Learn how to make espresso cold brew at home with only two ingredients
If you're tired of expensive Starbucks drinks and want to learn to make your own cold brew, this guide will help you learn everything! You'll learn the secret to cold espresso including the type of espresso grounds to use and how long to brew the coffee in the refrigerator.
There's so much to know and learn about the world of coffee. One tiny peek into this world is through homemade espresso cold brew coffee.
Think of this recipe as your starter's guide to cold brew. Even if you're new to drinking coffee or making it at home, this recipe will teach you all the basics you'll need to know.
The expensive cold brew you drink from Starbucks isn't as much of a mystery as you may think. With minimal ingredients and tools, you'll be sipping on some delicious cold brew that you can transform into an endless amount of coffee drinks.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
We're digging into the science behind cold brew coffee in the recipe. You'll learn a lot of tips and tricks for making espresso cold brew at home including:
- All of the factors that contribute to the taste of your espresso cold brew. Plus, how you can experiment to create a cold brew you'll love.
- The reason so many people love cold brew (hint: it tastes very different than hot coffee).
- The best type of coffee beans to use for cold espresso.
Factors That Effect The Taste of Espresso Cold Brew
There's definitely a reason so many people love cold brew. The smooth and somewhat sweet taste is unmatched compared to a cup of hot coffee. Cold brewing gives the coffee a less bitter and acidic taste compared to a traditionally brewed hot cup.
If you love cold brew and are interested in crafting your perfect brew, here are 4 factors that will affect the final taste:
Type of Roast
One huge factor in the taste of your cold brew is how the coffee bean was roasted. There are light, medium, and dark roasts with espresso usually falling in the dark roast category.
Some people prefer light roasts, while others (especially espresso lovers) like dark roasts. However, you can experiment to see which type of roast you most prefer for your cold brew.
You can also use a flavored coffee bean, like in this Salted Caramel Cold Brew recipe.
A coarsely ground coffee vs. a finely ground coffee will result in a very different taste in your cold brew. With a fine grind, the coffee is more likely to experience over-extraction (when too many soluble flavors are removed from the coffee resulting in undesirable tastes). Plus, it can be difficult to strain the fine ground coffee without getting graininess in the final concentrate.
A coarse grind is almost always recommended!
Temperature of Water
There are two common methods for brewing cold brew - on the counter at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Obviously, each of these methods uses different temperatures of water.
The main thing you need to keep in mind is that cold water extracts the grounds slower than room temperature water. Generally, you'll expect a refrigerated cold brew to need a few additional hours to brew compared to room temperature ones.
After watching many videos on this topic, I believe the temperature of the water is a very personal preference. Try both and see which one you'd prefer!
Length of Brew
The goal of any brewing process is to extract the most flavor without worrying about over-extraction. I've found that the ideal length of brew is about 12 - 18 hours in the refrigerator. Remember, don't allow the coffee to brew too long or it will have a bitter taste.
Once your cold brew reaches 12 hours, you can test the taste every hour or so until you've reached your preferred flavor notes.
All you'll need for this cold brew recipe is:
- Coarsely ground espresso coffee beans: You'll want an espresso dark roasted coffee bean. For the best tasting cold brew, make sure the beans are freshly ground to a coarse texture.
- Cold water: Feel free to use whatever water you have on hand. Some cold brew experts say filtered water is best. However, I have had great success with tap water. Feel free to experiment and see what you like best!
Tools & Equipment
The great thing about making cold brew espresso at home is that you don't need many tools. You might even have these things already on hand:
- Mason jar (32 oz): You'll need two jars - one for brewing the coffee and another for holding the final cold brew concentrate. Feel free to reuse any jar with a resealable lid that you have laying around at home.
- Coffee filter: You'll need this to filter out all of the small coffee grounds.
- Mesh strainer: It's helpful to place the coffee filter on top of a strainer. It's also another layer of protection to ensure nothing grainy gets into the cold brew.
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
It's best to buy freshly ground coffee beans. Even if you don't have a coffee grinder at home, many grocery stores will have a grinder in the coffee section. Fresher beans are going to give you a more vibrant cold brew.
Most coffee beans are Arabica or Robusta, including espresso beans. Espresso is different from other beans because they are roasted longer and darker than other types of coffee beans. Oftentimes, grocery stores will label these types of beans as espresso. However, you can also just find a dark roasted bean and that will work for this recipe.
Traditionally, yes, espresso beans are finely ground when you're brewing with hot water. However, cold espresso tastes best with coarsely ground beans because it takes on a less bitter flavor. Plus, it's easier to filter out the coarse grounds.
In a pinch, fine grounds will still work. However, the cold brew will taste more bitter if you use finely ground espresso beans.
To avoid a bitter taste, check the taste of the cold brew every few hours to ensure over-extraction (when too many soluble flavors are removed from the coffee resulting in undesirable tastes) doesn't occur.
Yes, this recipe is for a concentrate. Meaning, the espresso cold brew should be diluted down with ice, water, milk, or cream.
There are an endless amount of delicious drinks you can make with cold brew coffee. Try out my sweet cream cold foam recipe or add in a splash of vanilla coffee syrup. If you're feeling spicy, you could even try making an espresso martini!
Also, check out this article on 15 ways to flavor cold brew coffee.
Cold Brew Espresso Concentrate
- 1 cup coarsely ground dark roasted espresso beans
- 3 cups cool water
- Add ground espresso beans and water to a 32 ounce (1 liter) glass jar. Stir or shake to combine until all the grounds are fully covered with water. Screw on the glass jar lid.
- Set glass jar in the refrigerator to steep for 12 - 18 hours.
- Place a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter over a medium-sized bowl. Pour the brewed coffee into the coffee filter and allow to slowly strain. This may take up to 15 minutes. Discard the coffee grounds in the trash can (not down a garbage disposal).
- Transfer cold brew coffee concentrate to a small bottle or jar with a resealable lid. Store in the refrigerator for 7 - 10 days.
- Serve the cold brew with ice, water, simple syrup, milk, or cream to dilute the concentrate.
Other Helpful Resources
If you're interested in learning more about cold brew coffee, check out these resources: