How long to steep cold brew coffee

How Long Should Cold Brew Steep?

If you’re new to the cold brew scene, learning how to make it involves a bit of science. What coffee do you use for the best taste, what temperature water should you use, and most importantly, how long does cold brew take to steep?

A mason jar filled with coffee grounds is pictured being filled with water
Photo: @wandering_wild_home on Instagram

Cold brew is made with a simple process — coffee grounds are placed in cold water and steeped for an extended period of time, hence why it's called cold brew. Steeping cold brew coffee takes a lot longer than hot coffee, mainly because of the temperature difference. When you brew hot coffee, it takes less time to extract the full flavor of the coffee bean; the cold brew steep time is longer because it draws out the coffee’s flavor more gradually.

When done right, your homemade cold brew will have a strong, smooth taste without tasting bitter or acidic.

There are multiple ways to make cold brew. Steep in the fridge using the popular immersion method to get great flavor with low effort. The immersion method consists of placing coffee grounds into fresh, filtered water under 40 degrees Fahrenheit (our recommendation). You then let it steep overnight — but exactly how long? To steep cold brew coffee correctly, here’s what we recommend:

  • For a strong, bold taste, we recommend you steep cold brew coffee for 24 hours
  • Most recipes recommend that you steep cold brew anywhere from 18 to 24 hours, saying that's the best timeframe that results in the best taste
  • Taste-test a few options — if you find that a 24-hour cold brew coffee steep time produces a brew that’s too strong for you, dial it back until you find the best-tasting brew.

One of the best parts about cold brew, like with other coffee brewing methods, is that the brew method and steep time for cold brew coffee are completely up to your taste buds.

NOW AVAILABLE: Death Wish Coffee Cold Brew

Related: RECIPE: Make the best-tasting cold brew at home

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