You will probably agree when I say that making coffee at home is fantastic. You get to save time and money, and you can have it any way you want. Additionally there are many different ways to brew coffee at home.
Some offer you complete freedom over your brew, others are simple, and of course, there are these that are more complicated but artistic.
One of these artistic but rather complicated methods is cold brew. It is one of the strongest drinks you can make at home. You can also have it very bland, though. In other words you have complete freedom over it
What Makes Coffee Strong?
Coffee makes the mornings a lot easier. Having a good cup of coffee helps you wake up and gives your day a jump start. How does it work, though, and what makes it strong?
To understand how coffee works, you first need to know why you feel sleepy. As you go along with your day your energy levels get low. This is because your nervous system releases a compound called adenosine.
As the day goes on, this compound builds up in the brain's tissues, locking into receptors in the membranes of some nerve cells. This makes them work slower and makes our bodies foggy in a way.
To get rid of the built-up adenosine, you need to get some sleep. Sometimes this can't be done, and that's when you resort to coffee. When you drink coffee, you're telling your brain that something exciting is happening. This gets it to release hormones that generate responses when danger is around.
The compound in coffee that wakes you up is called caffeine. It directly tackles adenosine and gives you the energy boost you need and stronger coffee has more caffeine. How much caffeine is in your coffee depends on a variety of factors. These include the coffee beans you're using, the ratio of water to coffee, the brewing method, and more.
How To Make a Cold Brew?
There are many reasons to choose cold brew as your preferred method to make coffee at home. For starters it gives you complete freedom over how strong your coffee is and lets you quickly change it while making it. Also, it doesn't require any appliances at all, other than a fridge.
You start your cold brew by making the coffee concentrate. For that, you can use any coffee you like. Though, to get the best flavor out of your brew we recommend coarsely ground beans.
In general cold brew is pretty easy to make. You simply put some coffee in water and put it in the fridge. Then you let it steep there for a few hours, letting the coffee extract into the water. As a result what you’re left with is a strong coffee concentrate, which gets stronger the more time it brews.
Find Good Coffee Beans
The first step to making a great cold brew is finding the right coffee beans for you. This depends mostly on your taste. Some great options that we could recommend are the Brandywine Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe and the Stone Street Coffee Dark Roast.
When it comes to the grind you should get coarsely ground coffee as coffee experts believe this way a richer taste can be extracted. Nevertheless, if you just want to try it and have some finely ground coffee lying around it will also work.
Don't Overthink The Water Temperature
Coffee experts agree that the water temperature for your brew is not that important. Any temperature will work. The difference between cold water and hot water is that the higher the temperature, the brewing process will start right away and will take shorter.
If you start your brew before going to bed and need it early in the morning the next day, you might want to start with hot water. Even if you don't, it's still a fun experiment.
Try Different Coffee to Water Ratios
You can always experiment with different coffee to water ratios. The more coffee you put in the mix, the stronger your brew will be and vice versa. However, the rule is that you should use around an ounce of coffee per cup of water. This way your brew will have around double the caffeine drip coffee does.
Steep Your Coffee in the Fridge
This is where the actual brewing happens. You should leave the mix in the fridge for 12-24 hours. This depends on whether you started with hot or cold water and on how strong you like your coffee. The longer you let it steep, the stronger it will come out.
Strain Your Coffee Slowly
To get the best results, you will need to strain your coffee through a strainer. You shouldn't press the coffee grounds so you don’t extract bitter flavors.
Pro tip: It's best to work in batches, so you strain your coffee as softly as possible.
Dilute the Coffee Concentrate
The last step in making cold brew is diluting it. This way you will be able to get it just as strong as you like it. Keep reading to find out how to do it right.
How to Dilute Coffee Concentrate?
Diluting cold brew is pretty straightforward. After you've left your coffee in the fridge for long enough, the concentrate is almost ready to drink so you only need to add a bit of water.
Most coffee experts agree that the best ratio of coffee concentrate to water is 1:1, but that depends on how strong you want it. If it’s going to be a long day and you need that extra kick, add less water. If you prefer to take it easy on the caffeine, though, more water is the way to go.
How Much Coffee Should You Use for Your Cold Brew?
Making cold brew is essentially making a coffee concentrate that you later dilute. This means that you will have to find the right ratio for you. There is a sweet spot, though. It's between 1:0.9 and 1:1.1 coffee to water. If you like a more bitter, stronger coffee, you should add more units of coffee to your brew.
These ratios tend to work for most types of coffee except espresso and a few others.
Despite cold brew being completely different from regular brewing, these ratios will still work. Again, they're what works for most people, which might mean that they won't necessarily work for you so you should experiment.
You can have your ratios in any way you want, be it 1:1.25 or even 1:0.8. This will make your coffee significantly stronger than the usual hot coffee but go for it if it's what you're into.
Tweaking the Brew
Likely, you won't get your coffee right the first time you try the cold brew process. There are a lot of variables that you should consider and adapt to your taste, so it's only normal that it doesn't come out just right on the first try.
Use Less Coffee
The more ground coffee you use, the higher the caffeine level will be. This will make it stronger and will give you a stronger kick. If you don't like it that strong, you might want to use less coffee.
Try a Darker Roast
It might sound a little counterintuitive, but a dark roast coffee has less caffeine than a light roast one. It's nothing major, but if your coffee is still too strong for you you might want to try it.
Beware How Long You Brew Your Coffee
The time you leave your cold brew in the fridge directly affects how strong it will be. If you prefer stronger coffee, you can leave it for longer, but if you'd rather have it weaker, a shorter brewing time is the way to go.
Does Diluting Your Coffee Make It Less Caffeinated?
Adding water to your coffee can have different effects depending on the amount and at what stage of the process you add it. That is true for both cold and hot brews.
If you add more water while your coffee is brewing, it will come out stronger. The reason for that is that the water will be in contact with the coffee for longer. This way, more flavor, and caffeine will be extracted. This will make your coffee stronger and more bitter.
If you dilute your coffee concentrate for cold brew, the taste will be blander. Despite that, the amount of caffeine will stay the same. You will simply have less caffeine per ounce of brew.
If you want to make a weaker coffee, try using beans that are more darkly roasted. You can also try to experiment with the ratios of grounds to water. There are a lot of recipes online for all sorts of different tastes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Finely Ground Coffee Stronger?
That depends on your brewing method. If you're making coffee in a Moka pot, then no, finely ground coffee beans won't give you stronger coffee.
If you make a cup of espresso, finely ground coffee is the only coffee you should use.
If you're going to make cold brew, every recipe says that you should use coarsely ground coffee. Finely ground will also work for some so you can make your recipe.
How Strong Is Cold Brew?
Cold-brew is relatively strong. Around twice as strong as espresso, to be exact. The reason for this is that brewing this way, the coffee is in more prolonged contact with the water, which extracts more flavor and caffeine.
Final Thoughts on Making Good Brew
Making a good cup of coffee can seem like a challenging task, but it's actually not. A cold brew is a bit more complicated, but it's very rewarding. You end up with a strong cup of coffee and additionally you've made it yourself from scratch.
Another way to make strong coffee at home that will be very rewarding is using a Moka pot. Moka pots give you the personal experience of a completely analog brew. Head over to our catalog and check out our high-quality stainless steel Moka pots!