Do you need special coffee for cold brew?

Marlin Dariel

Do you find yourself craving a refreshing and smooth coffee beverage, especially during those hot summer days? Look no further, because cold brew coffee may be just what you need to satisfy your caffeine cravings! But here’s the big question: do you need a special kind of coffee to make the perfect cold brew? Well, fear not, dear coffee enthusiasts, as we dive into the world of cold brews, we will discover whether using a specific type of coffee is necessary, or if you can simply use your favorite beans to enjoy this cool and invigorating drink. So grab a seat, relax, and let’s explore the wonders of cold brew coffee!


Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages in the world, with countless variations and brewing methods to suit different preferences. One type of coffee that has gained popularity in recent years is cold brew coffee. Contrary to the traditional hot brewing method, cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time. This results in a smooth, less acidic, and highly concentrated coffee that can be enjoyed over ice or diluted with water or milk.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for several hours. Unlike hot brewing methods, which use hot water to quickly extract flavors from the coffee grounds, cold brew coffee relies on time to slowly extract the flavors. This slow extraction process results in a coffee concentrate that is less acidic and has a smoother, less bitter taste compared to traditional hot brewed coffee.

Why Choose Cold Brew Coffee?

There are several reasons why cold brew coffee has gained popularity among coffee enthusiasts.

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1. Less acidity: Cold brew coffee has significantly less acidity compared to hot brewed coffee. This makes it a great option for those with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux issues.

2. Smooth taste: The slow extraction process of cold brew coffee results in a smoother, less bitter taste. The flavors of the coffee are milder and more balanced.

3. Versatility: Cold brew coffee can be customized to suit individual preferences. It can be enjoyed over ice, diluted with water or milk, or used as a base for various coffee beverages.

4. Longer shelf life: Cold brew coffee can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks without losing its flavor. This makes it convenient for those who enjoy prepping their coffee in advance.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

Making cold brew coffee at home is a fairly straightforward process that requires minimal equipment.

1. Coarsely grind your coffee beans: Using a burr grinder, grind your coffee beans to a coarse consistency. This allows for better extraction during the steeping process.

2. Measure and add coffee grounds to a container: Depending on the desired strength, a general ratio is 1 part coffee grounds to 4 parts water. Adjust accordingly to your preference.

3. Add cold or room temperature water: Pour the water over the coffee grounds and give it a gentle stir to ensure all the grounds are evenly saturated.

4. Steep the mixture: Cover the container and let the coffee grounds steep in the water for at least 12 to 24 hours. The longer the steeping time, the stronger the coffee concentrate will be.

5. Strain the coffee: After the steeping period, strain the coffee through a fine mesh sieve or a coffee filter. This will remove any remaining coffee grounds.

6. Dilute and serve: The cold brew concentrate can be diluted with water or milk to taste. Serve it over ice or enjoy it hot by adding hot water or milk.

Do You Need Special Coffee for Cold Brew?

While it is not necessary to use a special type of coffee for cold brew, there are certain characteristics to consider when choosing coffee beans for this brewing method.

Characteristics of Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

1. Coarse grind: Coffee beans for cold brew should be ground to a coarse consistency. This allows for better extraction and prevents the coffee from becoming too bitter.

2. Bold and flavorful: Since cold brew coffee is steeped for an extended period of time, it is important to choose coffee beans with bold and distinct flavors. Light or medium roast beans are often recommended for cold brew.

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3. Arabica beans: Arabica beans are known for their complex flavors and lower acidity compared to Robusta beans. They are a popular choice for cold brew due to their smooth and mellow taste.

Advantages of Using Special Coffee for Cold Brew

While using special coffee beans for cold brew is not a necessity, it can enhance the overall taste and experience of the brewed coffee.

1. Enhanced flavor profile: Special coffee beans, such as single-origin or specialty blends, often have unique flavor profiles that can add complexity and depth to the cold brew.

2. Quality assurance: Brands that specialize in coffee for cold brew often have a dedication to sourcing high-quality beans and ensuring that they are roasted to perfection for this specific brewing method.

3. Consistency: Using coffee beans specifically designed for cold brew can help achieve more consistent results in terms of flavor and strength.

Difference Between Regular Coffee and Coffee for Cold Brew

The main difference between regular coffee, which is brewed using hot water, and coffee for cold brew lies in the brewing process and the resulting flavors.

1. Brewing process: Regular coffee is brewed using hot water, which extracts flavors and compounds from the coffee grounds much faster. Cold brew, on the other hand, relies on a slow extraction process using cold or room temperature water.

2. Acidity: Regular coffee tends to be more acidic compared to cold brew coffee. The prolonged contact time between coffee grounds and water in cold brew results in lower acidity and a smoother taste.

3. Flavor profile: Cold brew coffee often has a more pronounced sweetness and a smoother, less bitter taste compared to regular coffee. The extended steeping time allows for the extraction of different flavor compounds from the coffee beans.

4. Dilution: Cold brew coffee is often enjoyed diluted with water or milk due to its concentration. Regular coffee is typically brewed to be consumed as is, without the need for dilution.

Regular Coffee Coffee for Cold Brew
Brewed using hot water Brewed using cold or room temperature water
Higher acidity Lower acidity
Bold flavor with a more acidic taste Smoother flavor with a mellow taste
Typically consumed without dilution Often diluted with water or milk

Tips for Brewing Cold Brew Coffee

1. Experiment with brewing ratios

Depending on your taste preferences, you can adjust the ratio of coffee grounds to water when brewing cold brew coffee. Start with a 1:4 ratio and make adjustments from there.

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2. Use filtered water

Using filtered water can help improve the overall taste and quality of your cold brew coffee. It removes any impurities that could affect the flavor.

3. Store cold brew concentrate properly

When storing cold brew concentrate in the refrigerator, ensure it is kept in an airtight container to prevent any flavor contamination. It is also best to consume it within two weeks for optimal freshness.

4. Experiment with different coffee beans

Try different types of coffee beans to discover the flavors that suit your taste buds best. Explore single-origin beans or specialty blends specifically designed for cold brew.

5. Play with different brewing times

The steeping time can affect the strength and flavor profile of the cold brew. Experiment with different brewing times to find your preferred balance of flavor and caffeine strength.


Cold brew coffee offers a unique and refreshing alternative to traditional hot brewed coffee. Its smooth, less acidic taste and versatility make it a favorite among coffee enthusiasts. While special coffee beans designed for cold brew are not necessary, they can enhance the overall flavor and brewing experience. Experimenting with different brewing ratios, water filtration, and steeping times allows for customization and optimization of the coffee’s taste. Whether enjoyed over ice or as a hot beverage, cold brew coffee is a delightful way to savor the flavors of coffee in a new and exciting way.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use any type of coffee for cold brew?

Yes, you can use any type of coffee to make cold brew. However, it is recommended to use coarsely ground coffee beans as they provide the best results. Different types of coffee beans, such as Arabica or Robusta, can be used according to your personal taste preferences.

2. Does the coffee have to be specially labeled as “cold brew”?

No, coffee does not have to be specially labeled as “cold brew” to be used for making cold brew coffee. You can use regular coffee beans or ground coffee that you would typically use for hot brewing methods. The term “cold brew” refers to the brewing process, not the specific type of coffee.

3. Can I use flavored coffee for cold brew?

Yes, you can use flavored coffee for cold brew. The cold brewing process can extract the desired flavors and aromas from flavored coffee beans or grounds. It’s important to note that the flavor intensity may vary compared to hot brewing methods, so you may need to adjust the amount of coffee used or the steeping time to achieve your desired taste.

4. Can I use pre-ground coffee for cold brew?

Absolutely! You can use pre-ground coffee for cold brew, but it is recommended to choose a grind specifically for cold brew or a coarse grind setting. Pre-ground coffee is more convenient, but if your coffee is too fine, it might result in over-extraction or produce a muddy texture. Using coarsely ground coffee allows for optimum flavor extraction during the slow steeping process.

5. How long does cold brew coffee last?

The beauty of cold brew coffee is its long shelf life. When stored properly in a sealed container in the refrigerator, cold brew coffee can last up to two weeks, while remaining fresh and flavorful. This makes it a great option for individuals who enjoy having a ready-to-drink coffee concentrate available throughout the week.

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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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