How to Make Cold Brew: Home Edition

So you’ve been to the farmers markets, you’ve tried our cold brew, and you've thought, “Man, this is so good, I could never make cold brew coffee as good as this.” But I’m here to tell you, that’s the stuff of nonsense. Even though we at Reconstruction do use a specially-designed, commercial-level five gallon cold brew coffee system, you can duplicate our brew method at home on a much more home-appropriate scale, without having to buy the commercial equipment. All you need is a bag of Reconstruction Crossover Blend coffee, a French press, some water, and about 18 hours of time.

But don’t worry. Most of that time will be spent not working on, or thinking about, or even remembering the coffee that you have brewing on your counter.

Now, if you’ve never made cold brew before, you might be thinking, “Hold up. It brews on the counter? Isn’t it supposed to brew somewhere cold? Like a refrigerator, or Scrooge McDuck’s* heart?” And the answer is: No! Cold brew is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not actually a cold brew. It’s really a room temperature brew. But calling it a “cold brew” distinguishes it from a “hot brew,” which is basically every other method of brewing coffee, from pour over to French press to moka pot to automatic drip…and “cold brew” is also a lot easier to say than “room temperature brew,” and it sounds 86% more appetizing. But cold brew coffee doesn’t actually get cold, at least not while it’s brewing.

I guess naming things is hard, I don’t know.

The process for making a good batch of cold brew is essentially this: You grind the beans, you drop them into a French press, you pour cold or room-temperature water over the ground coffee, you stir it up, and you let it sit for about eighteen hours (depending on your own taste…more on that later). That’s it. That’s how it brews. When it’s done, you just push down the plunger on the French press—which is why the French press is such a great (and inexpensive!) at-home cold brew system alternative—and pour out the coffee. Mmmmm.

Before we get to the specifics of the process, you may be wondering, “What’s the benefit of doing cold brew at all? I don’t want coffee in eighteen hours, it’s 4:50am, my toddler just woke up screaming, I need coffee now!

If that’s the case, as a parent of a toddler myself, I recommend you stop reading this blog, close your browser, go make a hot cup of coffee, and maybe pick this back up during nap time.

The big difference is, cold brew is a sweeter, smoother coffee. The acidity of coffee that’s brewed for a longer time at room temperature is a bit lower than that of coffee that’s hot brewed, so the sweetness gets to shine through a bit (and the bitterness, too, if you use a darker roast). 

And sure, you can put hot coffee over ice, but you’re going to miss out on that extra bump of sweetness, and keep in mind that the water-to-coffee ratio in hot brewed coffee is adjusted to be perfect as-is. If you add ice, suddenly the water side of that ratio jumps, and you’ll get a watered-down coffee experience.

Cold brew, on the other hand, is made into a concentrate, which is designed to be mixed with ice that will eventually melt and dilute the coffee further. The ice that you’ll pour it over is factored into the brewing method!

Okay, now that I’ve bored you to tears, here’s how to make stellar Reconstruction Crossover Blend cold brew coffee at home:

  • Measure out your coffee beans. If you have a kitchen scale, put that thing to work! If not, a scoop will work just as well. We’re looking for about four ounces (or half a cup) of coffee beans here. Once you make a batch or two, you might want to increase or decrease your measurements, but four ounces is a solid place to start.
  • Give the coffee a coarse grind. Seriously, the coarser the better. If you don’t have a grinder with adjustable settings, we sell a really great one from Baratza. Or, if you’re not ready to upgrade your grinder, have us grind it for you! Select “cold brew” as your grind style when you buy your Crossover, and we’ll take care of it!
  • Pour your coarsely ground coffee into the bottom of the French press.
  • Pour water over the top of the grounds. We recommend spring water, when possible, because the minerals in spring water can really heighten the flavor of the coffee! But tap, distilled, purified…whatever you have on hand will work great. Add 8x as much water as coffee. So if you’re using four ounces of coffee beans, you’ll use 32 ounces (or four cups) of water.
    • Some people prefer a 7:1 ratio, some even go with 6:1, to get a really solid coffee concentrate. Trial and error! We suggest starting with 7:1 or 8:1 as a baseline, and adjusting if you need you need stronger coffee at the end.
  • Give the coffee-water concoction a gentle stir. You don’t want to agitate the grounds too much, but you do want them all submerged.
  • Place the top on the French press, but do not plunge it! Leave the plunger up, and leave the French press on your counter (or your table, or your desk, or, in case of caffeine emergency, on your nightstand) for 18 hours.
    • The longer it sits, the stronger your coffee will taste! Some people let their cold brew sit for a full 24 hours! But keep in mind, the longer it sits, the more bitter it will become, so we recommend letting Crossover sit for 18 hours.
  • When the time has passed, it’s time to press! Push down on the plunger, trap the grounds in the bottom of the brewer, and pour yourself a rich, chocolaty, lime-zest-finish glass of Reconstruction Crossover cold brew coffee!

We want to see how you enjoy your cold brew! Share your photos on Instagram and tag @reconstructioncoffee!


*any other 80s kids in the room?

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