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Brew Quest Coffee Basics 101: Easy Cold Brew Coffee Recipe And What is a Life Worth?

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Cold brewing coffee in your kitchen.

Here’s an easy cold brew coffee recipe and instructions from a Consumer Reports expert who says, “All you need is some ground coffee, a couple of jars, and a coffee filter.” Plus, a discussion in Coffee Talk linking to what experts have to say on “What is a Life Worth?” when talking about “The Greater Good” philosophical issue.


Thus far with the Brew Quest Coffee Basics 101 series, we’ve introduced you to the concept and practice of extraction and have recommended some simple pour over coffee methods you can do in your kitchen using inexpensive drippers, kitchen glassware, paper filters, and hot water.

Brew Quest Coffee Basics 101: The Proper Way to Pour

Now is a good time to introduce another popular coffee brew that is even easier to do, perfect for hot weather drinking, and can give you an appreciation of extraction that is done under room temp water conditions—cold brew coffee.

The Difference Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew Coffee

Iced coffee is nothing more than hot brewed coffee with ice added to it to make it into a refreshing summertime drink. One problem with iced coffee is that unless you make it with “Americano cubes”—shots of espresso frozen in an ice cube tray—the coffee thins significantly as your regular ice cubes melt while cooling the hot brewed coffee.

Cold brewed coffee is ground coffee that is soaked 12 hours or longer at room temp, followed by filtering and then storing in the fridge until needed. In other words, the extraction that takes place with the beans does so much slower and differently than it does under typical hot water conditions in just a few minutes.

With cold brewed coffee the end result is a coffee with significantly less acidity and a range of different flavors which many believe are otherwise hidden when coffee is brewed hot.

Reasons for Cold Brewing Your Coffee:

• Cold-brewed coffee eliminates the flavor changes that occur from temperature change and the passage of time. Described as having a “locked-in flavor,” cold brew coffee holds onto its unique taste over a period of days while stored in the fridge.

Freezing Your Coffee Beans is No Longer Taboo and a Great Way to Save on Money and Flavor

• The cold-brewing process yields a much more balanced flavor with increased sweetness due to its lower acidity.

• Cold-brewing ground coffee beans is as simple as brewing coffee can get. All you need is pitcher or a jar with a lid—such as a mason jar—and something to strain out the grounds like a paper filter or even some cheesecloth.

• Cold-brewing allows the tongue to experience subtle flavors that are often masked when hot coffee numbs the tongue.

• The reduced acid from cold-brewing is healthier for your stomach and your teeth.

• If you prefer a quick hot coffee, you can add boiling water to cold brew concentrate and have not just a hot coffee, but one with significantly less acid in it too.

• Youi can use cold-brewed coffee directly in a coffee-flavored cocktail, or freeze cold-brew coffee into cubes for a more-subtle addition of flavor while cooling the cocktail at the same time.

How to Cold Brew Your Coffee

Step 1. Find a glass pitcher or large mason jar that will hold more than 3 cups of water.

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Step 2. Preferably use fresh coarse-ground coffee beans for the best flavor. Add 1 and ½ cups of the grind to 3 cups of cold water in the glass pitcher or mason jar.

Step 3. Stir the mix until the grind is totally saturated.

Step 4. Allow the jar to rest at room temp for at least 12 hours with an occasional stir. If you want, you can place the jar in the fridge instead, but let it seep for a longer period of time say 18-24 hours due to the cold temperature extraction takes longer.

Step 5. Take an empty jar, pitcher or carafe and place a funnel in its neck with either a paper coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth to catch the grounds as you filter the cold brew into the container.

Brew Quest Coffee Basics 101: Paper Filtering Your Coffee

Step 6. What you have now is a cold-brew concentrate. You can dilute a cup of it at a time with some ice, milk, or a condensed sweetened milk to your taste. If the concentrate is too heavy, you can dilute it to a 1:1 or 1:1.5 ratio with cold water to suit your taste.

Step 7. Store any leftover cold-brew concentrate in a sealed container in the fridge. It should stay good for up to two weeks.

Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk is meant to encourage discourse between you and someone you are having coffee with, as well as for the comments section below. If you agree or disagree with the topic and what is said, or have something you would like to share, Coffee Talk is there for you.

An old joke goes that an alcoholic in denial about his condition heard that someone who is truly an alcoholic often drinks alone. So, to rationalize himself out of this criterion, he continued to drink at home alone…but always with a mirror in front of him.

That said, one of the problems with Coffee Talk is that during COVID-19 social isolation, it is difficult to meet with someone to have a cup and some meaningful conversation. And especially, in a timely manner when you find yourself needing some conversation immediately to help deal with the stress of what life has become.

One solution, is to replace that storied alcoholic’s mirror with your laptop, and click on an episode of an NPR podcast like Ted Talk. If you have a problem, the odds are very likely someone else has that problem also and you may find it covered and discussed in an episode of a Ted Talk podcast.

Here’s one episode on the Ted Radio Hour that discusses issues about “The Greater Good” and how it matters today that includes a discussion of what a human life is worth!

Worth a try, but if it’s not for you, well…there’s always a beer or two while sitting on your stoop and watching life go by.

Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on the connection between coffee and healthy living. For continual updates about the benefits of coffee on your health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.

Image Source: Courtesy of Photo by Lindsay Martin on Unsplash


How to Make Cold-Brew Coffee Without a Coffee Maker” Consumer Reports July 6, 2020.

The Greater Good” Ted Radio Hour June 19, 2020.