How To Make Cold Coffee Concentrate For Your Cocktails

How-To Guides

Cold coffee concentrate in mason jars

Cold-brew coffee cocktails mean summer has begun. Nowadays, you can buy cold brew concentrate in a bottle, and a lot of it is very tasty and perfectly fine to use in your drinks.

But whether you’re at home or in a bar making cocktails for customers, nothing says quality and personal touch like a hand-labeled bottle of cold brew concentrate that you made yourself.

In this blog post, we will show you how to make coffee concentrate that you can use in your favorite coffee cocktails. And the good news is, it’s much easier than you think!

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Homemade Coffee Concentrate Recipe

Coffee concentrate

Cold brew concentrate is easy to make and only requires a few simple ingredients. We will share the basic recipe for a homemade coffee concentrate, but feel free to adjust the measurements to make it just the way you like.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Add 150g of coarse ground coffee to 1L of water inside either a mason jar or a big French press.
  2. Leave it on the countertop to brew for 12 hours.
  3. Pour through either a coffee filter or a cheesecloth.
  4. Decant the concentrate into a more practical bottle and enjoy!

If you follow these steps, you’ll get some great-tasting cold brew concentrate that you can store in the fridge for about 2 weeks. You can consume it as is or go for half water and half concentrate over ice for a proper cup of joe.

Tips to Make Your Cold Coffee Concentrate Better

Coffee beans

Now, if you want to refine the process of making cold coffee concentrate, let us look at where you can customize and optimize the recipe.

Coffee and Grind Size

The best coffee is locally roasted—fresh and delicious. 

It would be amazing if you could grind the coffee yourself, but it can be just as easy to get the roasters to grind it for you, using either a cold brew grind or a French press grind.

Get it ground and take it home to brew! The coffee’s freshness will lock in a lot of the flavor and elevate your cocktails to the next level.

Water

Water quality is an important factor that’s often overlooked. If you don’t like drinking water out of your tap, please don’t use it to brew your coffee. Any strange taste will transfer into the coffee concentrate and ruin it.

This concern is most apparent in large cities where the water tends not to be as fresh out the tap, with an odd aftertaste.

Instead, buy yourself bottled water for your cold brew. Filtered to reduce the extra taste, leaving more room for the coffee flavors to come out.

Ratio

150g of coffee per liter of water is a great starting point for making coffee concentrate. It’s about a 1:6.5 ratio of coffee to water; you can just scale it up if you want to brew more at once.

But you might want to play around and see what you can do. Anywhere from a 1:5 to a 1:8 ratio will work for the concentrate, giving you varying strengths and tastes.

Regular drip coffee is usually brewed at a 1:17 ratio for reference, whether you’re ordering a diner coffee or have a super fancy luxury coffee maker. Lowering the ratio is what turns it into coffee concentrate.

You can use regular coffee in cocktails, but we’ve found the results are subpar at best.

Time

Cold water extracts the coffee slowly, bringing out the flavors and highlighting a lot of the chocolate notes, along with lowering the acidity for a clean flavor. This makes it a perfect pairing for a Bailey’s based cocktail.

However, this process takes time, anywhere from 12 hours up to 24 hours. It doesn’t have to be exact down to the minute, but that’s the ballpark you want to be in.

Again you can play with it. Why not make a couple of batches at once, leaving one for 12 hours, the other for 18 hours, and the third for 24 hours. Then you can taste them all and see which one you like best!

How to Store Cold Brew Concentrate

Cold brew coffee concentrate in a cocktail glass

Food storage is important. And if you want your coffee to taste as good as the day you made it, even after spending two weeks in the fridge, you’ll need to plan.

Make Sure the Coffee is Well Filtered

Some people find their cold brew tends to get more bitter as time passes, and there’s a reason for this.

If you don’t fully filter out all the coffee grounds and fines (small particles of the coffee bean), then they will keep on extracting. And the more over-extracted the coffee gets, the more the bitter astringent flavors will come out.

You want to ensure your brew is suitably filtered, preferably through a paper filter. Cheesecloth also works well, and you might even want to double filter it to get all the bits of coffee out, leaving you with a very clean result. 

Additionally, you should avoid using metal filters as these don’t sift enough of the coffee particles, so just plunging the French press won’t work.

Use a Clean Sterile Bottle

If you’ve ever made jam before, you know it can take just as long to prepare the jars.

And while you don’t need to be quite as rigorous when making coffee concentrate, you want to ensure your bottles are good and clean. You don’t want anything nasty growing in your coffee, do you?

Get as Much Air Out as Possible

Much of what ruins coffee is oxidation, similar to how metal rusts. Oxygen can spoil coffee flavors, so when you fill your bottles with the coffee concentrate, ensure you fill right up to the top, squeezing out the air.

Clearly Label the Brew Date

Lastly, you want to write the brew date on the bottle, so you can be sure how long it’s sat in the fridge. 

If it’s for home use, you can probably get away with leaving it in the fridge for 4 weeks. But if you’re in a professional setting, leave it for 2 weeks to ensure it’s fresh and safe to drink.

And that’s it! You can now bottle up your cold brew, ready for many an exciting cocktail-making adventure. 

Conclusion

Now that you know how to make cold coffee concentrate, it’s time to put your skills to the test! Check out our coffee cocktails for inspiration, but feel free to get creative and use your own concoctions. 

Be sure to share your favorite cocktail recipes with us on social media or in the comments section. Enjoy!

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