We love hearing about all of your misadventures and experiments in brewing your own cold brew. There are a few questions that we've gotten over the years about brewing that smooth sweet bean juice at home. We asked our Head Brewer at Cold Brew, Brent Wolczynski, to respond to our most frequently asked cold brewing questions. He offered his expertise in brewing and house plant care.
What are the best coffees to use for cold brew?
For a more fruit-forward profile (and especially if you like your cold brew black) African coffees are best - try Ethiopia Suke Quto. If you like something a bit more mellow with notes of chocolate and prefer to sweeten things up with milk and sugar, go Guatemala Finca El Injerto Bourbon. A well-balanced blend like House Blend is another great option for something complex and sweet that can be enjoyed on its own or stand up to milk and sugar.
How long does Cold Brew last after making it?
7-10 days refrigerated. If your cold brew starts to taste off, some of your plants might want it! Dilute it with 2 parts water, 1 part cold brew. Water plants that prefer a slightly acidic soil like roses, begonias, and ferns. Just don’t overdo it.
Do I need to keep Cold Brew refrigerated after making it?
How long should I let my Cold Brew steep for?
16 hours, but don’t stress. Anywhere from 14-18 is fine. We’ve found the water and coffee reach an equilibrium, which slows extraction drastically towards the end. Just don’t get into the 20-24 hour range or you’ll get some unpleasant woody notes. If you’re looking for a stronger profile, just dilute a little less rather than steeping longer.
What grind should I use for Cold Brew?
Coarse, like you would grind for a french press. This makes filtration nice and easy and allows you to steep while you sleep.
Can I make Cold Brew with decaf beans?
TOTALLY! Trapper Creek as cold brew is super mellow and sweet.
I don’t have room in my fridge - do I have to leave the Filtron/brewer in the fridge while it’s brewing, like the instructions say?
Nope! Room temp is fine, but you want to get the cold brew in a fridge as soon as it’s done filtering to get it cold as quickly as possible. Creating an ice bath and letting whatever vessel you filtered into swim around in there expedites the cooling process rapidly. If you’re steeping in your fridge try a longer steep closer to 20 hours.
How many uses can I get out of the wool filter? Should it be refrigerated?
A lot if you take care of it. After every use it’s good practice to rinse and squeeze with hot water until it runs clear. Then store it in a plastic bag in the freezer. When you’re ready to make more cold brew again, just let it defrost in some warm water.
What should the coffee to water ratio be?
12 ounces of coffee (that’s one bag of Stumptown coffee) to 64 ounces of water is a good place to start to yield cold brew concentrate. You can then cut 1:1 with water (or milk!) when you’re ready to drink. That should yield you a little under a gallon of cold brew, which gives you 12 ounces of cold brew a day for 10 days!
Should I filter the water I use to make Cold Brew?
Yep! Cold brew is ~98% water so make sure it’s fresh and clean!
If I’m not using a Filtron or other device with a built in filter, what are my options?
My favorite method is steeping in a French press just like you would hot coffee, but instead of plunging after 4 minutes, plunge after 16 hours. Then pour that through a paper coffee filter (chemex, v60, kalita, melitta, whatever) to polish it off.
Want more info on brewing Cold Brew? Check out our Filtron brew guide or our video below.