Perfect coffee grounds for cold brew

Marlin Dariel

If you’re someone who can’t function without a morning cup of joe, then cold brew is about to become your new best friend. Not only is it a refreshing way to enjoy your caffeine fix, but it also boasts a smooth and mellow taste that will have you hooked from the first sip. If you’re ready to embark on the journey of crafting your own cold brew at home, the question of how much coffee grounds to use might be nagging at the back of your mind. Fret not! In this article, we’ll delve into the perfect ratio of coffee grounds to water, making sure your cold brew experience is nothing short of fantastic. It’s time to get brewing!


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to determine the perfect amount of coffee grounds for cold brew. Cold brew coffee has gained popularity in recent years for its smooth and less acidic flavor. To achieve the best results, it is crucial to understand the right coffee-to-water ratio. In this article, we will explore what cold brew is, why it is worth trying, and how to determine the ideal amount of coffee grounds for a delicious cold brew.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended period, typically between 12 to 24 hours. Unlike traditional brewing methods, cold brew requires no heat. The slow steeping process allows for the extraction of flavor compounds from the coffee beans, resulting in a smooth, less acidic, and highly caffeinated beverage.

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Why Try Cold Brew?

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

  1. Smooth Flavor: Cold brew coffee often has a milder and smoother flavor profile compared to hot brewed coffee. The slow extraction process reduces the acidity, resulting in a less bitter taste.
  2. Less Acidic: For individuals with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux, cold brew coffee can be a great alternative. The lower acidity level makes it gentler on the digestive system.
  3. Convenience: Cold brew coffee is typically brewed in larger batches and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. This makes it a convenient option for caffeine lovers who want to grab a refreshing cup of coffee on the go.
  4. Higher Caffeine Content: Due to the longer steeping time, cold brew coffee tends to have a higher caffeine content than its hot brewed counterpart. This makes it an excellent option for those seeking an extra energy boost.

How to Determine the Right Amount of Coffee Grounds for Cold Brew

Now that we understand the benefits of cold brew coffee, let’s delve into how to determine the perfect amount of coffee grounds for a cold brew:

1. Start with the Coffee-to-Water Ratio

The general rule of thumb for cold brew is to use a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:4 or 1:5. This means for every ounce of coffee grounds, you will need four to five ounces of water. However, the strength of your cold brew can be adjusted based on personal preference.

Tips: If you prefer a stronger cold brew, you can increase the coffee-to-water ratio to 1:3. For a milder flavor, you can decrease the ratio to 1:6. Experiment with different ratios to find the perfect balance for your taste buds.

2. Weighing the Coffee Grounds

For precision and consistency, it is recommended to use a kitchen scale to weigh the coffee grounds. This ensures accurate measurements and helps achieve the desired taste with each batch of cold brew.

Tips: Start by using 1 ounce of coffee grounds for every 4 ounces of water. From there, you can adjust the amount based on personal preference and the strength you desire.

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3. Coarse Grind Size

When preparing coffee grounds for cold brew, it is essential to use a coarse grind size. The larger coffee particles prevent over-extraction and produce a smoother flavor profile.

Tips: If you are grinding your coffee beans at home, set your grinder to a coarse setting. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-ground coffee specifically labeled for cold brew.

4. Calculating the Amount

To calculate the amount of coffee grounds needed, you can use the equation:

Amount of coffee grounds (in ounces) = Water volume (in ounces) / Coffee-to-water ratio

For example, if you plan to use 20 ounces of water with a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:4, the calculation would be:

Amount of coffee grounds = 20 / 4 = 5 ounces

This means you would need 5 ounces of coffee grounds to achieve the desired strength.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold Brew


Here are some advantages of cold brew coffee:

  • Smooth and Less Acidic Flavor: Cold brew coffee offers a smooth and less acidic taste, which is appealing to many caffeine enthusiasts.
  • Long Shelf Life: Cold brew can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, allowing you to prepare larger batches in advance.
  • Higher Caffeine Content: The longer steeping time of cold brew extracts more caffeine from the coffee grounds, making it an energizing beverage.


Despite its many benefits, there are a few disadvantages to take into consideration:

  • Longer Brewing Time: Cold brew requires a longer brewing time compared to hot brewed coffee. You need to plan ahead and allow at least 12 hours for the steeping process.
  • Requires Special Equipment: While not mandatory, using a cold brew-specific device or a French press can enhance the brewing process. Investing in such equipment might be necessary for serious cold brew enthusiasts.
  • Cost: Cold brew coffee can be more expensive than hot brewed coffee, especially when purchasing it from coffee shops or cafes.

Comparison Table

Parameter Cold Brew Coffee Hot Brew Coffee
Acidity Low High
Brewing Time 12-24 hours 2-4 minutes
Caffeine Content High Lower than cold brew
Flavor Profile Smooth, less bitter Varying flavors based on brewing method


In conclusion, determining the right amount of coffee grounds for cold brew is crucial in achieving a delicious and refreshing beverage. Experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios and adjust based on personal preference. Remember to use a coarse grind size and to steep the coffee grounds for an appropriate amount of time. Cold brew coffee offers numerous advantages, such as a smooth flavor and increased caffeine content, but it also has some disadvantages, such as longer brewing time and the need for specialized equipment. Understanding these factors will help you make the most informed decisions when preparing your own cold brew coffee at home. So go ahead, grab your favorite coffee beans, and embark on a delightful journey to the world of cold brew!

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use regular coffee grounds for cold brew?

Yes, you can use regular coffee grounds for cold brew. However, it is recommended to use coarse ground coffee for better results. Coarse grounds are ideal for cold brew as they prevent the extraction of too much bitterness and acidity from the coffee beans, resulting in a smoother and less acidic cold brew.

2. How long should I steep the coffee grounds for cold brew?

For best results, it is generally recommended to steep the coffee grounds for a minimum of 12 hours up to 24 hours. The longer you steep, the stronger and more intense the flavor will be. However, you can adjust the steeping time according to your personal taste preferences. Experiment with different steeping times to find your perfect balance of strength and flavor.

3. Can I reuse the coffee grounds for another batch of cold brew?

While it is possible to reuse coffee grounds for a second batch of cold brew, the flavor and strength of the second brew will be significantly weaker compared to the first batch. It is generally recommended to use fresh coffee grounds for each batch to achieve the best flavor. However, if you prefer a milder and less concentrated cold brew, you can give the reused grounds a try.

4. Can I use a regular coffee filter for straining the cold brew?

Yes, you can use a regular coffee filter or cheesecloth to strain the cold brew. Alternatively, you can also use a French press or a dedicated cold brew system with built-in filters. The purpose is to remove the coffee grounds from the brewed liquid, resulting in a smooth and sediment-free final product. Choose a method that suits your preferences and the tools you have available.

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

When stored properly in a sealed container in the refrigerator, cold brew can typically last for up to 1-2 weeks. However, for the best taste and freshness, it is recommended to consume the cold brew within the first week. Over time, the flavors may become less vibrant and the taste might deteriorate. It is always advisable to make a batch that you can consume within a reasonable timeframe to enjoy the full flavor experience.

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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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