What is Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate?

By coldbrewhub

C, F, L

Coffee has been a commodity for centuries. History has provided us with many ways to prepare the drink: from full beans to grounds, from French press to percolator. It has been prepared hot and cold, pressed, burnt, ground, black and sweetened, but one thing has remained the same; people love to drink coffee. Americans drink up to 400 million cups of coffee a day, so you can imagine what those numbers look like weekly. Through all these centuries, man has come up with dozens of ways to enjoy their favorite drink. One of the newest fads in coffee enjoyment is the creation of the cold brew coffee concentrate. Coffee concentrates, like other trends, have started popping up all over the place. You'll find rows and shelves of bottled coffee concentrates at your local store mixed in with various cold brew concentrate coffee kits. Cold-brew is clearly, in high demand.

You may be surprised to learn that the cold brew coffee sensation isn't entirely new – it's been a Japanese staple for centuries, only recently making a splash in the US. Its recipes have finally become mainstream as well, primarily thanks to Starbucks. When Starbucks announced that it would be selling it in stores around the United States and Canada, the cold brew craze launched to commercial popularity, seemingly overnight!

While cold brew coffee is, basically, just cold coffee, it is not your standard iced coffee. There are significant differences. For instance, iced coffee is just hot coffee served over ice. It is, generally, brewed the same as coffee served warm, then cooled and diluted with milk or sweetener. Here is where the significant difference is with the cold brew varieties. We make cold brew coffee by brewing it at cold or room temperature water over 12 to 18 hours. The temperature never changes drastically, but remains cool throughout the entire brewing process, giving it a unique taste. Some feel like this may make the coffee less caffeinated because you get less caffeine from the beans when brewing cold. Of course, like all other recipes, a lot is left purely up to taste, meaning that there are many different results when making cold brew coffee. The most common cold brew coffee recipes involve the use of coffee concentrate.


What sets cold brew and cold brew concentrate apart from other coffee? The first step to making cold brew is to use colder water than when making conventional coffee. Because cold brew coffee is made using cold water, it usually gives the coffee a more well-rounded, mellow flavor. We describe cold brew as having a mild, yet surprisingly full-bodied experience, all while maintaining a less acidic taste when compared with most iced coffees. We soak our cold brews for many long hours before straining. This process will leave just the coffee liquid, which is, essentially, a cold brew coffee concentrate. Once you have made your cold brew and steeped it for the desired amount of time, you will have a robust cold brew coffee concentrate. You might want to cut it with water or milk to make a delicious, delectable cold brew coffee.

One misnomer in the cold brew process is the term cold brew itself. When making the concentrate, you do not want to make it at a colder temperature. In the case of concentrate, you want to brew it at room temperature. However, when cutting the concentrate with milk or water, you will want it to be much colder than when you made the concentrate. As mentioned above, some feel this will mean that the drink will be less caffeinated or that more of the caffeine will be lost.

There are several ways to make cold brew coffee concentrate. You can make it with just about any coffee pot, including the ubiquitous french press. It's important to remember, however, when using a french press that the coffee filter may not catch all the grounds. Therefore, you must be careful to follow any tips you can find about keeping the grounds out of the finished product. With the coffee adequately filtered from the french press, you will have a clean, smooth tasting concentrate, not a gritty, chewy finished project.


This cold brew coffee concentrate will make about 8 to 12 cups of cold brew coffee based on the strength you desire. If you love strong iced coffee, you can make your cold brew using a 1:1 ratio of the coffee concentrate to water/milk. Most standard cold brew iced coffee ratios would be 1:2, with 1 part cold brew concentrate to 2 parts water/milk. However, as mentioned above, there are several different recipes available online with varying ratios of coffee to water. What it all comes down to is the taste you prefer.

It is best to use coarse ground coffee beans when making your concentrate, especially when using a french press. Metal filters may not capture all the grounds. Nobody likes gritty coffee. However, using the roughly ground beans means that you can ensure the filter catches the larger chunks, and the concentrate is plenty smooth and creamy.

The instructions below will provide tips you need to turn coffee beans into a cold brew coffee concentrate that you will love. This way, you will always have some cold brew coffee on hand and ready to enjoy solo or with friends. Imagine the time and money saved by not having to go to expensive coffee houses or shopping markets to get your fix.


Yield: 4 cups of concentrate, 8 to 12 cups of iced coffee

Prep time: 5 minutes

Brew time: 12 to 18 hours


For the cold brew concentrate:

  • 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans (remember, the coarser, the better)
  • 4 cups of cold or room temperature water (filtered is best)

For the cold brew iced coffee:

  • 4 cups of cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 4 to 8 cups of cold filtered water and milk
  • Crushed or shredded ice
  • Coffee syrup or sugar (optional)
  • Creamer like almond milk coffee creamer, cashew milk coffee creamer, coconut coffee creamer, or half-and-half


  1. Grind coffee beans, remembering not to grind them too fine.
  2. Add your coffee grounds to a large pitcher or jar that can hold at least 40 ounces and has an airtight lid.
  3. Pour the filtered water over the grounds.
  4. Stir the coffee grounds and water vigorously for a few minutes to ensure that they mix properly.
  5. Place the lid on the pitcher and store it in your kitchen out of direct sunlight.
  6. Allow your cold brew coffee blend to sit for 12 to 18 hours, depending on the strength that you would prefer.
  7. Take a few layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter and line a large fine-mesh strainer or sieve so that you can strain the grounds from the concentrate.
  8. Place the sieve or strainer over a large bowl and pour the grounds and water through the filter to discard the coffee grounds.
  9. Pour your cold brew coffee concentrate into a pitcher or jar with an airtight lid and place it in the refrigerator until you want to use it.

The coffee concentrate keeps in your refrigerator for up to 14 days. You can also infuse additional flavor into your coffee during nearly any step in the brewing process. You can add cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, nutmeg, or other spices into the pitcher along with the ground coffee. If there is a flavor you love, simply add it to the coffee mixture.

Keep in mind that each additive you put into your coffee will equal a step down in the shelf life of the product. It is best to brew without any additives and add them in a later step just before you want to consume your beverage. If you do add too much too soon, you may find funky stuff growing in your brew. If you are ever in doubt, throw it out. Don't ignore this most crucial step in the process. Be sure to check your concentrate weekly to ensure it is still good, and freeze it after week 2.


To make your cold brew iced coffee using the concentrate, simply fill a glass with shredded or crushed ice, or just make sure you keep your cups cold. Add the desired ratio of concentrate. Add in either water or milk to dilute the concentrate. For stronger coffee, fill half the glass with concentrate and the other half with water or milk. For more mellow coffee, fill a third of the cup with concentrate and the other two thirds with water or milk. Keep in mind that to find the right ratio of coffee to water/milk, you may need to experiment a little. There's no correct answer, just dilute to taste. You can then add sugar, sweetener, creamer, or cream to suit your taste. You can also add flavor essence such as hazelnut or almond essence if desired. If you are not sure about the desired ratio for your cold brew coffee, it is a good idea to add a bit of concentrate simply, then a bit of water and taste. If it is not to the flavor you desire, simply repeat the step. Once you reach your desired ratio, simply drink and enjoy the smooth, mellow taste of your cold brew coffee concentrate.

That is how you make a cold brew coffee concentrate. You can do this in the comfort of your own home for your family and friends.


Now that you know what cold brew coffee and concentrate are, why would you choose this way of imbibing over the hot version of coffee? Are there added benefits to cold brew that are hiding just underneath that mellow, chill exterior? 

The short answer: yes.

There will not be as much of a bitter taste in the cold brew. That's a benefit for sure, but others do not have to do strictly with taste. Let's have a look at them now.

Because there may be less caffeine in cold brew, it may not affect your mood in the same way. It's possible to get a boost of metabolism and spirit with your cold brew, but not experience the jittery feeling that comes with hot brew, highly caffeinated coffee drinks.

Did you know that drinking coffee may decrease your chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes? The fact holds whether you are drinking the warm jet fuel of full brewed coffee, or the sweeter, smoother tasting cold brew, so why not enjoy a chilled drink now and then?

What about other health issues that can be combated by coffee? There's a rumor going around that drinking caffeine will also reduce the risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. So, go ahead and grab that cold brew. Have some in the morning, with lunch, dinner, and even as a nightcap!

Now that you've read up on some of the benefits you can get from your caffeinated drink, what's stopping you from going out there and making your cold brew concentrate? Nothing could be easier, as we've shown you here. Have some friends over and impress them with your elegance by having a bottle of cold brew ready for them to enjoy over a quick luncheon. Maybe you can even cash in on the coffee house feel and charge your friends! 


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