Perfect cold brew ratio: the right amount of ground coffee for a refreshing blend

Marlin Dariel

If you’re new to the world of cold brew coffee, you might be wondering just how much ground coffee you need to make a delicious batch. Well, fear not! We’re here to shed some light on this delightful summer beverage. Cold brew requires a different approach to brewing compared to your regular hot cup of joe, where you may have been more accustomed to measured spoons and precise ratios. In relaxed terms, making cold brew is all about finding the perfect balance between the amount of ground coffee and the amount of water you use. So, let’s dive in and decipher the coffee-to-water ratio for that smooth, refreshing cold brew you’ve been craving!

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a unique brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, typically around 12 to 24 hours. Unlike traditional hot brewing methods, cold brew utilizes time instead of heat to extract the flavors and caffeine from the coffee beans.

Why Choose Cold Brew Coffee?

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

1. Smooth and Less Acidic: Cold brew coffee tends to have a smoother and less acidic taste compared to hot brewed coffee. This is because the long steeping process results in a lower acidity level, making it gentler on the stomach.

2. Rich and Full-bodied: Cold brew extracts the natural oils and flavors from the coffee beans, resulting in a rich and full-bodied brew with a smooth finish.

3. Versatility: Cold brew can be enjoyed in various ways – straight over ice, diluted with water, or even mixed with milk or other flavors to create unique coffee beverages.

4. Longer Shelf Life: Due to its low acidity, cold brew coffee can stay fresh for a longer period. You can prepare a batch and keep it refrigerated for up to a week.

5. Reduced Bitterness: Cold brew coffee has significantly less bitterness compared to hot brewed coffee. This makes it appealing to those who prefer a milder tasting coffee.

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

To make cold brew coffee, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Grind the Coffee Beans

Start by grinding your coffee beans to a coarse consistency. A burr grinder is ideal for achieving an even grind size.

Note: It is generally recommended to use a higher coffee-to-water ratio for cold brew, as the extended steeping time requires more coffee grounds to extract the desired flavors.

Step 2: Combine Coffee and Water

In a large container or pitcher, combine the coffee grounds with cold or room temperature water. The ratio is typically 1 part coffee to 4 parts water, but you can adjust it according to your taste preferences.

For example, if you’re using 1 cup of coffee grounds, add 4 cups of water.

Step 3: Stir and Steep

Give the mixture a good stir to ensure all the coffee grounds are evenly saturated. Cover the container and let it steep in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

Note: Longer steeping time will result in a stronger brew, so you can experiment with different durations to find your ideal strength.

Step 4: Strain and Serve

After steeping, strain the cold brew concentrate using a fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter. The resulting liquid is a concentrated cold brew.

To serve, dilute the concentrate with cold water or milk, and adjust the ratio to your desired strength. Add ice cubes, if preferred, and enjoy!

How Much Ground Coffee for Cold Brew?

The amount of ground coffee to use for cold brew depends on the desired strength and the coffee-to-water ratio.

A general guideline is to use 1 cup (8 ounces) of coffee grounds for every 4 cups (32 ounces) of water. This ratio can be adjusted based on personal preferences.

For a stronger brew, you can increase the coffee-to-water ratio. Conversely, if a milder taste is preferred, reduce the amount of coffee grounds used.

It’s important to note that cold brew requires a higher amount of coffee grounds compared to hot brewing methods. This is due to the longer steeping time, which requires more grounds to extract the flavors effectively.

Factors to Consider

When determining the amount of ground coffee for cold brew, consider the following factors:

1. Brew Method

The brewing method you choose can affect the coffee-to-water ratio. Different brewers may require adjustments to achieve the desired taste and strength. Experimentation is key to finding the perfect balance.

2. Coffee Bean Origin and Roast Level

The type of coffee beans and their roast level can impact the flavor profile of the cold brew. Darker roasts tend to have a bolder taste, while lighter roasts may have more nuanced flavors. Adjust your coffee-to-water ratio accordingly to bring out the desired characteristics.

3. Personal Preference

Taste is subjective, and everyone’s preference for coffee strength varies. Some prefer a more concentrated brew, while others enjoy a milder taste. Start with the recommended ratio and customize it based on your personal preference.

Comparison Table: Cold Brew Coffee Ratios

Coffee Grounds (in cups) Water (in cups) Strength
1 4 Mild
1 3 Medium
1 2 Strong

Note: These ratios are just a starting point. Feel free to adjust them based on your taste preferences.

Tips for Cold Brew Coffee Preparation

1. Quality Coffee Beans

Choose high-quality coffee beans for the best flavor. Look for beans that are freshly roasted and within the expiration date.

2. Coarse Grounds

Coarsely ground coffee is ideal for cold brew. The larger particles prevent over-extraction and ensure a smooth brew.

3. Filtered Water

Use filtered water to avoid any unpleasant off-flavors caused by impurities in tap water.

4. Cold Brew Equipment

Invest in a cold brew coffee maker or airtight container for easy straining and storage.

5. Patience is Key

Allow sufficient steeping time to extract all the flavors. Avoid the temptation to rush the process for the best results.


Cold brew coffee offers a unique and refreshing alternative to traditional hot brewed coffee. Its smooth and rich flavor profile, versatility, and reduced acidity make it a popular choice among coffee lovers.

When preparing cold brew, the amount of ground coffee used is crucial in achieving the desired taste and strength. Experiment with different ratios and brewing methods to find the perfect cold brew that suits your preferences.

Remember, the key to a delightful cold brew experience is patience and attention to detail. Enjoy the process of brewing and savor every sip of your homemade cold brew coffee.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

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

Yes, you can use any type of coffee for cold brew. However, some coffees may result in a better flavor profile than others. It is recommended to use a medium to dark roast coffee for cold brew as it tends to produce a smoother and bolder flavor. Additionally, using coarsely ground coffee beans is crucial to prevent over-extraction and bitterness in the final brew.

Question 2: How long should I steep the coffee for cold brew?

The steeping time for cold brew varies depending on personal preference and the desired strength of the coffee. Typically, a steeping time of 12 to 24 hours is recommended for cold brew. If you prefer a milder brew, you can go for a shorter steeping time, while a longer steeping time will result in a stronger and more concentrated brew. It is advisable to experiment with different steeping times to find the perfect balance of flavors for your taste.

Question 3: Can I use a regular coffee grinder for coarse grinding?

While it is possible to use a regular coffee grinder for coarse grinding, it may not yield the best results for cold brew. Regular grinders often produce uneven and fine grounds, which can result in over-extraction and a bitter taste. To achieve a consistent and coarsely ground coffee for cold brew, it is recommended to use a burr grinder specifically designed for coarse grinding. This will ensure better control over the grind size and ultimately enhance the flavor of your cold brew.

Question 4: How long can I store the cold brew concentrate?

Cold brew concentrate can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. However, it is important to note that the flavor of the cold brew may change over time, becoming slightly less potent and smoother. To maintain the best flavor, it is recommended to consume the cold brew within the first week of storing it. Additionally, make sure to give the concentrate a good shake before using it, as sedimentation may occur during storage.

Question 5: Can I dilute the cold brew concentrate with hot water?

Yes, you can dilute the cold brew concentrate with hot water to make a hot cup of coffee. However, it is important to note that the flavor profile of cold brew is specifically designed for cold consumption. Diluting it with hot water may alter the taste characteristics and result in a slightly different flavor profile. If you prefer a warmer cup of coffee, it is recommended to brew a fresh batch of hot coffee using the appropriate grind size and brewing method instead of diluting the cold brew concentrate.

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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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