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What is the Best Coffee to Water Ratio to Make Cold Brew?

We all love cold brew coffee. It has a smooth taste, and you still get the caffeine kick you want.

Although making it at home is super-simple, you must be extra careful with the proportion of coffee to water. If you don’t get this right, you’ll end up with a too strong or weak taste.

By the end of this guide, you’ll slide behind the counter at any local coffee shop and show them how it’s done!

Cold Brew Coffee Ratio

The general consensus on making the perfect cold brew is that a 1:5 proportion of coffee to water creates a nice balanced drink that you can enjoy straight. If you prefer to mix it with something, you’ll want to mix equal parts, cold water, milk, or whatever other cold brew coffee recipes you like. Consider some ways to sweeten your cold brew with sweetened milk or liquid sugar.

We recommend starting with the basics and learning how to expand your palette over time. Start with the 1:5 proportion, see how you like it, and then you can experiment from there. Todd from Le Colombe Coffee has his own little secret:

I have a habit of taking something and poking the edges of my french press to make sure that everything gets contact with the water.

So, keep in mind that you want to ensure that you properly soak all the coarsely ground coffee beans in the water. But, there’s still a right and wrong way to do it.

Here’s a table to help break it down for you:  

DescriptionCoffee To Water Ratio
Standard Preference1:5
Cold Brew Concentrate1:2
High Strength French Press1:7
Low Strength French Press1:12

Cold Brew Concentrate Ratio

If you have your concentrate, you’ll want to know the best cold brew coffee ratio here. Save money and time by crafting your own expert concentrate drinks at home. After you’ve let your cold brew steep for 12 hours up to 24 hours, this table will help you get started:

DescriptionCold Brew Ratio
Mellow Taste1:2 
Strong Taste1:1
Morning Coffee Shot1:1 (cream instead of water) 

The Importance of Getting the Ratio Right

Let’s not forget that everything revolving around coffee is subjective to the individual (1). Some people prefer a stronger brew, while others take their coffee a bit lighter. We know that. The problem is, a lot of people knock the cold brew because they don’t know how long to let cold brew steep. Our cold brew tips and techniques will help. But the proportion of cold water and coffee is so important because you want to get the ideal taste for your preferences.

If you don’t understand how a proportion of water to coffee impacts the taste, you’ll have a hard time enjoying it.

Also, it’s crucial to know how long is cold brew coffee good for. It’s only good for around a week in the refrigerator, so make sure you only make what you think you and your household will drink. If you’re planning a party, you can always make a little extra and plan for the week ahead.

cold brew coffee to water ratios if you plan to make cold brew at home
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Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about crafting the perfect cup now that you know more about cold brew ratios, we’d love to hear about your first experience. Cold brew is simple to make when you understand the steps, so give it a try for yourself! Enjoy your cup of coffee!

FAQs

Cold brew can be stronger than a standard hot coffee, or you can make it a little milder, it’s up to you. The best thing about cold brew is that you pick the ratio, so you get to determine how strong it is. You do it by diluting your concentrate with water.

Yes. You can reuse cold brew coffee grounds. However, the flavor will not be as good as with a freshly-ground coffee. Remember, fresh coffee is always better, no matter the brewing style of method. Still, there are other things you can do with used grounds, if you don’t feel like throwing them away. For example, you can use them as a plant fertiliser.

You don’t have to worry about diluting your cold brew with water or ice because it’s factored into the drink you make. That’s the main difference between iced coffee and cold brew. Iced coffee is just regular hot coffee poured over ice. But, if you feel like the taste of your cold brew is too strong, try diluting it. You can do it with both cold and hot water. It’s up to you.

  1. Waters, E. (2018, July 8). What Does Your Coffee Reveal about You? Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-does-your-coffee-reveal-about-you/
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I come from a country where people drink domestic coffee (what the rest of the world knows as Turkish coffee) and where Nescafe designates all instant coffees ever made. So, imagine my first encounter with, say, Hario V60...Yes, it was love at first sight.  Today I’m a moderate coffee connoisseur and a huge coffee lover. My favorite brewing methods are the V60 and traditional espresso-making. Yet, despite my country’s long tradition of Turkish-coffee-adoring, I somehow cannot stand it. That’s just too dark, even for me.

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