The Ultimate Guide to the Best Cold Brew Coffee
I have a confession: I really only had cold brew coffee for the first time a few years ago. I'll also admit that I had a stigma against the cold brew process. How could coffee brewed cold still come out tasting delicious? I'm sure you've probably had this same thought at some point, especially after drinking hot coffee your entire life.
Fast forward to the present and I am a total cold brew fiend. I bought a gallon cold brew maker last year and never looked back. Now, I keep a steady supply for my wife and I in our garage fridge so that we can enjoy cold brew coffee all summer long, which is essential in Texas. After all, roasting in the Texas heat is the kind of roasting we DON'T want to do.
OK, enough personal blah blah blah. Here is the definitive guide you need to have to make the best cold brew ever. And, of course, it features Runyon Coffee beans.
Step 1: Get a proper cold brew container
There are a lot of cold brew coffee makers on the market these days. Some are big, some are small, and some come with all sorts of bells and whistles. The one thing you want to make sure of is that your cold brew maker has a tight seal. This is key because you don't want any coffee grinds or cold brew concentrate leaking out and making a mess.
The other thing you need to look out for is that it's got a mesh filter that will hold all the grounds in properly. The worst thing in the world is when you're pouring your cold brew and grounds are all up in the coffee. Save those for the compost, not for your glass.
Final word on what to look for: an easy pour spout/spigot. This isn't essential, but I love how easy it is to pour cold brew straight from the spout in the fridge. All you have to do is add some ice to a glass, pour the cold brew in and you're good to go.
My personal favorite cold brew maker one of these types that you can get off Amazon. They make a full gallon, which is perfect if you're like us and you go through at least a gallon a week.
Another very popular cold brew maker is the Ovalware Cold Brew Maker. It's got a nice big 64 ounce capacity, it's made of durable glass and it has a stainless steel filter basket that screws on tight. Plus, it's dishwasher safe, which is a huge plus. This one's probably great if you live alone or are the only coffee drinker in your house.
Step Two: Choose your beans
Now that you've got your cold brew maker, it's time to choose your beans.
For cold brew, I like to use Runyon Coffee Weekday Roast or Payday Roast. These are both medium roasted coffees, which I find give the best flavor for cold brew. That may be a controversial statement because you'll hear many people rave on how much better a darker-roast coffee is for cold brew, but for overall taste factors, I think the medium roasts do a much better job of having a smooth, balanced flavor profile.
Of course, you can use whatever beans you want and cold brew is a great way to experiment with different roasts and flavor profiles. Just know that the darker the roast, the more bold and intense the cold brew will be. One of my favorite customers, who actually got me into cold brew, swears by Hump Day Blend as their go-to for cold brew. It's really up to you and what you like!
Step Three: Grind your beans
Once you've chosen your beans, it's time to grind them.
You'll want to use a more coarse grind for cold brew coffee. This is because the coffee will be steeped in cold water for an extended period of time and if the grind is too fine, it will result in over-extracted coffee that tastes bitter. I actually go with what I'd call a medium-coarse grind, but whatever you do, try to lean a little more on the coarse side, especially when compared to what you'd normally do for, say, drip coffee.
A good rule of thumb is to start with a grind that's about as coarse as kosher salt. At the very least, just make sure that you're grinding them more coarse than the holes in the mesh filter. If you don't, you're guaranteed to have very fine little coffee grounds swimming in your cold brew.
Step Four: Add coffee grounds to the mesh filter and pour in cold water
Once you've got your cold brew maker and your beans all ready to go, it's time to actually make the cold brew!
For this step, you'll want to add about a cup of cold filtered water for every two ounces of coffee grounds. So, if you're using a half-pound of coffee (which is eight ounces), you'll want to add four cups of cold water. Make sure the water is filtered for the best tasting output.
If you want a stronger cold brew concentrate, you can use less water or more coffee. It really just depends on how strong you like your coffee and how much you want to make.
Here's the easiest way to do it, which requires that gallon cold brew coffee maker I mentioned above:
- Add 12 oz. of Weekday Roast or Payday Roast to the filter.
- Fill the water up to about an inch from where the lid screws on at.
This will give you a really nice semi-concentrated cold brew that you can easily pour over ice and that won't be super diluted.
Step Five: Leave in the fridge for 48 hours
Once you've got your cold brew coffee maker all set up, stick that thing in the fridge and let it sit for 48 hours.
Resist the urge to drink your cold brew before it hits 24 hours in the fridge. You can generally sample it after 24 hours, especially if you're totally desperate for some delicious cold brew, but I've found that the cold brew hits its peak at about 48 hours in the fridge.
Step Six: Enjoy your cold brew!
It's time! If you waited 48 hours, you're ready to enjoy the smoothest cold brew you've ever had in your life. Lucky you!
Keep the coffee grounds in the mesh filter while it stays in the fridge. The coffee will still continue to brew a little after 48 hours, keeping your cold brew even more tasty. Plus, if you leave the grounds in the filter until you're finished, you won't have a mess to clean up when you pull it out of the cold brew maker. Just keep it in there until you're done and dispose of the grounds like you normally do (we recommend composting!).
Have you used Runyon Coffee in your cold brew at home? Let us know how it went and if we're missing anything in this blog post!