Wave goodbye to the characterless iced coffee of the high-street and say hello to the magic of your very own batch of cold brew. Barista and UK Brewers Cup Champion Lisa-Laura Verhoest of Hackney’s Climpson & Sons shares two simple recipes for the perfect cold brew that’s easy to make at home.
If you’ve ever had cold brew coffee then you know without a doubt that a glass of the cool stuff on a sunny spring or summer morning makes you feel alive.
Cold brew season is here and we’re looking to answer the question that’s been bugging everyone for millennia — what is the best way to make cold brew coffee?
Could it be immersion, letting those grounds release all their goodness without heat over a long period of time? Or what about icing a brew as you brew it? We’ve made it our mission to find out.
We took our 100% Sidamo Sasaba Ethiopian signature espresso that tastes like milk chocolate and toffee. It’s versatile enough for pour over, espresso, or anything else you fancy. So we gave it both cold brew treatments – immersion and hot brew over ice – to determine which method would be victorious.
Note that the recipes below will brew a total of 600ml of coffee or one medium sized jug. If you are aiming to brew more or less coffee, simply adjust the amount of coffee grounds and water used. It’s important however to maintain the coffee to water ratio.
How to make an immersion cold brew coffee
Pros and cons: Simple but slow
This is the simplest method, but takes the longest amount of time to brew. The cold brew here needs to be prepared a few hours in advance or even the night before. This method has more caffeine because the coffee has been steeped for so long, but this is also the reason this method brings out the natural sweetness in the coffee and a bolder body.
The immersion method is also much more scalable than the pour over. You can get a cold brew toddy and easily make 14 litres of the stuff if that’s your kind of party.
The perfect cold brew immersion recipe
Start with your preferred immersion method i.e. cafetiere / French press or Aeropress. Then simply add coarse ground coffee as you normally would normally but add cold water instead of hot and… wait. Quite a long time.
You will need: We used the Hario Mizudashi, a coffee maker specifically designed for cold brew coffee. 47g of coffee, ground as coarse as possible. 600ml of water. A fridge and lots of time.
Method: Take the coffee and top with the water in the cold brew coffee maker. Leave it in your fridge overnight and chill for 12 hours. You can also use other immersion methods like the cafetiere / French press or Aeropress. The same recipe applies. Once ready to drink you can pour over ice, drink it black or add milk.
How to make hot brew coffee, over ice
Pros and cons: Quick but equipment heavy
This is practically an instant cold brew compared to the immersion method, but requires all the equipment you’d normally use to make a great pourover, plus the ice. This method is perfect if you’re a pour over whiz anyway and you ain’t got time for none of that steeping.
The perfect cold brew pour over recipe
You will need: 200g of ice. 400ml of water heated to 95°C. 45g of coffee ground at 7.8 on an EK coffee grinder. If using another grinder simply grind to the same size as granulated sugar.
Method: Add ice to a decanter or server where the coffee will drip into. Place the V60, dripper or your favourite pour over equipment over it. Start pouring over with water as normal. The freshly brewed coffee will drip over the ice, instantly chilling the coffee. Pour slightly less water over the coffee than you usually would due to the water already present in the ice. Follow the amounts above to get the total amount of water just right. Once brewed, you can enjoy your iced drink black or add milk.
And the winner is…
Despite having used the same coffee, the two brews tasted notably different. The immersion brew was sweeter, creamier, more intense, and had a heavier body. The pour over was cleaner and crisper, more refreshing, with a lighter body.
Out of our tasters, two preferred the immersion brew and two preferred the pour over — so, inconclusive? Or maybe all cold brew is just darn delicious.
The best brewing method for you really depends on what you want from your cold brew coffee. If you’re looking for sweetness and body then the immersion method is the one. If you’re all about a crisp cup, then iced pour over is the way to go. Ultimately, how quick you want that cold brew may determine which is the brew for you.
Discover Climpson & Sons Hackney-roasted and sustainably sourced coffee that’s focused on quality and flavour.
Check out the best alternative milks to use in coffee, tried and tested so you’ll never ruin a cup again.
Coffee newbie? Learn the basics of how to make the very best cup of coffee, whatever your brewing style.