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Choosing the best cold brew coffee grounds

Choosing Cold Brew Coffee Grounds: Coarse vs. Fine

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you know one thing — not all coffee grinds are created equal. There’s more that goes into your morning cup of coffee than just adding some coffee grounds and water.

A container of coffee grounds with a white scoop sits on a table

Different types of coffee grinds are made for different types of coffee brewers to make sure you’re getting the absolute best-tasting cup ever. For instance, a fine grind is used to make espresso, while a medium grind is used in your everyday drip coffee maker. If you use a fine grind in your coffee maker, chances are good that you’ll end up clogging the machine, and you might also end up drinking a bitter cup of coffee with grounds floating around your cup. That’s bound to ruin your morning.

So a regular cup of hot coffee uses medium-ground coffee, and espresso uses finely ground beans. But what coffee grind is best to use for cold brew?

To get the best taste, you should use coarse-ground coffee for cold brew. Using coarsely ground coffee ensures that your cold brew will have a great taste without bitterness. To prepare coarse-ground coffee for cold brew, you’ll want to grind your coffee beans for about six seconds. The best cold brew coffee grounds should have the consistency of ground peppercorns or sea salt.

Can I Use Regular Ground Coffee for Cold Brew?

No, not unless you want a subpar brew. Regular ground coffee has too fine of a texture compared to cold brew grounds. Finer grounds will often make the taste of your cold brew too harsh. Cold brew is supposed to be smooth-tasting, and using too fine of a grind will work against that goal.

For the best cold brew, ground coffee should have a coarse texture. When you steep cold brew for 24 hours (the recommended brew time) with a coarse grind in cold water, the full flavor profile of the bean is slowly extracted, giving your brew a strong, smooth taste. But when you use cold brew coffee grounds that are too fine, the water can start to draw out compounds that cause bitterness.

There’s nothing worse than waiting for your cold brew to steep, then discovering that the resulting brew wasn’t worth the wait. So leave that bag of pre-ground coffee for when you want to make a hot brew: For the best cold brew, grounds need to be coarser.

 Related: What coffee grind you should use for each brewer

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