The first time I had cold brew coffee, I didn’t like it at all. I used a Toddy with coffee that was ground too fine and I didn’t know I was making a concentrate, so the coffee was much too strong. It would be years before I would try cold brew coffee again. I’m so glad I did because I’ve become quite a fan. I now drink cold brew coffee every day.
The other day, I jotted down a list of ten reasons I love cold brew coffee. Maybe an idea or two from this list will inspire you to make your own cold brew coffee at home.
#1 Simple to Make
Add cold water over ground coffee and let it sit for a day. Filter and you are done. That is as simple as it gets. Anyone is capable of making great cold brew coffee. INeedCoffee has some detailed tutorials customized to different brewers, but the steps are mostly the same.
#2 Easy to Fix Coffee That is Too Weak or Too Strong
With other brewing methods, if you mess up when brewing your coffee, there isn’t anything you can do, but start over. With cold brew, you can fix your coffee. If at the end of the brew cycle you discover the coffee is too weak, you can extend the brew time. With some brewers such as the Penguin, this will be as easy as removing the filter and returning it to the brewing chamber.
If the coffee is too strong, that is fine, as you are usually making a concentrate. Just add water until you reach the coffee strength you prefer.
Usually, it only takes one or two brew cycles before you find your optimal level of grounds, water, and brewing time. For example, I’m currently filling my Penguin filter about 70% full of coffee ground medium-coarse. Then I fill the brewer 100% full of water and brew for 24-30 hours. When complete, I cut the concentrate 50% with water. My roommate that likes stronger coffee cuts it 25% with water.
#3 Save Time, Perfect For Non-Morning People
Having a quart of coffee concentrate in the refrigerator already made, means I don’t need to spend time making coffee. I used to make an AeroPress first thing in the morning. I’d set the kettle, weigh the beans, grind the coffee, pour, stir, wait, and then press. Now, I just grab the pre-made cold brew.
I’m a morning person, but I can see cold brew being a godsend for people that don’t have the energy to make coffee first thing in the morning.
#4 Power Outages are Not a Problem
This winter we had a few power outages. One lasted 10 hours. During this time, I could not grind coffee or heat water, but it wasn’t a problem for me, because I had a quart of cold brew already made.
Not needing power also makes cold brew coffee a good candidate for camping and long road trips.
#5 Old Coffee Works Great
I learned this trick from a few coffee shops here in Seattle. They use old coffee that didn’t sell for their cold brew. The reason is it is super forgiving. Coffee that is too old and stale for most brewing methods can be saved with cold brew.
I’ve used medium to lightly roasted coffee going on two months old for a cold brew that ended up tasting delicious.
Using old coffee that I normally would have thrown out is great because it ends up saving me money. Less waste.
#6 Cold Brew is Quiet
If you live with others and wake up before them, pouring a glass of cold brew is far quieter than firing up a grinder and a kettle. Let everyone else sleep a little longer. Be ninja quiet with your coffee if you are the first to rise.
#7 When you need “just a sip”
Sometimes in the late afternoon, I want some coffee, but I also know that it could interfere with sleep. With cold brew, I can grab “just a sip”. Other brewing methods are not ideal for anything less than a mug.
This also makes cold brew ideal when you are detoxing from coffee. As you reduce your coffee intake below a mug, having a sip or two of cold brew to ward off any caffeine headaches is a good idea.
#8 Tastes Good Hot or Cold
You absolutely do not need to drink cold brew cold. It tastes good when heated up. For my morning mug, I heat it in the microwave. First I do 55 seconds, followed by a stir, then 36 more seconds. This brings it to the perfect level of heat without heating the coffee too much. Every microwave is different, so your times may vary.
#9 Easy on the Stomach
For many years, I had no issues with drinking black coffee on an empty stomach. Then early last year, I gradually started noticing minor pain and growling. I experimented with a few ideas, including Coffee Tamer mineral packs, decaf, and using half & half. In the end, cold brew worked best for me.
Cold brew coffee is known for having low acidity. For months now, I have been drinking cold brew coffee on an empty stomach with no issues at all.
#10 New Cold Brewers Make Brewing Much Easier
Cold brewers historically had two problems. First, you needed to weigh and measure the water and the coffee. Get out a calculator and figure out a ratio. The second problem was the cleanup wasn’t easy. Both of these problems have been eliminated with some of the newer glass brewers that use fine-mesh metal filters.
New brewers such as the Penguin and the Alkani have been designed to make cold brew easier to make and much easier to clean up.
The Alkani is one of the new model cold brewers that uses a metal filter, which makes cleaning a simple task. Remove the filter, empty the grounds into a compost bin, rinse, and it is ready for the next brew.
There are other reasons to love cold brew that I haven’t even explored for myself. One growing area is the use of cold brew in coffee-based cocktails. It is also a great thing to have on a camping or backpacking trip.
Although you could start making cold brew coffee in your French Press, I love the newer dedicated cold brewers much more. Look into the Penguin or the Alkani (product and tutorial links below). New cold brewers are hitting the market all the time now. Look for a sturdy glass frame, a metal filter, and a size that works best for your needs.
21 Reasons I Love Cold Brew Coffee – An updated list by the author.
Title photo by Matt Hoffman
This article was originally published in March 2019.