What Is Cold Brew?- A Complete Guide

Cafe menus around the world offer cold brew coffee, which has become a household name in the last decade. In addition, COVID-19 tik tok challenges will feature cold brew as a guest multiple times. But if you are not familiar with it, let me just clear your thoughts real quick here!

So, what is cold brew coffee? What does it really mean?

As the name suggests, cold brew is a coffee concentrate made by combining large amounts of coffee grounds with cold water. The mixture is soaked for up to 24 hours, then filtered and refrigerated. Once it is chilled, water or milk can be added for a refreshing beverage. 

Now you might be thinking! How these cold, older coffee beans are everyone’s favorite. What's the appeal of a cold brew coffee drink?

Ten years ago, cold brew wasn't common in a local coffee shop. Almost anywhere you go today sells cold brew, whether it's a Chamberlain coffee or your local grocery store. When it comes to flavor, cold brew coffee is typically smooth, low-acid, and heavier than hot brewed coffee. 

Even though the bottle looks like a wine bottle, that's just a luxury feature.

Despite cold brew’s long history, it only became a staple on coffee shop menus. According to a study conducted by the National Coffee Association, 80% of respondents under 40 are familiar with cold brew, and 20% enjoy their daily cup of cold brew. Isn’t that fascinating?

The history of cold brew

Japanese tea ceremonies are known for being some of the best in the world. Japan is also credited for the invention of cold brew. The origins of cold brew coffee can be traced back to Japan in the 17th century. Japan's Kyoto-style coffee, in which cold-brewed coffee is made, gained popularity there.

Cold-brew is the legacy of the Dutch Sailors to Japan. As they embarked on long voyages, the sailors carried copious amounts of cold brew to sustain them.

Kyoto's method of brewing became known worldwide as Kyoto-drip. Today, the brewing process is called slow drip. A slow drip of water is applied to ground coffee to make the concentrate. Worry not! I will explain the whole method down below.

From the late 17th century to the early 18th century, cold brew vanished from the map completely. Then Asia, Europe, and North America revive the culture of consuming cold brew coffee beans by the 18th century.

It acted as an instant coffee substitute. To prepare instant coffee, families usually mix cold brew concentrate with boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes before using it.

During his studies at Cornell University, Todd Simpson explored Peru in search of coffee plants. He discovered Peruvian cold brew coffee made using ancient processes.

Then multiple local brands and coffee lovers start chatting about this scrumptious regular coffee drink. Several cafes made cold brew, served it to customers. But unfortunately, the cafe was never able to meet customer demand.

In 2011, the hype increased again, and look where we are now! The rest is history.

Cold brew's growing popularity with coffee drinkers has prompted many other large chains to start offering the product.

How is a cold brew made?

I know, this drink fascinates you now, and you wanna make it ASAP, right? So let me just give you some methods to follow, so you can choose what works best for you. 

Method 1: Use french press, Aeropress or Dripper

Making cold brew coffee is easier with these simple steps. Enjoy this Christmas party with this cold beverage sitting by your fireplace.

Steeping ground coffee

The process of making cold-brewed coffee involves steeping large quantities of medium or coarsely ground coffee in cold filtered water overnight or between 12 and 24 hours. Steeping longer for 12 hours, you'll get a coffee with less body and more acidity. An extended steeping time of 24 hours produces a coffee with more body and a more rounded flavor.

Here is a quick tip to get the same richness as your nearest coffee shop is offering…

Taking the coffee out of the fridge or letting it steep at room temperature is a good choice. If the product is soaked in the fridge, the extraction rate is slowed and steeping takes longer.

Cold-brew doesn't require specialized equipment. The large container is great for brewing multiple batches of tea, and they also make cleaning up a breeze.

There are various ways to prepare your own cold brew coffee in small batches, including the use of French presses, clever drippers, coffee brews with a rubber stopper, or Aeropress.

Brew ratios

A cold-brewed cup of coffee typically contains twice as much caffeine as a hot brewed coffee, although there is some variation. There are typically 1/8 of the measuring cup per liter of water, which is 62.5 grams of coffee per half a liter of water.

Almost always diluted with milk or water, some coffee drinkers prefer to concentrate their cold brew at a water ratio of 4:1 (125g of coffee per half a liter of water).

But, what would be the size of coffee drowns in a cold brew? 

In general, cold brew coffee is recommended to be ground to a medium grind, although most recipes recommend coarse grinding.

If you are using cold water to make cold brew, you should use a medium or coarse grind size as cold water does not extract coffee as well as hot water.

Due to the difficulty of getting cold water into ground coffee, fine-ground coffee is more likely to yield better results.

You can obtain the best results by grinding your beans half their original size or by looking for packs displaying ‘medium grind' or 'filter grind'. Chamberlain Coffee offers you easy-to-carry sachets, just throw them in your tumbler and you are good to go!


When the coffee has gone through enough steeping time, it needs to be filtered. Both cloth and paper filters work well.

Many people prefer cloth filters, it can improve the flavor and texture of coffee by allowing the oils in the coffee to pass through. This is because cloth acts as a fine-mesh sieve here.

You can make the cleanest cup of coffee with paper filters. You enhance the flavor of coffee grounds by filtering oils, which also thins the texture.

Every filter has a unique attribute associated with it.

When cloth or paper filters aren't available, metal filters can be used. However, metal filters can cause some problems.

As you pour, ground coffee will fall to the bottom of your own batch because of the metal filters.

As with French press coffee, this sensation is much like what you feel when drinking it. Still, cold brew mixes poorly with milk or water.

Just stir gently your beverage, you stir up the sediment at the bottom. Returning it to the bottom takes some time.

A metal filter should be used as a backup only if you're unable to find a cloth filter at your local supermarket.


You must place the filtered cold brew coffee in the refrigerator when it has been filtered. This strong coffee must then be kept chilled for seven days to reach the desired shelf life.

If you want to enjoy a glass of wine, make sure to dilute it only as needed. Adding water to the whole batch will make it lose its shelf life.

Because cold liquid dissolves sugar slowly, it is necessary to sweeten the entire batch for a sweeter flavor. It's ready to drink now, serve it in a mason jar or take it in a tumbler to enjoy your busy mornings.

Now, don’t worry I you don’t have a cold press. I have a method for you as well… 

P.S: Why didn’t you add the french press from Chamerlian coffee, it’s on sale, hurry up!

Slow drip cold brew

In contrast to the cold press with machines, this method of brewing cold brew, Kyoto-style slow drips use a simple heating element and ice. After the ground coffee is slowly poured with cold water, a coffee filter is applied. Cold-brew black is vibrant, yet milder than the classic cold brew

Probably you've seen these in one of your favorite coffee shops. Their design reminds you of a chemistry experiment.

These devices seem complicated, but in fact, they are quite user-friendly. In a coffee bed, water is pumped from a reservoir into a valve that controls flow to and from the ground coffee bed.

The grounds are passed through water. This extracts the flavors from the coffee. Following this, the coffee is separated from the water using a filter and then the cold brew is collected.

Cold-brew connoisseurs will certainly appreciate a slow drip, which was invented in Japan. With declining levels in the reservoir, the flow rate must be adjusted accordingly.

So, is there any advantage of using the slow drip cold brew method over the french press?

The answer is yes! Despite more work necessary, there is still a huge advantage for the brewery method. In contrast to immersion cold brew that takes up to 24 hours to make, slow drip cold brew takes about 3 to 6 hours.

Is cold brew really lower in acidity?

As far as acid content is concerned, cold brew coffee and hot coffee share the same structure. Cold brew coffee has no discernible difference in pH from a hot cup of coffee. It is the differences in titration acidity levels that create uncertainty.

Acidic compounds behave the same way. Hot brewing results in a faster solubility of caffeine, while the cold of water results in less solubility of acidic compounds.

GERD or patients with sensitive stomachs normally don't notice any significant difference in levels.

Then where is the confusion coming from? Cold brew doesn’t taste less acidic, right? Or it depends on your taste?

Here is a detailed answer for you...

Titratable acidity is to blame for the confusion. A liquid's acidity is measured by its titratable acidity, which has a close relationship with how it is perceived by our palate.

Because cold coffee's titratable acid level is lower than when it is hot, we regard it as less acidic.

Cold-brew is a lower acidity alternative for those who wanted to enjoy it.

It is becoming more and more common to purchase low acid coffee online. For those who suffer from acid reflux or GERD, low acid coffee is the perfect solution.

Due to its special nature, low acid coffee is much more expensive than regular coffee. Buying a 2.5lb bag starts at $22 on US Amazon. coffee ice cubes

How much caffeine does cold brew have?

So here's the caffeine batter: cold brew vs hot brew. An 8oz (237ml) regular cup of cold-brew concentrate typically contains 83mg of caffeine levels, almost twice as much as a hot brew. It is common for cold brewing coffee to be diluted with water or milk to reduce caffeine content by half.

In this manner, coffee cold brew diluted with water has a lower caffeine content than hot water-brewed filter coffee.

Using a lower water ratio than coffee in making cold brew results in a drink with strong caffeine content. If the cold brew is consumed undiluted, it definitely contains more caffeine, but few drink cold brew that way.

In addition, the caffeine content in cold brewing is reduced because it extracts less caffeine than hot water due to caffeine's higher solubilization in hot water.

Is it OK to heat the cold brew coffee?

Cold-brew can be heated, but it can turn bitter if it has been mixed with milk.

Adding milk to a cold brew after heating the coffee avoids imparting bitterness. It's a fact that heating coffee with milk will result in a bitter taste.

You can boil fresh water to dilute an extra-strong concentrate rather than heating a cold brew. For a very strong cold brew concentrate, use a ratio of 333g - 250g per 100mL.

Cold-brew concentrate acts as an instant coffee substitute due to its intensity and strength and can simply be boiled up like instant coffee. Additionally, it will not impart bitter flavors.

What’s The Difference Between Iced Coffee And Cold-Brew Coffee?

Spoiler alert: Iced coffee isn't all cold brew, but cold brew is a type of iced coffee.

Let’s first discuss quickly, what is iced coffee?

Iced coffee or cold coffee, as the name implies, is coffee that has been served over ice aka coffee ice cubes. There are many ways to prepare iced coffee, and not all of them involve cold-brewing.

Below is an overview of some types of iced coffee available in coffee shops

Drip coffee: 

In most cases, this will be the drink you get if you order a cup of iced coffee. Various methods for brewing coffee are available (although many experts say this second method is "a terrible idea"). For example, you can brew coffee hot and pour it directly over ice, or you can chill coffee slowly in a refrigerator. In most cases, brew coffee is made stronger in order to compensate for the dilution that occurs when it is poured over ice. For instance, you can add double-strength brewed iced coffee with filtered water and sweetener.

Iced Americano

Unlike Arabic coffee,  iced americano is made with 

Pour hot water over espresso shots, resulting in a cup with rich depth and nuance. 

Pour-over (Japanese style): 

Japanese specialty coffee shops are typically found serving this type of iced coffee, which is more commonly found in Japan. A pour-over device (like a Chemex) is used to make it by placing ice cubes at the bottom and pouring hot water over the coffee grounds at the top, allowing the brewed coffee to drip directly onto the ice after the water has been poured. Specialty coffee beans come out with unique, subtle flavors when roasted with this product.

What is cold brew?

As opposed to the other methods for iced coffee, cold-brew coffee does not involve any heat - so its preparation takes several hours. Use the french press or slow drip method as stated above.

So what’s the difference?

Depending on the type of coffee you use, you will get different flavors from cold-brew, but generally, it imparts a smoother, sweeter taste that is less acidic than those of other types of iced coffee.

You can experiment with cold brewing your favorite coffee blend at home to see how it tastes by extracting it via cold brew.

Final Thoughts

After reading this blog, you know everything about cold brew. Steeping the coffee grounds for one day brings out the most known drink, which is cold brew.  This process is important to remove the bitterness of the cold brew. Let me tell you a secret fact about cold brew now. Add cold brew to your pre-workout meal and burn more calories than usual. Yes, you can use it to shed some extra pounds.