Can regular coffee be used for cold brew?

Marlin Dariel

So you’ve been hearing all the buzz about cold brew coffee lately, but you’re not quite sure if you can jump on the bandwagon with your regular ol’ coffee beans? Well, the good news is, you absolutely can! Contrary to what you might think, making a delicious cold brew at home doesn’t require any fancy or special beans. In fact, your trusty bag of regular coffee will do just fine. So, grab your mason jar, kick back, and let’s dive into the world of cold brew coffee made with your everyday beans!


Welcome to the world of cold brew coffee! In this article, we will explore the question of whether you can use regular coffee for cold brew and delve into the various aspects surrounding this topic. Cold brew coffee has gained popularity in recent years for its smooth and refreshing taste, making it a favorite among coffee enthusiasts. Before we answer the question at hand, let’s understand what cold brew coffee actually is and why it has become so popular.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a method of brewing coffee in which the coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. This slow extraction process differs from traditional hot brewing methods, which involve hot water passing through the coffee grounds quickly. The result is a coffee concentrate that is smooth, less acidic, and less bitter than regular brewed coffee.

Why Cold Brew Coffee is Popular

The popularity of cold brew coffee can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the slow extraction process extracts fewer bitter compounds and acids from the coffee grounds, resulting in a smoother and less acidic flavor profile. This makes cold brew coffee more palatable for people who find traditional hot brewed coffee too strong or acidic.

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Secondly, cold brew coffee can be enjoyed both hot and cold, making it versatile for different seasons and preferences. It can be served over ice for a refreshing summer beverage or heated for a comforting cup during colder months.

Lastly, cold brew coffee has a longer shelf life than traditional brewed coffee. The concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, allowing for multiple servings without the need to brew a fresh cup each time.

Can You Use Regular Coffee for Cold Brew?

Now, let’s address the main question: can you use regular coffee for cold brew? The simple answer is yes, you can use regular coffee for cold brew. However, it is important to note that the type of coffee beans you use and the grind size can significantly impact the flavor and strength of your cold brew.

Choosing the Right Coffee Beans

When selecting coffee beans for cold brew, it is recommended to choose medium to dark roast varieties. These roasts tend to have bolder flavors that can withstand the longer extraction process. Lighter roasts may result in a weaker and more subtle flavor profile.

Additionally, opt for freshly roasted beans whenever possible. Freshly roasted beans retain more flavor and aroma compared to beans that have been sitting on the shelf for an extended period.

Grind Size Matters

The grind size of the coffee beans also plays a crucial role in cold brew extraction. For cold brew, a coarser grind is preferable. The larger particles allow for a slower extraction, ensuring that the coffee doesn’t become over-extracted and bitter.

If using pre-ground coffee, look for a coarse grind specifically labeled for cold brew. Alternatively, if you have a coffee grinder at home, grind the coffee beans to a coarse consistency just before brewing for optimal flavor.

How to Make Cold Brew with Regular Coffee

Now that we have discussed the importance of coffee selection and grind size, let’s dive into the steps of making cold brew using regular coffee:

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

To make cold brew with regular coffee, you will need:

Regular coffee beans (medium to dark roast)
Cold filtered water
A large jar or container
Cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve

Step 2: Grind Your Coffee

If you have whole coffee beans, grind them to a coarse consistency using a coffee grinder. If using pre-ground coffee, ensure it is a coarse grind suitable for cold brew.

Step 3: Measure Coffee and Water

For a standard cold brew ratio, use 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee for every 4 cups of water. Adjust the measurements according to your preference for a stronger or milder brew.

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Step 4: Combine Coffee and Water

In your large jar or container, mix the coffee grounds and water together. Stir gently to ensure all the grounds are saturated.

Step 5: Steep and Wait

Cover the jar or container and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. The longer the steeping time, the stronger the cold brew will be.

Step 6: Strain the Coffee

Once the steeping time is complete, strain the cold brew using a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve to remove the coffee grounds.

Step 7: Dilute and Serve

The cold brew concentrate can be quite strong, so dilute it with water or milk according to your taste preferences. Serve over ice or heat it up if desired.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Regular Coffee for Cold Brew


1. Convenience: Using regular coffee for cold brew allows you to utilize the coffee you already have at home, saving you from purchasing specific cold brew coffee.

2. Cost-effective: Regular coffee is generally less expensive than pre-packaged cold brew coffee, making it a more budget-friendly option.

3. Versatility: Regular coffee can be used for both hot and cold brews, providing flexibility in brewing methods.


1. Flavor Variation: The flavor profile of cold brew made with regular coffee may differ from that of cold brew made with coffee specifically labeled for cold brew. Experimentation may be needed to achieve the desired taste.

2. Possible Bitterness: If the coffee is ground too finely or oversteeped, regular coffee used for cold brew can result in a bitter and unpleasant taste.

Tips for Making Delicious Cold Brew with Regular Coffee

1. Experiment with Ratios: Adjust the coffee-to-water ratio according to your taste preferences. Start with a 1:4 ratio and make changes from there.

2. Control the Steeping Time: Steep the coffee for shorter or longer durations to achieve different flavor profiles. Remember, longer steeping times will result in a stronger brew.

3. Fine-tune the Grind Size: If you have control over the grind size, experiment with coarser or slightly finer grinds to find your desired taste.

4. Use Filtered Water: The quality of the water used can impact the overall flavor of the cold brew. Filtered water is recommended for the best results.

Difference between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

While cold brew and iced coffee may both involve cold temperatures and coffee, they are distinctly different in terms of brewing methods and flavor profiles.

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water over an extended period, resulting in a smoother and less acidic taste. The slow extraction process produces a coffee concentrate that is served diluted with water or milk.

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Iced coffee, on the other hand, is brewed using hot water and then cooled down by pouring it over ice. This method retains more of the acidity and bitterness found in traditional hot brewed coffee.


In conclusion, yes, you can use regular coffee for cold brew. By selecting the right coffee beans, controlling the grind size, and following the proper brewing techniques, you can create a delicious and refreshing cold brew using your regular coffee. Experiment with different variables to find your preferred flavor profile, and enjoy the satisfaction of making your own cold brew at home. Cheers!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1: Can I use regular coffee beans for making cold brew?

Yes, you can definitely use regular coffee beans for making cold brew. In fact, using regular coffee beans is a popular choice for many cold brew enthusiasts. However, it is important to note that the taste and flavor profile of cold brew made with regular coffee beans may differ from that of using specifically labeled “cold brew” coffee beans. Regular coffee beans are typically roasted for hot brewing methods, which may result in a slightly different taste when used for cold brew. Experimenting with different coffee beans and ratios can help you find the perfect flavor profile that suits your taste preferences.

Question 2: What grind size should I use for cold brew?

For cold brew, it is recommended to use a coarse grind size. The coarse grind allows for a slower extraction rate and helps to prevent over-extraction, resulting in a smoother and less bitter cold brew. When using regular coffee beans for cold brew, ensure that you grind them on a coarse setting to achieve the desired flavor. If you are grinding the coffee beans at home, aim for a consistency similar to coarse sea salt or ground peppercorns.

Question 3: How long should I steep the coffee grounds for cold brew?

The steeping time for cold brew can vary depending on personal preference and the strength of flavor you desire. Generally, a common starting point is to steep the coffee grounds for 12 to 24 hours. Steeping for a shorter duration may result in a milder flavor, while steeping for a longer period can intensify the taste. It is important to note that steeping time can also be influenced by factors such as room temperature and the ratio of coffee to water. Adjusting the steeping time according to your taste preferences is recommended.

Question 4: Can I use hot water to speed up the brewing process?

No, using hot water to speed up the brewing process is not recommended for cold brew. The essence of cold brew lies in its slow extraction method, which brings out the subtly sweet and less acidic flavors of the coffee. Using hot water can lead to over-extraction and bitter flavors. It is best to stick to the traditional cold brew method of using cold or room temperature water and allowing the coffee grounds to steep slowly over time.

Question 5: How long can I store cold brew in the refrigerator?

When properly stored, cold brew can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It is recommended to store cold brew in airtight containers to maintain its freshness. Glass bottles or jars with tight-fitting lids are ideal for storage. Ensure that the cold brew is free from any contaminants, such as coffee grounds or foreign particles, before sealing the container. It is important to note that the flavor of cold brew may evolve over time, so it is best consumed within the first week for optimal enjoyment.

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Marlin Dariel

A seasoned coffee connoisseur, reviews coffee shops, recommends unique places to enjoy a great cup of coffee. "Every coffee bean has an interesting story"


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