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DIY: Cold Brew Coffee

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Picture of DIY: Cold Brew Coffee
I've been a Barista in high end coffee for about 4 years now. One of the things you learn early on is that it is distasteful to ever ice espresso. Many go forward never questioning why this is such a bad idea, but I have an inquisitive mind and looked into it further.

It turns out that coffee is high in chlorogenic acid, which, as the coffee cools, forms quinic acid, which has a noteable and overwhelming astringent flavor. So the task is to brew coffee in a way that does not involve heat, and also reduces the apparent acidity. In the 60's the Toddy method became popular and it produces a finished product that is notably less bitter and actually puts forward a deep caramel and chocolaty flavor. It is perfect for a warm day.


I decided to make my own cold brew coffee brewer.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Supplies:
-6oz of a well roasted coffee
-one piece of felt (.29 cents at michaels)
-two large coffee filters
-a two-liter bottle
-thread
-scissors

Step 2: Begin

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Cut the bottom off of the two-liter bottle.

Step 3: Stand

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Use a broad glass to act as a stand for the brewer

Step 4: Filter

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Fold a piece of felt

Step 5: Filter insertion

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Roll up the felt and stuff it into the opening of the brewer.

Step 6: Weigh

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Weigh out 6 ounces of a good, quality coffee. Bad coffee will only get you bad cold brew.

Step 7: Grind

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Grind to the coarsest possible setting.

Step 8: Make coffee "tea bags"

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Split the coffee into two large coffee filters.

Step 9: Tie

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Tie them off with thread.

Step 10: Set in your brewer

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Set them in your brewer, fill with a little over 6 cups of good, clean water

Step 11: Brew!

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Brew for 12-24 hours, this batch brewed for 14 hours.

Step 12: Take off the cap!

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Take off the cap and a slow drip should start.

Step 13: ALMOST THERE!

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So so close
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Over thought and useless. Don't worry about filtering till the end. why keep the coffee in a freaking pouch during the brewing processes, let the coffee breath. Sorry I'm a line cook and its part of line cook culture to say when procedure is B.S.Its how we grow.

shane. shane, arbiter of line cook culture. you sir, have grown past shaquille size, even far past andre the giant size by having only what i can assume is massive amounts of your procedure declared bull$#¡±.
i actually am aware, as a wandering waitstaff wunderkind, that in fine dining, the line is hell.
feeling the air displacement and sound similar to machine guns raised to frantic pitch, each minute on the line is a potential catasrophe, mediocre warmed over mess, or Himalayan air, dragged into near failing lungs, instead representing a triumph of poetry made from meats, roux, just torn herbs, steady high gas heat, and over 10,000 hours of unfailing focus resulting in savory, as a definition or a step closer to great, better than great, and best.
what im wondering is: why no concrete step by step improvement in procedure for the Original Poster?
Do they not deserve to grow, as do you, noble linecook?
Where art thine heart, if not only beating to spread thine art?!?
tnwhatzit3 years ago
How about cheese cloth instead of the felt?

works fine. its much easier to buy a couple plastic strainers. i got sick of buying cheesecloth.

A little bacteria and mold in my food do not bother me in the least. 

But the chemicals in the felt do worry me. It would be nice to find an inexpensive reusable filter. Cheesecloth seems like it would let grounds through. Perhaps a well-worn/well-washed cloth would work.

I will commence experimentation...
BethB2 mjenkins16 months ago

Try straining through a nut milk bag? I just ran mine through the reusable filter from my coffee maker and all was well. I know several of the nut milk bags are marketed towards cold brewing though.

Just minutes later, I found a tutorial that uses cheese cloth and a microfine strainer: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/

WHAT YOU NEED:

- (2) 3 L tupperware w/ lids (buy at dollar store) $2

- a cheap multipack of kitchen strainers (walmart $1.39) - plastic ones, work better than metal believe it or not (Ive tried both)

- a gallon of filtered water (do not use tap, as this WILL affect the taste) $1

- a lb of COARSE ground coffee (I buy Starbucks but I have been experimenting with other brands) $8.99

-plastic pitcher $2

there is much easier way to do this. buy (2) 3 L tupperware (w/ lids) from the dollar store. Buy 1 gallon filtered water. Buy 1 lb decent coffee and have it ground to coarse (trying to use fine ground will give you disgusting bittter coffee - trust me, I tried it). Buy a cheap set of plastic mesh strainers from Walmart (they're like $1.39) for a set of 4. Pour 8 cups of water into one of the tupperware. Measure out 2 1/4 cup of your coarse ground coffee. Pour over the water. The coffee will start to sink to the bottom. You don't have to mix it. Gently dunk the coffee at the top so that all the coffee is submerged under the water. Cover this coffee with a lid and store at room temperature. B

e sure to note starting time. I have found thru trial and error that 12 hr brew and 14 hr brew works out fine, but 20 hrs will most likely leave you with a bitter batch (I tried it yesterday and was very sad :( ). Some people say "you can leave it to brew forever" but this is FALSE. Note the time you started the brew and just write down the end time on a sticky note. 12-14 hours later, take the lid off your coffee tupperware. Smells good, eh? :) Place TWO mesh strainers onto of each other (this isn't rocket science. no need for t-shirts, cheesecloth, felt, etc). Rest the strainers on top of the empty tupperware. Slightly tricky part... Pour the water and grounds into the strainers and make sure the strainers do NOT fall into the water. I have found that plastic strainers work better bc the metal ones tend to FALL in. Once you have just the last bits of coffee grounds left in the strainer, gently run a spoon over the grounds, so that you can get those last bits of coffee. What I generally do at this point, is I take my used tupperware and the strainers and dump them in the sink. Then I pour the FINISHED PRODUCT into a cool pitcher and then stick it into the fridge. ENJOY!

Rhyno_832 years ago
How much cold brew syrup does this end up making?

However much water you use in the brewing process is the liquid amount you'll end up with in the end.

Amon-1002 years ago
Hi great instructable, i was just wondering can this cold brew concentrate be added to hot water or warm water in the same fashion to produce a regular cup of coffee. I ask because as a student "vitamin C" is extremely important and while there are coffee shops on campus both good and bad and both expensive.

Lucky hot water is cheep / free and while i have experimented with carrying instant grounds is almost always ends up moisture from the atmosphere ruining the grounds, a liquid coffee concentrate would solve these problems.

Yes, it is the most common use of concentrated cold brewed coffee: 12 oz of good quality coarse ground coffee beans to 7 cups cold or room temp water. To serve: 1 part coffee concentrate to 3 parts ( hot or cold) water, milk, nut milk, etc.. more or less to taste.

You'd probably have to make it a bit stronger than this I'd imagine, I found it just the perfect strength for me when mixed 50/50 with milk. And a shot of caramel syrup never went astray)
jenn.reveles3 months ago

Hmmm....I absolutely love this! Must try but will do like others and look for filter other than the felt. I also have two bottles of Secret Squirrel from Ohana Brewery that I will drink till I perfect my skills at this method of cold brewing. :-)

alisa13 months ago

I found a pretty good one, that's from Australia too - it has glassware for labs, so if anything breaks I can replace it

http://www.labfriend.com.au/cold-drip-coffee-kit

MikeB164 months ago

I love how this is so dude style: cut coke bottle, felt, etc.

This other one is so lady style: clean tubs, nice decanter, etc.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/

WurdBendur2 years ago
How long will this keep? Does it get bitter when it's not fresh?

You've probably already hunted down the answer by now, but I've had good luck keeping mine for up to 2 weeks. I generally drink it up relatively fast though. If you're ever worried you're not going to finish drinking it, try freezing them in to ice cubes for a really nice iced coffee.

joombaloomba8 months ago

0.29 cents < 1 cent...

PaulL28 months ago

I tried making it with filters, it was just too fussy and time consuming for me. I am now using a French press and it works just fine with no fuss and bother.

palscher10 months ago

I'm going to try this too. I think glass wool will work as a filter. I will also try cotton wool , and clean wool roving with no lanolin and report back. I love your set up

Nice instructable, thanks :) Gonna try it out ASAP.

c0ndevon1 year ago
what he did is he cut the bottom of the bottle

check the previous step :)
maximzodal1 year ago
Good instructable except for the hobby shop felt. I would be very leery using any felt, or filter, that was not certified food grade. No telling what is in it.
Rhyno_832 years ago
Can you explain what you have done to the bottom of the bottle before placing it in the end of the remaining bottle?
Witch3212 years ago
Good morning,

i would like to trie your method. I am in germany and here cold coffee is really unkonwn. I want to maeke drinsk of it like starbucks cold coffee shakes.

But I have one question: Could I use other materials for the last - double filter instead of felt? I do not have any felt at home. Could I just use clean cotton instead oft it?

Thank you.
Hi. I used three paper filters together instead of the felt, and had no problems, tasted great. It's also unheard of here in Australia.
harthoppy2 years ago
Do you need to keep this cold ?
I love the idea i may try it this weekend !
LadyCrymsyn3 years ago
Could anyone clarify for me: is there a particular roast that this brewing method works best with? When drinking regular drip coffee, I prefer a lighter roast (like a breakfast roast or a city roast). But this calls for "6oz of a well roasted coffee", and I'm not sure if that means a coffee that has been roasted skillfully or a coffee that has been roasted until it's well-done. Any help would be appreciated.
I myself have no idea, I just grabbed a pre-ground bag of some good smelling/tasting stuff from a coffee shop nearby (Gloria Jeans) and it worked great. I also recommend replacing the felt filter with a couple of paper filters in a funnel, got a much smoother flavour out and I didn't have to worry about weather the felt had anything in it to be worried about, coffee filters were made for that.
loafers2 years ago
Made this just a couple of weeks ago with a couple of little changes, and loved it!

I use a 270g bag of preground espresso beans, I replaced the felt filtering with a layer of 3 paper filters sitting on a funnel (worked very well that way!) I also did it in just a 2L jug (the sort I usually put orange juice in), rather than mangling a coke bottle. Worked Great!

A half shot of caramel syrup, a couple of ice cubes, and a good dash of full-cream milk, it was just too good!

DEFINITELY making this again soon, it's almost spring time now so I'll need something to cool me down. haha (That's Australia for you..)
AZKAHUNA3 years ago
Since felt is a fiber is there any evidence that it could be harmful because of it's manufacturing process? Like solvents.
Broom AZKAHUNA3 years ago
Traditional felt was prepared with mercury compounds (hence, "mad as a hatter" - making felt hats led to mercuric poisoning.)

AFAIK modern felt, usually (but not always) polyester, doesn't contain extra chemicals... but that's not much assurance.
Most felt that you'll find in craft stores is polyester, but wool felt is still out there -- it's probably easier to find in fabric stores. I'm not sure what chemicals are used to produce either synthetic or all-wool felt, but it's likely that some sort of bleaching goes on to get the pure white felt.

You can always make your own felt if you can find the "roving" -- which is the cleaned and carded wool. Water + agitation + temperature changes = felt! (or even just water + agitation, if you have the time)
If you can get information about how the roving was processed, then you can have a much better idea of what chemicals (if any) were involved.

My personal preference would be to *not* use a synthetic felt, and probably not a wool felt purchased at a store, for exactly that concern: not knowing what chemicals were used. But I would be fine using felt that I made, or other items that met my own idea of what is 'food safe.'
DustyBoots3 years ago
I hope that's a burr grinder, not a blade grinder. All barista credibility goes out the window if it's a blade grinder. ;)
LeDesordre (author)  DustyBoots3 years ago
its a baratza maestro conical BURR grinder, good lookin out!
call me stupid, but can i ask what the difference in end product is between the grinders? I love coffee, but don't have the deep knowledge that a barista would have. Is it that a grinder gives a more even/fine grind?
It's definitely something like that. A burr grinder gives a more even grind, while also producing less of the ultra-fine dust that a blade grinder creates. Overall, a burr grinder gives a more consistent grind.
cwalraven3 years ago
Can you use the felt more then once or is it a one time thing?
LeDesordre (author)  cwalraven3 years ago
Hey there!

You can rinse the felt out and let it dry on a dish rack and reuse it!
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