Six Common Mistakes When Making Cold Brew Coffee

January 16, 2022 3 min read

How to make Cold Brew



Cold brew is not just hot coffee poured over ice. That’s iced coffee – cold brew’s less sophisticated cousin. Cold brew is strong, smooth, and never bitter or sour. If you thought they were the same thing, don’t worry. We’re here to clear up the confusion and give you some handy tips to avoid some common mistakes when making cold brew coffee. 

Before we begin, here’s a basic rundown of the cold brewing method:

  1. Grind your beans coarsely.
  2. Add cold, filtered water in a 1 part coffee to 4 or 5 parts water ratio.
  3. Stir the mixture so that all the grounds are saturated.
  4. Leave the brew to steep for 12 hours in the fridge or on a countertop.
  5. Strain the mixture slowly.
  6. To serve, dilute the mixture with water and/or milk.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, keep an eye out for these errors that can prevent you from pulling off a perfect brew.  

1.  Using finely ground beans

While other methods like espresso call for fine grounds, cold brew requires a rougher mix. Grounds that are too fine will over-extract and result in bitter coffee. So, aim for a coarse texture similar to cornmeal or large sugar crystals.

2.  Making too small of a batch

Cold brew is best when made in larger quantities. Trust us; if you drink a lot of coffee, this will save you a considerable amount of time and effort. In addition, the brew will easily stay fresh for a week or two in the fridge, so make enough to suit your weekly coffee drinking schedule. 

3.  Brewing with the wrong water 

Water temperature doesn’t matter that much when it comes to cold brewing. Room temperature and cold water work equally well. However, water quality does make a difference. Ditch your kitchen tap water and go for filtered water. Impurities in tap water can introduce some flavors that you would rather keep out of your coffee cup. 

4.  Your steeping time is too short or too long

Most recipes say to let your coffee steep for around 12 hours. This is generally fine, but it matters where you store the jug. Out on a room temperature countertop, 12 hours is fast enough to extract most of the flavor. However, the brewing process slows down in a cold fridge. So, add at least another 3 to 6 hours for fridge brewing. If your brew is too weak, steep the grounds for a couple more hours next time.

5.  Forcing it through the strainer

Don’t ruin your patiently steeped brew by squeezing it through the filter or cheesecloth. This can introduce some of the bitterness or acidity you were trying to avoid in your cold brew. Instead, take your time and let gravity do the work. You’ll be rewarded with a wonderfully smooth cup of coffee.

6.  You’re not diluting the concentrate

Cold brew is essentially a concentrate. Drink it straight from the jar it’s been steeped in, and you’ll wind up with a liquid that’s far too intense. It will also contain around double the amount of caffeine found in a standard cup. Instead, dilute the concentrate to around a 50/50 ratio by adding cold water, ice, milk, or all three.

Find all of the at-home cold brew essentials in our Cold Brew Collection! Plus, for the fastest and easiest method, grab our two-step 100% Organic Sunny Spot Steeping Bags and get brewing! 

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