How to make cold-brew coffee

Cold brew: the cup of coffee you intentionally drink cold—and it's damn delicious.

Photo: Stephanie Han Kim Photo: Stephanie Han Kim

Cold brew: not the previously hot coffee you never get a chance to enjoy. This kind you make by steeping coffee grounds in water for a smooth, ready-anytime cup that you intentionally drink cold. We asked Rowan Williams, a store manager with Starbucks Canada, to show us how to cool off with this summer necessity.

1. Pick your vessel There are many perks of cold-brew coffee, and one of them is that it doesn’t require a special carafe. Make it in a large canning jar, pitcher or French press.

2. Get the ratio right A long steep in cold water helps extract subtle flavours from coffee—it tastes smooth, bright and naturally sweet. (Tip: If you’d like to start to scale back on the sugar in your coffee, cold brew is a good place to start.) The perfect coffee for cold brew is a light or blond roast with a medium (French press) grind. For every two ounces of grounds, add one cup of cold or room-temperature water. Mix well, store the jar in the fridge or on your countertop, and walk away. If using a French press, don’t push the plunger down.

3. Steep, then strain You should steep your cold brew at least 12 hours, but Williams says Starbucks’ sweet spot is 20 hours. Using a basket-shaped coffee filter, a few layers of cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve, strain coffee into a large measuring cup or bowl. Transfer into a clean jar, seal and keep refrigerated for up to four weeks (if you don’t guzzle it in mere days).

4. Chill out Enjoy your coffee over ice (cubes made of leftover coffee are even better) with water or milk, or add flavour with chocolate milk, coconut milk or flavoured syrup.

A version of this article appeared in our July/August 2016 issue with the headline “Iced, iced baby,” p. 78. 

This article was originally published on Jun 21, 2016

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