How Long Should Cold Brew Steep?

There are a few different methods for cold brewing, and each has an effect on the final quality of your coffee.

When it comes down to it, these differences don’t matter too much. The most important factor with cold brew is the amount of hours it takes with the steeping time.

Let’s take a look at how long should cold brew steep, as well as other factors that can affect the final product of your cold brew.

Let’s also look at the possibilities of what happens if you steep cold brew for too long, and how you can improve your cold brew coffee from the comfort of your home!

How Long Should You Be Steeping Cold Brew Coffee?

One of the most important questions is how long should you steep your cold brew? If you don’t steep cold brew for long enough, it can be a bit of a weaker flavor than you’re used to.

The best way to ensure that your cold brew is ready when you want it is to use a scale and measure out how much coffee and water you need for each batch (so that you’re always getting the same amount).

Then use an immersion method or French press to mix the ingredients together before allowing the cold brew to steep overnight in the fridge.

What Happens if You Steep Cold Brew for too Long?

finished cold brew in cup

On the other hand, if you steep cold brew too long, it does oftentimes become too bitter to enjoy. The longer amount of time you allow the coffee grounds to steep in the cold water, the more time they have to leach out their flavor and become a further acidic batch of cold brew.

However, should you prefer your cup of coffee on the stronger side, and don’t mind a little bit of acidity, then by all means go ahead and leave the coffee to steep in there for as long as you like!

But if you prefer a smoother flavor and blend of coffee, then we suggest that you remove the cold brew from the refrigerator after letting it steep for about 12 hours.

Coffee to Water Ratio

pouring coffee beans into cold brew filter

The water to coffee ratio in the cold brew process is generally 1:4, or even 1:3 for a stronger cold brew. You can, however, adjust this ratio to make cold brew stronger or weaker depending on your taste.

If you’d prefer to use less coffee than a 1:3 cold brew ratio, simply allow your cold brew steep time to be at a greater length of time in the fridge.

Typically, you would allow your cold brew coffee to sit in the fridge to steep for 12 hours, however, allowing your cold brew to steep for more time, such as, 15 hours or even 16 hours, it will ultimately produce a richer flavor and stronger cup of coffee.

How to Make Cold Brew

how to make cold brew

Cold brew’s a great way to get a caffeine boost without all the acidity. It’s delicious, and it’s easy to make at home with just some cold water, coffee grounds, and it only takes a few hours of your time.

But how do you make cold brew, and where should you prepare a batch of coffee cold brew on your own?

Once you have your ingredients ready, we will discuss where to prepare your favorite coffee drink. If you want to start cold brewing at home, here are some tips on making cold brew process easier:

  • Use large, coarsely ground coffee beans. The smaller the grind of the coffee, the faster amount of time it will take for your cold brew will be ready.
  • Make sure you use enough coffee grounds, measuring roughly 2 cups per quart of cold water.
  • Use freshly filtered water rather than tap water to avoid imparting unpleasant an flavor in your cold brew.

*Find the best beans for cold brew here!

The best way to make cold brew at home is by using a cold brew coffee maker (this is the cold brew maker I use), however, there are methods that utilize a French press (here’s the exact French pres I use!), a glass quart canning jar, and more.

Depending on what you have on hand, the directions are easily altered. The biggest difference in brewing cold brew coffee compared to your typical brewing method, is that the water is never heated.

Instead, the caffeinated goodness is extracted over time, generally a 12 hour period in the refrigerator.

  1. Begin the cold brew process by measuring out your coffee grounds, and add the necessary amount of water.
  2. Combine the coffee grounds and cold water to your French press or canning jar.
    • If you are using a French press, do not press down on the plunger!
  3. Place your French press, or canning jar concentrate, into a cold, dark place and let the cold brew steep for 12 hours to 15 hours.

How to Store Cold Brew 

Once you have strained your batch of cold brew concentrate to remove the spent grounds, we recommend storing your cold brew coffee in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

The best time to drink cold brew is within 24 hours of making it, but that doesn’t mean the coffee won’t be good after that time period.

It’s an important part of the process to store cold brew in an airtight container, this will help you safely enjoy your coffee between 7 to 14 days stored in the fridge. This will inhibit the possibility of mold growth, or even oxidation from ruining the flavor of your cold brew batch.

The Benefits of Drinking Cold Brew

finished cold brew pouring into a cup

If you needed another reason to drink cold brew, other than the ease of prep, cold brew offers many differences from its heated drip coffee counterpart.

Not only is it a fun way to mix it up in the morning with flavors and milks (it’s always cold brew season!), but cold brew is also known as a metabolism boost and the secret to an improved mood.

When your metabolism experiences a boost your body will burn fat as you rest, and the caffeine in cold brew is capable of increasing metabolic rate up to 10% or more.

Furthermore, aside from a lowered level of acidity, cold brew serves as an increased source of antioxidants.

In the end, the strength of your cold brew coffee does comes down to personal taste and whether you like your coffee flavor on the bitter or sweet side.

Although there are many guides out there that will tell you how long to steep your cold brew for, it is our hope you are more inclined to rely on your own taste buds.

cup of cold brew

If you try this method at home, throw together a quick experiment of your own to test out on your friends.

Cold drinks such as iced coffee and cold brew are such personal drinks to most people.

Chances are, you know your coffee flavor preferences better than anyone else, so there’s no harm in experimenting with cold brew coffee to see how you like it best!

Looking for more coffee fun? Head on over to these posts!

About bit of cream

Rishi and Jen are the creators behind Bit of Cream. They start each morning with a cup of coffee and are on the hunt to make that simple cup of caffeine better and brighter. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!

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