Cold Brew at Home

All chilled coffee is not created equal. Explore the process of cold-brewing a cup of coffee at home, and get adventurous with some new flavor trends.

By Asia Key

Jun 2017

Love iced coffee? You can brew it yourself with a few easy-to-find supplies—all available at your nearest grocery store.

Let’s get one thing straight: Iced coffee is not cold-brewed coffee. To break it down, iced coffee is chilled hot coffee poured into a cup filled with ice. This produces a bitter beverage that will likely put some hair on your chest. Instead, a cold-brewed cup of coffee has been steeped in cold water for 12 to 24 hours and then strained—making it less acidic and more caffeinated. We talked to Jesse Peters, the head barista at Eurasia Cafe, and Jordan Beever, Brick & Mortar Coffee’s bar manager, for tips on making cold-brewed coffee at home.

Benefits of the Home Brew

You know what you like. You know what you put in and thus, what will come out. And you’ll feel like a superhero for conquering something new. “The sense of invention and accomplishment when you brew something yourself is awesome,” Peters says. It can be challenging, but it’s all worth it to prepare that perfect cup of cold brew. Beever adds that anything you start and finish yourself, without the help of a professional or any extra money, is validating and empowering. “Learning is the spice of life,” Beever says. 

What You Need

Both coffee commanders claim you only need a Mason jar, toddy maker or Tupperware; coarse coffee filters; a coffee grinder; a strainer; and a spoon to get started. Luckily, all can be found at the grocery store. “You’ll want something you can keep secured in the fridge for a few hours,” Peters says. “Simply add your ingredients, close the container and let it sit. You may want to stir or shake it at some point in the process. Once you’re ready to taste it, the coffee needs to be filtered with a strainer or coffee filter.”

The Perfect Grind 

DIY is all about experimenting to find out what works. According to Peters, the best thing is to start with a set measurement of beans in ounces, grams or tablespoons. The amount of water varies depending on how much coffee you want at the end of the brewing process. “A good starting point for cold brew is a 15-to-1 ratio. [For] 30 ounces of water [you need] 2 ounces of beans, or [for] 300 grams of water, 20 grams of beans,” Peters says. Beever suggests starting with a coarser grind and room temperature water instead of cold. You can find fresh, ethically sourced beans at Brick & Mortar Coffee (1666 E. Saint Louis St., Springfield, 417-812-6539), Eurasia Coffee & Tea (445 E. Commercial St., Springfield, 417-720-1949), or any coffee shop in Springfield.

What’s Your Flavor?

There are always new trends to incorporate in your home-brewing process and endless possibilities for a new flavor profile. “One of the trends I’ve seen is whiskey barrel–infusion during the green stage of the coffee bean,” Peters says. “This allows the beans to pick up a unique flavor profile from the aged barrel, which comes out in the coffee after the roasting and brewing processes. Adding spices or fruit like cinnamon, mint or orange peel to the brew process can also add flavor and uniqueness to your cold brew. I’ve even seen a barista brew coffee over a container of ice and strawberry slices for a strawberry infused flavor.” Consider your own preferences, and remember there’s no limit to what you can brew.