For years, iced coffee drinks and hot coffee have been the go-to option for most coffee enthusiasts. However, trends are now changing, and coffee lovers are more willing to experiment with new types of coffee drinks. Among all the new additions in the world of coffee, cold brew has secured a tight spot!
But what is cold brew? If this is the first time you are reading about cold brew, this question is bound to ring in your head.
Many people have a misconception that cold brew is the name of cold coffee. However, the term ‘cold brew’ does not necessarily reflect the drink’s temperature. Simply put, cold brew coffee comes from a unique method of brewing- which occurs at room temperature. Depending on your preferences, you can either make an iced drink from the cold brew or a hot one. Sounds interesting, right?
Is Cold Brewed Coffee the Same as Iced Coffee?
Though, several major brands such as Starbucks have contributed to this misconception – by advertising cold brew as an iced coffee drink. Cold-brew is achieved by soaking coffee beans in refrigerated water or normal water for more than 12 hours. This process helps to extract oils, sugars, and caffeine. Iced coffee, on the other hand, is simply traditional coffee poured over ice.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that cold-brewed coffee is a drink that never touches hot water Experts suggest that this method of extraction makes the cold brew less toxic and hence less unhealthy for you. Some people even say that cold-brewed coffee exhibits high antioxidant activity and hence helps in the prevention of many diseases.
Because of these benefits, cold brew coffee is becoming increasing! Popular all over the world Many people use it as an alternative to artificially sweetened drinks, especially soda, which would be caffeinated only slightly for that coffee kick but would also be easy to drink at the same time. Another advantage of cold brew is that it can be stored in the refrigerator for a much longer time than hot coffee And this is something we are going to discuss today in this article.
Before getting yourself some cold brew coffee, you might wonder, how long do cold brew last? Well, the life of your cold brew can depend on several factors, and in this article, we shall explore them all. So. let’s get started.
Shelf-life of Cold Brew Coffee – How Long Is Cold Brew Good For?
Typically cold brew coffee can last anywhere from 7 days to two weeks. However, this period could vary depending on your storage methods, quality of the beans, and many other factors. Coffee experts suggest that refrigerating the cold brew is the best way to preserve it for at least a week or two (for undiluted cold brew), Whereas at room temperature, the flavor will begin to sour within 2 hours, And in another few hours, mold will begin forming.
So. refrigeration is the best way to store a cold brew. But with that, there are several other factors that you should consider. Let’s have a look at these factors and how they can affect the shelf-life of cold brew coffee.
Since undiluted cold brew has high caffeine content, most coffee lovers like to dilute it before drinking it. But note that if you are diluting your cold brew with milk, you cannot leave it in the refrigerator for more than 8 hours. Otherwise, the milk inside your cold brew will end up bad and render the beverage useless.
Moreover, if you choose to dilute your cold brew with water instead of milk, then it shall last for just 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Also, the life of your beverage gets cut down by a large portion.
Making Your Cold Brew Last Longer
Many factors directly or indirectly determine how long your cold brew will last, So. to make sure that your cold brew remains fresh for a long period, consider the following tips.
Choose High-Quality Coffee Beans
The higher the quality of your beans, the longer your cold brew will stay fresh. However, you do not necessarily have to buy the most expensive coffee beans in the market. At the very least, make sure that your coffee beans are not of bad quality or old Also before you start grinding the beans, check their expiry date.
Things that may affect the quality of your coffee beans include (but are not limited to)
• Type of beans
• Location of growth
• Elevation of growth Processing
• Roasting Storage
The method of grinding may also impact the shelf-fife of cold brew coffee. To get the highest caffeine content and flavor, grind the beans until they are coarse enough.
If you grind them way too fine, your cold brew will end up with an extremely bitter taste, But if the beans remain too thick, you will not be able to extract enough flavor from them. That will, in turn, result in a bland drink.
Using the Right Ratios
When it comes to a high-end cold brew, the right ratio makes a considerable difference. The general rule of thumb is to use one-pound coffee beans for every single gallon of water. A variation in this ratio would mess up the flavor profile.
If you want to make a smaller batch of brew coffee, just scale down the amount of coffee and water while maintaining the same ratio.
Time of Steeping
In the end, the time of steeping is also crucial. For that, remember the following three guidelines.
• 12 hours is the least steeping time Anything time-period less than 12 hours will result in a bland drink
• 14-16 hours is the preferable time to extract just the right amount of flavor and caffeine from the coffee beans.
20-24 hours is way too long and will result in an extremely bitter flavor profile with a high concentration of caffeine
Depending on the flavor profile and caffeine concentration that you want, you can extend or reduce the above-mentioned time durations.
Signs That Your Cold Brew Has Gone Bad
Of course, nobody would want to drink an expired beverage, But since the taste of fresh cold brew would be slightly bitter anyway, how could new coffee drinkers tell the difference? There are three major signs that your cold brew has expired. If you notice any of these, throw the pitcher/bottle away and prepare to buy a new one.
• The cold brew has a very stale taste: This is the very first sign of coffee going bad
You can notice a strange odor coming from the coffee: This odor may be rancid woody, or sour. At this point, the cold brew is spoiled.
• The taste has changed: You may not smell your coffee before drinking it. But if you get the taste of wood vinegar or overripe fruit, just throw the beverage away.
Molds: Soon after, going bad. Molds will begin forming in your cold brew.
Before consuming your cold brew, always look for the above-mentioned tell-tale signs of a coffee going bad. With that, if you are buying the cold brew from a coffee shop, check the expiry date first. Some coffee manufacturers produce small batches with a shorter life. These will typically only last for 7 – 12 days. Or 14 days at bets.
On the other hand, some companies may produce larger volumes of cold brew with a longer shelf-life. Such companies typically use pressurization, pasteurization, and similar methods to increase the life of cold brew.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the making of cold brew coffee is quite simple, it still requires a fair amount of practice until one gets it right. Hence, people who are preparing or trying the cold brew for the first time ask some common questions. These include:
What Is The Best Grind Size for Cold Brew Coffee?
When you are grinding the coffee beans to make a cold brew, aim for a medium-coarse setting. Overall, the grains should resemble sugar or kosher salt. If the grains are too thick, your cold brew will remain flavorless, But if the grains are too small, your cold brew will turn out very bitter.
Grinding too fine actually heats up the grounds, and the final result loses its flavor. But you should make sure that the grind is not ultra-coarse either; otherwise, your coffee will taste weak and not coffee-like.
What Can I Do with Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate?
Well, if your cold brew turned out way too bitter and with a high caffeine concentration, you may still put it to good use.
You can use a concentrated cold brew to make:
• Iced Coffee – Dilute it with ice and cold water Hot Cold Brew Coffee – Dilute it with hot water
• Iced Cold Brew Latte – Dilute it with ice and milk
• Cold Brew Soda – Dilute it with soda flavor syrup and ice
What is The Right Amount of Coffee to Make Cold Brew?
There is no exact answer to this question. After all, coffee enthusiasts tend to choose a ratio based on their preferences, But generally, a 1:7 or 1:8 ratio of coffee to water is acceptable. With that, you can always dilute the cold brew further once it is ready.
How to Store Cold Brew?
When it comes to storage, you can use one of several options. These include the following;
Mason Jars Mason jars are perhaps the most popular choice to store cold brew coffee. Of course, you can always choose the one with the right size. They are perhaps the right option for those who want to prepare small batches.
• Teapots: Teapots are normally used to make tea. If you want to make a smaller personal batch, a teapot is a great option.
• French Press: A French press is typically used for the preparation of hot coffee Though, you can use it as a vessel for cold brew also
What is The Potency of Cold Brew?
The potency of cold brew simply depends on the ratio of coffee to water. With that, if you cold brew with milk, it may lower the concentration too, But generally, cold brew is very potent and contains a high concentration of caffeine. If you use the same brew-to-water ratios, however, then cold brew contains less caffeine than traditional espresso, Which is why many people find cold brew coffee to be stronger than regular coffee.
What Is The Best Type of Coffee Beans for Cold Brew?
Well, this depends on your preferences and personal taste. Typically. African Coffee beans are a top choice of coffee enthusiasts. Similarly, those who want a mellow profile choose Latin American coffee beans.
Before buying coffee beans to make cold brew, we suggest you read up about different types of beans and their properties. Experts recommend using a coarse grind because it makes filtering easy If you can skip the standard pre-ground coffee available on the market, it is advisable to buy whole beans and grind them yourself at home.
Cold brew coffee is now a widely-used alternative to hot coffee, and it can be prepared at home without much effort. Since it is not as much acidic as hot coffee, a lot of people actually like its taste. Another advantage is that unlike hot coffee, cold brew can be kept in the fridge for a long time without experiencing any degradation in its taste. However, it is not recommended to keep your cold brew for more than two weeks. If you decide to leave it in the fridge for more than ten days, it goes bad.
This article will help answer all your queries regarding cold brew coffee, how it is prepared, and how long it should be kept or stored in the refrigerator. If you want to see the best results, it is recommended to use the right type of beans and follow proper instructions to brew your coffee at home. It is also a good idea to follow some tips to make sure your coffee stays fresh for a long time.