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Vacuum Cold Brew: Using Science to Brew Better Coffee

Before I was a coffee writer, I was a scientist. So, ultra-nerdy brewing methods hold a special place in my heart. Vacuum cold brew coffee caught my eye. Using a vacuum pump to brew coffee? Sign me up!

Happily, you don’t need a background in science to understand this novel brew method. Just read this article for everything you need to know. And I promise not to get too nerdy with you.

What is Vacuum Cold Brew Coffee?

Vacuum cold brew coffee is coffee that has been extracted using a vacuum. Like making traditional cold brew, it’s an infusion brewing method; the ground coffee steeps in cold water before being filtered out. So you can expect a similar flavor profile. But thanks to vacuum technology, you can expect it much faster!

What is a vacuum, and why use it?

A vacuum is the absence of air; it is space in the truest sense. There’s a common expression, “nature abhors a vacuum.” When you remove air from a container, nature wants something to take its place – in this case, brewing water. 

All Siphon coffee makers work on a similar concept. But when you use a siphon coffee maker, a heat source creates a vacuum, which doesn’t work for cold brew.

The vacuum in the brew chamber has another effect besides sucking in the brewing water; the very low pressure lowers the boiling point to nearly room temperature. This is the same thing that happens when you go to high altitude but are taken to the extreme in a vacuum.

Even though the water temperature is cool, it extracts coffee at the same rate as traditional hot brewing.

What a cool (pun intended) use of science!

vacuum cold brew

The Advantages of Vacuum Cold Brew

The biggest advantage of vacuum cold brew is speed; you’ll enjoy a cold brew in 20 minutes instead of 20 hours. Not only is this useful when a craving hits, but it’s easier to experiment with different coffee beans quickly, grind sizes, and doses to optimize your drink. This is an essential but often overlooked aspect of preparing cold brew, according to Perfect Daily Grind editor Tasmin Grant (1).

Like hot coffee, cold brew needs to be prepared with care and attention to detail to create a quality drink.

Two less apparent advantages are extended shelf-life and improved safety. Vacuum sealing is an excellent method of preservation. Your cold brew will last much longer if you don’t break the seal. Similarly, the faster brew time and absence of air provide less opportunity for harmful microbes to make a home in your coffee.

The downside of vacuum cold brewing is the cost. Traditional cold brew needs only a mason jar and some cheesecloth, inexpensive items you probably already own. In comparison, a dedicated vacuum cold brewer can cost hundred dollars.

How do you make vacuum cold brew?

A vacuum cold brewer is the best way to make vacuum cold brew. There are only a few available so far, but expect to see more as the market segment grows. With luck, this will also lower costs.

Or you can use a traditional vacuum sealer, as in this video:

They are no less expensive, but they benefit from being multipurpose.

See these other ways you can make cold brew aside from using a traditional cold brew coffee maker:

Final Thoughts

Vacuum cold brew coffee is still new on the scene, but we expect to see it growing in the coming years. It’s simply too convenient to ignore. If you often find yourself craving a spontaneous cold brew and are tired of dropping cash at the coffee shop, this is the brew method for you.

FAQs

The best coffee for cold brew is a matter of personal taste. Delicious cold brew beans can be single origin or blends, light or dark roasts, and the important thing is that they are high quality and coarsely ground.

The difference between cold brew and cold drip coffee is that cold brew is an immersion brewing method (coffee grounds steep in brew water) while cold drip is an infusion brewing method (brew water flows through coffee grounds). Cold drip is considered a type of cold brewing. 

The difference between cold brew and iced coffee is that iced coffee is brewed hot and then chilled whereas cold brew is brewed with cold water. The two brewing methods will yield different flavor profiles because hot water extracts different compounds.

  1. Grant, T. (2020, January 16). How Cold Brew Captured The Millenial Market. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/01/how-cold-brew-captured-the-millennial-market/
Julia Bobak
I love trail running, rock climbing, coffee, food, and my tiny dog — and writing about all of them. I start every morning with a fresh Americano from my home espresso machine, or I don’t start it at all.

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