixed with water or milk to create a beverage.
Brewing coffee this way also eliminates the bitterness that some people dislike in traditional hot brewed coffee.
Cold brew coffee is made with a different coffee to water ratio than regular cold brew coffee. This is where it differs a lot, and the flavors of the coffee are also evolving.
I like to use a coarse grind size for brewing cold brew coffee instead of a medium or medium/fine for other coffee brews. The coffee grind size looks like this:
Cold brew concentrate coffee to water ratio
The best cold brew concentrate coffee to water ratio is 1:7.5. This ratio will ensure that you’re extracting all the coffee flavor from the roasted coffee beans in a shorter time than normal.
I like to steep the coffee concentrate for 14 hours instead of 15-16 hours for regular cold brew coffee.
The coffee to water ratio might look kind of weird at the beginning, but it will be worthwhile to use it every time properly.
Tip: You can also make decaf cold brew! Check out this recipe here.
This French press holds up to 4 cups (0.95 l) of coffee with the size that I own. This is great as it will make me a large enough batch to last a few days.
I add 80 grams of coffee to 600 grams of water to the French press’ beaker and let it steep for 14 hours. This will fit perfectly in the beaker and still have a bit of room left to add the plunger after steeping, but more on how to brew later on.
What is the difference between cold brew and cold brew concentrate?
The difference between cold brew coffee and cold brew concentrate is the amount of ground coffee used relative to the amount of water. Cold brew concentrate is a lot stronger in taste and needs to be diluted before drinking, whereas cold brew coffee can be drunk as is.
You’ll want to dilute the cold brew concentrate before drinking because it has so much caffeine compared to the regular coffee, but also because of the taste. The coffee taste is so much stronger than the regular version.
I like strong coffee, but the coffee concentrate is way too strong for me to enjoy regularly, which is why I recommend diluting it before drinking. I’ll talk more about this later in the recipe.
Down below, you can see the difference between cold brew concentrate (on the left) and regular cold brew coffee (on the right):
As you can tell from the photo above, the cold brew concentrate (on the left) is a lot darker in color because of the lesser amount of water used to brew it.
Cold brew concentrate also differs in steeping time compared to the regular version. Cold brew concentrate is steeped for 14 hours, and regular cold brew needs 15-16 hours to brew that perfect cup of coffee.
I found these steeping times by making various cold brew coffee throughout the years and really like the taste of the coffee by using the times that I’ve mentioned above.
The coffee that comes out is just perfect in taste and doesn’t have any bitter and sour flavors that come after the 18-hour mark and up.
How to make cold brew concentrate?
You can make cold brew concentrate very easily when you’ve got every ingredient at home. You’ll need the following items to make cold brew concentrate at home:
- Coarsely ground coffee: 80 grams
- Cold tap water: 600 grams
- A large container or French press
I suggest using a dark or medium roasted coffee bean to make cold brew coffee in general. These coffee beans have the most amount of flavor to give in the time that they’re steeping with the water. They look like this:
When using a lighter roast for the cold brew coffee, you might not get the most flavor out of them. Lightly roasted coffee beans are best prepared with a pour over technique like a Chemex or Hario V60, where it really shines.
- Coarsely ground coffee beans: 80 grams
- Cold tap water: 600 grams
- Ice cubes to serve
To make the cold brew concentrate at home, follow the steps listed below:
- Add ground coffee beans to a large container, preferably a French press beaker.
- Pour the cold water on top.
- Stir the coffee mixture until all coffee grounds are equally wetted.
- Cover your container and let it steep on your kitchen counter for the next 14 hours.
To filter the coffee, follow the next steps:
- When using a French press, simply place the plunger on top and press down as you'd normally do when brewing coffee. Pour the coffee concentrate into a nice mug.
- When you're using a large container of some sorts, grab a fine-mesh sieve and place a kitchen towel or cheesecloth in there. Now, pour the coffee mixture on top and let the coffee filter through. You're now left with clean cold brew concentrate.
To serve the cold brew coffee:
- As this cold brew concentrate recipe makes 4 cups of coffee, pour 1/4 of the cold brew concentrate into a cup or glass of choice.
- Add enough ice cubes to cool the coffee completely.
- Now, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water, milk, or milk alternative of choice to the coffee. I like diluting my coffee with milk, as this makes it a bit more unique.
You've now made some amazing cold brew concentrate that you can enjoy for the upcoming days.
This recipe yields 4 cups of diluted cold brew coffee in total. The amount of coffee produced will not be enough to fill these cups of coffee from the start, but it will once it's diluted.
You can also choose to dilute the coffee a bit more, depending on your taste. If the coffee is a bit too strong, add some more water or milk of choice.
On the other hand, if you feel like the coffee needs a bit more punch, consider diluting the coffee less than I've mentioned.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 34Total Fat: 1.84gSaturated Fat: 1.05gUnsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 23mgCarbohydrates: 2.56gSugar: 2.98gProtein: 1.83g
Note: Coffee itself doesn’t contain any calories. When you dilute the cold brew coffee concentrate with anything other than water, you’re adding calories to your cold brew coffee.
I used whole milk to dilute my cold brew coffee, and the number of calories is based on adding 1/4 cup (60 ml) to the cold brew recipe.
How do you use cold brew concentrate?
You can use the cold brew concentrate in various iced coffee drinks that require a strong coffee that has been cooled completely. For example, you can use the cold brew concentrate as the basis for:
The coffee concentrate is so nice and strong of flavor that it will have to be diluted before adding it to a coffee recipe except when a recipe calls for a cold brew concentrate without diluting it.
An example of these kinds of recipes are as followed:
If you don’t feel like making coffee recipes with your coffee concentrate, you can also drink it diluted with a bit of water or milk and some ice cubes, as I mentioned in the brewing guide.
It’s just the perfect summer recipe that you can’t get enough of. This is why I suggest making a bigger batch than you think you’re going to need.
I always find myself making a big batch of cold brew coffee concentrate and already running low within two days of making it.
Caffeine content cold brew concentrate
The caffeine content of cold brew concentrate is between 240-280 mg per cup (0.24 l) of coffee. (source)
As more coffee is used in making cold brew concentrate, the caffeine can change slightly. So I believe it’s in the upper level of 250 mg per cup of coffee.
The amount of caffeine can also change depending on the coffee beans used and what their origin is.
A great way to eliminate caffeine from cold brew coffee is by using a decaffeinated coffee bean. These coffee beans are great and make for amazing coffee without caffeine.
If you want to learn more about the difference between decaf coffee and how great it is, you can check out this great article I wrote.
How much cold brew should I drink?
As you can see from the caffeine content of the cold brew concentrate, it’s best to stick with one or two cups of cold brew a day. Up to 400 mg of caffeine is a good number for most adults, so it might not be best to go over this limit. (source)
As the cold brew concentrate has a ton of caffeine but is diluted before drinking, it is safe to drink one cup of cold brew coffee a day. You can also drink two, but you’ll have reached the limit for that day.
For me, it’s not worth it to finish my amount of caffeine in just a few hours with just two coffees. I like to drink one cup of cold brew coffee a day and then add some regular hot coffee divided throughout the day.
This works amazing when you’ve got a tough day ahead and want to stay focused the whole workday and not feel the caffeine’s adverse effect.
In my opinion, this coffee concentrate is one of the best coffees to drink in the summertime.
It’s great to know the difference between regular cold brew coffee and its concentrate version. You can use this coffee in so many great coffee recipes that you can get through the summer without running out of new coffee ideas.
I’d love to see you back on my blog very soon as I’ve got so many coffee recipes to share with you. In the meantime, you can check out the coffee recipes I’ve listed below if you feel like trying even more coffee recipes today.
Is cold brew coffee a staple for the summertime? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!