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After testing several variations of making cold brew coffee, it turns out the simplest one is my favorite. All you need is coffee, water, coffee filters, and a mason jar and I’ll bet you have all 4 in your house already.
Making coffee in a mason jar is as simple as it gets. You put coffee grounds in the jar, fill it with water, put a lid on it, and let it sit on your counter for 12-24 hours. At the end of the brew time, strain the mixture through a coffee filter (or coffee bag) and enjoy.
What are the advantages of this method?
The reasons why this method is my favorite are:
- Simple and doesn’t require specialized equipment
- No off flavors from soaking the grounds in a coffee bag
- Using a coffee filter makes clean up easy as I can just toss the whole works, filter and grounds, in the compost bin
- After straining, I rinse out the mason jar and pour the coffee back in the jar for storage in the fridge
Another factor is mason jars can withstand heat. Now, you may say why is that important? Because mason jars can be washed in the dishwasher. This means your container is sanitized with pretty hot water in between uses. Remember, with cold brew we are letting water sit on the counter for up to 24 hours. Nasty things can grow in water. The good news is to grow, they need to be introduced to the system first. Using very clean equipment is one safeguard to keeping your brew safe (brewing in the fridge would be another improvement).
Are there any downsides?
- Paper filters may introduce some off flavors to the coffee, however in my experience this has not been the case. This can be a complaint when using paper filter with hot coffee, however I believe that the low temperatures combined with short contact time make this problem negligible in cold coffee
Step by step:
You will need:
- A mason jar with a lid
- Filter paper or coffee bag
- Filter cone for paper filters, a mesh sieve can substitute if you are using a coffee bag.
- Measure out 1 c. of coffee grounds and place in it the jar
- Add 4 c. of water. It will take a little while for the grounds to start absorbing the water. Put the lid on it and let it sit. After 30-60 minutes (or whenever your think of it) give it a swirl to make sure all the coffee has been wet thoroughly.
- Let it sit on the counter for 12-24 hours. I have experimented with this and usually let it steep for 12 hours on the counter, or for up to 24 hours in the fridge. This prevents over-extraction, which can cause bitterness.
- When it is done soaking, set a filter in the cone over a large glass and strain the coffee
- Dilute with additional water to taste
And that’s it really. There is no excuse for not making delicious cold brew in your home. How many coffee trends can you say that about?