I like to drink concentrated syrup; I can just pour some into the glass, add cold water and my beverage is ready. Later on, I always thought to myself—I wish I could do the same with coffee, I wish I could just take a pot filled with a coffee concentrate then mix it with water or milk whenever I want. Little did I know that the answer to the question of how to make cold brew coffee makes my wish come true, not to mention that cold brew coffee has been around for centuries.
It was the simple recipe wrapped in a shiny package of practicality that turned cold brew coffee into a trend embraced worldwide. Over the course of several hundred years, cold brew travelled around the globe with a quick pace only to return to the modern times with a blast—because today, the cold brew recipe is in very high demand.
Cold Brew coffee sets sails
The earliest records of cold brew coffee date all the way back to the 1600s, when the Dutch traders, who played an important role in the history of the coffee trade, spread the word about the recipe on their long voyages. Considering they didn’t want to part ways with coffee during the far-reaching trips, the cold brew coffee concentrate served as a perfect solution because it was practical for consumption and simple to make.
On one of the voyages, the Dutch traders reached Japan, or to be more specific the town of Kyoto, where we find some of the earliest records of cold brew coffee as it is prepared today. The cold brew recipe fit perfectly in the Japanese culture puzzle because it went hand in hand with the long tradition of making tea and soon the recipe was widely accepted all over the country.
Fortunately, cold brew coffee crossed the borders of Japan and by the 1800s it also became known in America, Asia, and a bigger part of Europe where it was sometimes referred to as a coffee syrup. What makes the whole story even more interesting is the concentrate itself. Due to its practical use, cold brew coffee extended its reach farther from households because it played an important role in military provisioning, too. The French, the Brits, the Americans, and the Scots; they were all known for provisioning the soldiers with the coffee concentrate during war times.
As consumer needs changed and the technology in the coffee industry became more advanced, the coffee concentrate shifted from households and military shelves to commercial use. It took many different forms, from the Japanese canned cold coffee to the Italian canned coffee produced by the famous company Illy, only to become one of the most popular coffee drinks today.
How to make cold brew coffee
If you ever wondered how to make cold brew coffee, you will be delighted to know that the method of preparation is very simple. Even better, once you’re done, the cold brew coffee concentrate can preserve its rich taste for more than a week if kept in a refrigerator.
How the process will turn out will highly depend on the coffee beans—they need to be of good quality, preferably robust, medium to dark roast—and to make cold brew coffee, it’s recommended to grind the beans right before the preparation, similar to the case of Turkish coffee, for example.
Once the beans are ready, it is important to properly measure the coffee to water ratio and let the mixture steep for the right amount of time:
- For 1 cup of water, you’ll need 1 ounce (28 grams) of ground coffee. You can also easily adapt the measurements in case you need larger quantities of the concentrate.
- Once you mix the ingredients (best to leave them in a jar or a similar container), the steeping time should last from 12-24 hours approximately.
- When the concentrate is ready, you need to do one last step—strain the coffee grounds out of the water. A cheesecloth, a thin paper coffee filter, or a handkerchief made of cotton; any of these can serve as a filter. You just need to place it over a sieve on top of a pitcher or a similar container and once you pour the concentrate through the filter, your cold brew is ready!
Cold Brew Coffee: Fun Facts
Once you learn how to make cold brew coffee, many different benefits can serve as a reward for the effort. This coffee drink is not just perfect for a busy, rushed day, but it is also delicious and easier on the stomach since it is less acidic than regular drip coffee. And one other thing—cold brew coffee makes the caffeine intake simple to control because a more diluted concentrate yields less caffeinated coffee drinks.
In case you are still not sure if you want to try the recipe or not, here is our suggestion: do a small experiment and prepare your favorite brand of coffee in two different ways; your regular brewing method, and the cold brew. Then, let us know which one you liked best, we have a feeling we might already know the answer!