What is the Best Cold Brew Coffee to Water Ratio?

cold brew coffee ratio
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Making cold brew coffee at home is a great way to brighten up your mornings or afternoons. After all, nothing quite hits the spot like a refreshing and smooth cold brew on a hot day!

With that in mind, you can’t get the perfectly smooth flavor you crave from this beverage without the ideal coffee to water ratio. In this guide, we will go over how to get your cold brew coffee just right.

Cold Brew Coffee-to-Water Ratios for Various Coffee Strengths

Everyone has different taste preferences when it comes to coffee.

In short, the most popular cold brew ratios are 1:8 and 1:4.

For a cold brew that you can drink straight up, a 1:8 ratio is often considered best. That’s one part coffee to eight parts water.

For a more concentrated cold brew coffee, use a 1:4 ratio.

Here are some practical examples:

  • If you use 1 cup of whole coffee beans (or 1/2 cup of coarsely ground coffee), which is about 4 ounces by weight, with 24 ounces of water in a 32-ounce jar, that is a 1:8 ratio. This will produce smooth and easily drinkable cold brew coffee.
  • Alternatively, for more concentrated coffee, use 2 cups of coffee beans (8 oz by weight) with 24 ounces of water. This makes a strong batch of 1:4 cold brew coffee that can be cut with cream, milk, or poured over ice.

Note: 1 ounce is equal to 28 grams.

Basics of Making Cold Brew Coffee?

Now, let’s talk about what cold brew coffee is and how it’s made.

Cold brew coffee is made by combining coffee and cold (or lukewarm) water and letting it steep for about 6 to 24 hours to produce a rich smooth flavor.

Not to be confused with iced coffee, it is easy to make at home. Since no heat is used at any point during the process, the resulting cold brew coffee has less acidity and is very smooth. All the while, the flavors of coffee are preserved, creating a tasty and refreshing brew.

To make cold brew coffee, choose the cold brew coffee and water ratio that best suits your tastes. For beginners, the 1:8 ratio is recommended. You can use either cold or room temperature water at the beginning of the brewing process.

Cold-brew coffee must be steeped for many hours. It can be made at room temperature or in the fridge, although refrigeration is recommended.

measuring cold brew coffee beans

Here are step-by-step instructions for making a nice cold brew:

  1. Grind your coffee beans coarsely. If they are too finely ground, they will get into the water and muddy things up when it comes time to strain them. In addition, cold brewing finely ground coffee often results in a bitter taste.
  2. Combine the grounds with water in a large glass jar, pitcher, or a French press. A large, 36-ounce glass jar with a lid is recommended. You can also get a cold brew coffee maker that has a built-in filter. There is no need to stir the grounds in.
  3. Put on the lid and let everything steep in the fridge for 6 to 24 hours. The exact steeping time depends mainly on your personal preference, your coffee-to-water ratio, and how finely your coffee is ground.
  4. When the liquid looks dark enough and the grounds have settled to the bottom (if you are using a jar), you can strain your coffee. Do this by using a sieve and a coffee filter. You don’t want any grounds to make their way into your final cold brew beverage.
  5. Now, you are ready to pour your cold brew coffee over ice! You can also add milk, or use simple syrups for a sweet touch.

If you want to save it for later, store your cold brew in the fridge for up to 10 days.

What is the Best Cold Brew Coffee-to-Water Ratio?

There are a few different ratios of coffee to water that you can use.

Experiment with different types of coffees with different ratios. The best coffee to water ratio will be the one that you like the most!

For strong cold brew coffee, use one part coffee to three parts water (the 1:4 ratio). For smooth, mild coffee, use one part coffee grounds to seven parts water (1:8 ratio).

Other Factors to Consider when Making Cold Brew:

  • Type of coffee beans you use
  • How strong you like your coffee
  • How you will serve it

Consider Types of Coffee

Keep in mind, the type of coffee beans you use may affect the ideal ratio. The variety of coffee beans, roast, and type will all impact the final flavor of your cold brew coffee.

For robust coffee with bright acidity, use Robusta coffee beans. For smooth, flavorful coffee, Arabica coffee beans are best.

If you are using pure Arabica coffee beans, you will be able to brew stronger cold brew coffee that is still smooth. With Robusta coffee beans, a little goes a long way. So, stick with a 1:9 or even 1:10 ratio for robusta beans.

Can’t decide what type of beans to use? Check out this article and see what coffee Starbucks uses for their cold brew.

Cold Brews with Milk and Ice

What’s the ideal coffee to water ratio for cold brew coffee if you plan to serve it with ice and or milk?

No question, a 1:4 ratio is best. This ratio lets you make a cold brew that is creamy and delicious with plenty of rich flavors.

cold brew coffee with milk

You can even add heavy whipping cream to your coffee to make an extra rich cup.

How to measure the perfect amount of coffee beans?

To measure coffee beans, you can use a scale or a measuring cup. One cup of coffee beans is about 3 ounces.

Measure your coffee beans before you coarsely grind them. It is always best to use freshly ground coffee beans for the best result.

How to measure the amount of water?

Water can be measured by the cup or by the container. For a reference point, a bottle of soda from a vending machine is about 16 ounces. A can of soda is 8 ounces. There are 8 fluid ounces of water in a cup.

Cold Brew Concentrate Water to Coffee Ratio

Cold-brew coffee can also be made in a concentrated form. Concentrated cold brew coffee is strong and flavorful. Concentrated cold brew coffee will usually be mixed with water, ice, milk, cream, or other flavoring syrups.

How to Make Cold Brew Concentrate?

To make concentrated cold brew coffee, just follow the same method from above. However, make it stronger. You can use a 1:3 or 1:2 ratio. Then, you can store it in a jar with a tight lid in the fridge. Drink it within two weeks.

How to Dilute and Serve Cold Brew Concentrate?

Concentrated cold brew coffee is useful for pouring shots of cold brew into other types of liquids. This coffee can be compared to shots of espresso, but cold.

Concentrated cold brew coffee can be used as a flavoring additive, to enhance alcoholic beverages, or to make cold brew lattes.

How Long Can You Store Cold Brew Concentrate?

Unlike hot coffee, concentrated cold brew coffee can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. However, we recommend drinking it within the first week for the best flavor.

Be sure to store it in a clean glass jar with a tight lid so it doesn’t get contaminated with other foods in the fridge.

Cold Brew Ratios and Proportions to Save

Popular cold brew recipes range from a 1:2 ratio to a 1:10 ratio, which is more concentrated than regular coffee.

Here are some helpful measurements and proportions to save:

• 1 lb / 454 g of coffee (coarsely ground)
• 34 oz / 1000 ml or grams of water
• 1 liter of cold brew is 33.8 fl oz
• Concentrated cold brew: 50/50 or 1:2 ratio coffee to water
• Diluted (smooth) cold brew uses a 1:10 ratio
• Large container: 1 lb / 454 g of coffee — 34 oz / 1000 ml of water
• Smaller container: 0.5 lb / 227 g of coffee — 17 oz / 500 ml of water

Final Thoughts

So there you have it!

Now you know how to make delicious cold brew coffee at home.

If you get lazy sometimes, you might also want to try some canned cold brew. Check out my Kirkland Cold Brew Coffee review — it’s super convenient and I usually have a few cans in the fridge.

For making your own, I recommend that you keep the coffee to water ratio tips of this guide in mind, or even better, on a post-it on your fridge door. This way you will be a cold-brew pro in no time.

And remember, make the coffee that you like best!

Your palette is the final judge. If you want a general recommendation, flavorful whole bean medium to dark roasted Arabica coffee ground coarsely at a 1:6 ratio is ideal for smooth cold brew coffee!

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