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The Beginner’s Guide to Cold Brew Coffee

Cold Brew coffee, by definition, is simply the process of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for an extended period of time. The result of this process is much different than what you would get by simply icing a hot brewed coffee. The lack of heat prevents many of the solubles in the coffee from completely dissolving resulting in a coffee with a much lower acidity, enhanced smoothness, greater sweetness, and generally little to no bitter component. The longer brewing time and higher coffee to water ratio are necessary to give the water more time to extract those solubles from the coffee grounds.

At Water Street, we have a unique Cold Brew called Coffee with a Bang. It’s brewed with a custom blend of lighter to medium roasts and we love it for it’s sweetness and chocolate notes (not to mention a serious caffeine kick)! But many of our customers want to know about the process. Can I make a successful Cold Brew at home? The answer is absolutely yes! Below, we’ve included a step by step process using our Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot with lots of Water Street tips and tricks that will let you make your own Cold Brew anywhere, anytime.

Cold Brew Basics

1. Find an appropriate vessel for brewing your coffee. We used the Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot here, but anything from a French Press to iced tea pitcher will work just fine!

2. Choose a coffee you love!  

At Water Street, we use a special blend of some of our coffees but we recommend to our customers that they try out cold brewing with a coffee that they already enjoy hot. Different roasts provide different characteristics, so feel free to experiment!

3. Begin with fresh coffee grounds and filtered water.

4. Place grounds into the pot.

The Mizudashi Pot already has a filter component that you place the grounds into and then pour the water over. Don’t worry if you don’t have a filter – we’ll cover that in a bit – just pour your coffee grounds directly into the bottom of your preferred brewing pot.

5. Pour the pre-measured, room temperature or colder water over the grounds.

6. Cover and steep in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours, keeping in mind that the longer you let it brew the stronger and more intense the coffee will be.

7. After preferred steep time, remove the filter from the Mizudashi Pot and dispose of the coffee grounds. If you are using a brewing vessel that does not have a filter system it will be necessary to filter out the coffee grounds. Coffee filters used for regular brewed coffee work great! 

8. Hooray, your cold brew coffee is ready to drink! Be careful though, that coffee will have 2-3 times more caffeine than your regular cup of joe.

Water Street Roast Master Tips:

  • Grind coffee as coarse as possible, it should look like breadcrumbs.
  • If the grind is too fine the coffee will over-extract and create a gritty, cloudy coffee that doesn’t taste good.
  • The final product of a Cold Brew Coffee can be treated as an “extract” and watered down to have more of the taste and caffeine content of a regular brewed coffee.
  • Try our West Coast Breakfast Blend for a Cold Brew similar to Water Street’s Coffee with a Bang.
  • Natural Processed coffees add a nice sweetness to your cold brew, almost like sugar has been added.
  • Our Roast Master, Seth Chapman, includes darker roasts like FTO French Roast in his favorites because they create a very smooth body and allow for more dark chocolate and smoky undertones.