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If you love the thick and creamy texture of espresso, but its slightly bitter taste ruins your experience, switch to cold brew espresso. The best part about making cold brew espresso at home is that it doesn’t require any fancy equipment like a traditional espresso. All you need is quality roasted coffee beans and water.
Let’s get started!
How to Make Cold Brew Espresso at Home
Here are the steps you need to follow to make your very own cold brew espresso. If you want to read more about tools, best beans, and other tips, you will find them below these instructions.
1. Grind Your Coffee Beans
It’s always best to use freshly ground coffee. Select your favorite medium or dark roast coffee beans and coarsely grind them.
2. Add Water and Mix Well
Once your coffee beans are ground, grab a pitcher or jar and mix the grounds with water. Keep stirring until each crushed bean is fully immersed. If using a jar, I put the lid on and give it a shake until the grounds are incorporated (i.e. no longer floating on top).
Ratio: 1 part coffee to 2 parts water
3. Let It Brew
After mixing the ingredients, place the lid on the jar and let it brew for at least 10-20 hours. You can choose to refrigerate it or leave it on your kitchen counter at room temperature. Because micro-organisms can grow quickly at room temperature, I recommend the fridge.
4. Filter It Out
Once the cold brew concentrate is ready, open the jar and strain the coffee. You can use a mesh kitchen strainer lined with cheesecloth, a coffee sock, or a paper filter. The latter will work best in filtering out the finer residue.
5. Adjust the Flavor
Now that the concentrate is ready, dilute it with water or add a sweetener to adjust the taste according to your personal espresso preferences.
Remember, this recipe is for creating a cold brew espresso concentrate, and you have to dilute and sweeten this mixture every time you want a fresh cup of coffee.
Want more recipes? Try an iced Americano at home.
What Affects the Taste of Cold Brew Espresso
Let’s take a look at the factors that determine the taste of your cold brew espresso.
1. Grind Size
Traditional espresso is typically made with fine-grind coffee. The tiny coffee grounds accelerate the extraction process and allow the water to pass through it.
Remember to stick to coarse grinds when making cold brew espresso. This will prevent your coffee from being too muddy and regulate the extraction level to stop any bitterness from seeping into the cup.
Your best bet is to buy coffee for espresso in whole bean format and grind it yourself.
2. Roast Level
The type of roast you choose also affects the taste of your coffee. A light roast coffee is usually flat and boring, whereas a dark roast turns your coffee bitter and intense.
That’s why we recommend using a medium to dark roast for your cold brew espresso. It creates the same flavors and undertones without adding any acidity to the coffee.
3. Water Temperature
There are two ways to make a cup of espresso cold brew concentrate. You can either use room temperature water or put the mixture in a refrigerator with cold water. Each of these methods will bring forth a different final taste.
As the temperature of the water decreases, the rate of extraction slows down, which is why you must operate at an optimum temperature that allows adequate extraction without creating unwanted flavor.
4. Brewing Time
Just like the temperature of the water, your brewing time should be adequate to extract all the flavor notes without risking over-extraction. The lower the water temperature, the longer the brewing time will be. It can take anywhere between 12 to 18 hours to prepare a cold brew concentrate for your espresso.
To be on the safe side, it’s best to start testing the concentrate after 12 hours. Don’t let it sit for too long, or it will turn bitter.
Ingredients and Tools
Cold brew espresso requires two simple ingredients:
- Medium or dark roasted freshly ground coffee beans
You can use any type of water available at hand, but we recommend using filtered water to avoid any external flavors from interfering with your coffee.
Read More: Best Water for Coffee
Good news: you don’t need any fancy equipment or a coffee maker to prepare cold brew espresso at home. Just get a coffee filter or other strainer, a pitcher or jar for the concentrate, and a cup to enjoy your coffee with.
What Kind of Beans Should I Use?
Typically, coffee beans are of two types: Arabica and Robusta. You can find espresso beans of each of these families at a local store or supermarket. Generally, they have labels on the package to categorize the espresso beans.
We recommend using Arabica beans for making cold brew espresso. They’re much sweeter than Robusta and have a silky, smooth texture with rich undertones of sugar and chocolate.
What if You Do Not Have Coarse Grind Beans?
Fresh coffee grounds are undoubtedly the first choice for cold brew, so getting coarse grinds shouldn’t be a problem if you’re grinding it yourself. However, if you do not have coarse grind beans, you can use finer grinds.
Regular ground coffee from the supermarket is often a medium ground and is your next best bet. Ground coffee labelled as espresso will likely be a fine grind, ready to be used in an espresso maker.
One catch is that fine grinds can make your coffee more bitter, so you should reduce the brewing time by a few hours. Keep checking the concentrate every now and then during the last few hours to avoid over-extraction.
To adjust any bitterness that might have appeared in the concentrate, dilute it with water and add sweeteners. Or, you can also create different variations with milk, cream, and honey to balance the bitterness.