Cold Brew Proportions - The Best Cold Brew Ratio

Cold Brew Proportions – The Best Cold Brew Ratio!

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 20:16

Using the right cold brew proportions and brewing your cold brew coffee with the correct coffee to water ratio is important to getting a great cup of coffee that is vibrant, tasty and every bit as good as you would expect from your local coffee shop.

The proportions vary slightly from 1:4 all the way up to 1:12, and we’ll explain why in a minute.

One thing we insist on at Latte Love Brew is that you do not use a paper filter, cheese cloth or cotton cloth as you will get a stronger, bolder flavor when you use a metal filter or a sieve.

Keep reading as we dig down into the topic of cold brew proportions.

What Is Cold Brew And Why Make It?

Cold brew is as simply a coffee that is brewed with cold water by immersing the grounds in cold water overnight to extract the low temperature compounds. The result is a very smooth flavor and really draws out some amazing flavors from the coffee grounds that you otherwise would not have enjoyed had you brewed your coffee using hot water.

The flavor profile is very different from a regular coffee that is brewed with the same beans, same coffee to water ratio and same grind size but brewed with hot water.

A cold brew should not be confused with iced coffee – which is how cold brew coffee is sold by some of the smaller coffee shops. Iced coffee is simply hot coffee with ice and tastes very different.

As a coffee lover you should avoid using cool temperatures and simply just use water that is cold. Using water that is cold, ice-cold, and just above freezing point will produce better results and a more refreshing flavor.

Due to the long brew time, it is advised that you make a large batch, a full pitcher of it and brew it in your fridge. When you have plenty available, you can, for the next few days, enjoy a quick afternoon coffee by simply pouring it out!

What Is Cold Brew And Why Make It
An Excellent Cold Brew With Milk

Read: How to make strong coffee

Cold Brew Proportions – What Is The Best Cold Brew Ratio?

Now let’s get down to the meat and bones of this article and get talking about the cold brew proportions and the best cold brew ratios for making a very tasty and cold-brewed coffee.

Let’s be clear on one important factor – there is no set, written in stone, cold brew proportion that you absolutely must stick to. The following are suggestions to produce a good, strong and bold taste of coffee that is typical of a cold brew.

  • Cold brew proportion of coffee to water for a weak French press cold brew 1:12. This produces a low strength cold-brewed coffee that, while still enjoyable and has a good flavor profile it is much weaker on the scale. The French press brewing method – even when brewing cold coffee draws out the flavor compounds a little better.
  • High strength French press cold brew 1:7. This ratio produces a cold brew that is stronger, punchier and has a greater body than the above, weaker and more watery 1:12 ratio, lesser body.
  • Coffee To Water Ratio of 1:5. This cold brew proportion and ratio of coffee to water creates a very balanced, typical coffee that you can enjoy as it is, with ice or mix it with milk. It is a standard preference for most people.
  • Coffee to water proportion of 1:4. One part or one gram of coffee for every 4 parts or grams of water produces a very nice coffee that is commonly used at the more famous coffee outlets like Starbucks, Peet’s coffee and Costa Coffee. More dense in flavor and more vibrant. It is a strong coffee.
  •  Cold Brew Concentrate: I’ll dig down and detail this later. Making a cold brew concentrate I prefer to use a 1:1 ratio when brewing my own concentrate. I also prefer to double brew. That is a 1:1 proportion of coffee to water, and then I’ll do the same with the coffee that I run through the second brewing cycle of coffee, using fresh coffee grounds and a 1:1 coffee to water (technically single brewed cold brew coffee) ratio. It’s quite a punchy and focused concentrate.

Here is a table to see it visually.

Description Coffee To Water Ratio 
Cold Brew Concentrate 1:1
Stronger, Standard Preference 1:4
Standard Preference 1:5
High Strength French Press 1:7
Low Strength French Press 1:12

Read: Are espresso beans different

Cold Brew Concentrate Ratio For Making A Cold Brew Concentrate

There are many reasons for making a cold brew concentrate – one of the principal reasons is that it lasts longer in your fridge, 3 days Vs 5 days.

Note: Technically your cold brew coffee is good for 5 to 7 days and a concentrate stays fresh for 7 to 10 days. My suggestion of 3 days and 5 days is to focus more on enjoying fresh, vibrant coffee.

How focused and how concentrated and strong you like your coffee.

Once you have made your cold brew concentrate or bought one, the following chart lays out some ratios of water that you can use to enjoy a great coffee.

Description Cold Brew Proportions Ratio Of Concentrate To Water
Morning Coffee Shot 1:1 (Use Cream Or Milk Instead Of Water)
Strong Taste 1:1
Mellow Flavor 1:2

Starting to go outside the 1:2 you start to get a watery taste, or a cold brew that lacks body. I have been known to occasionally use a 1:3 when I want a weaker coffee.

French Press Cold Brew Ratio

The French cold brew ratio is slightly different from the regular way of brewing a cold brew coffee. Due to its ability to extract coffee very well, the French press cold brew ratio is very different from the standard full immersion cold brew ratio.

  • Coffee To Water Ratio 1:7 or 1:12 depending on how strong and full-bodied you like your coffee to be. These cold brew proportions are easy to follow: simply put 7x or 12x as much water by weight as your coffee.
  • Making A Cold Brew Concentrate: 1:1 ratio makes a good, bold and strong concentrate that you need to dilute – see the above table for details. There is no need to double brew.
French Press Cold Brew Ratio
French Press Can Be Used To Brew Cold Brew

Why It Is Important To Get The Ratio Right

You need to get the ratio correct, or you will simply not get a coffee that you will enjoy. Also, getting the proportions wrong and your coffee will not last as long as you would expect it to.

There are variables of course as some people will prefer a stronger brew than others. Get it too strong, and you will not enjoy it as much as you would expect to, and the flip side, use too much water, and it will taste very watery – neither of which makes for a good enjoyable cup of coffee.

If you enjoy sipping your coffee, I advise that you make coffee ice cubes rather than putting ice in your coffee as the ice will only melt and spoil your coffee.

What Is The Best Coffee For Cold Brew?

This is a question that we get asked often, particularly during the hot summer months. The truth of the matter is there is no particular best coffee for cold brew.

Various roasts do work well, and different coffee lovers will have their own preference and what flavors they want in their cold brew.

Dark roast coffee produces a very nice and very smooth coffee. I have a strong soft spot for medium roast Ethiopian single origin coffee beans.

You can keep an eye open for specialty coffee that is specifically roasted and designed for cold brew.

My Top 6 Cold Brew Facts

If you have a fun fact about cold brew coffee you can add it here, we will be delighted to share it with our readers.

#1 Cold Brew Is A Strong Coffee.

Cold brew is a very concentrated and focused drink with a high amount of coffee that is used in relation to the amount of water, which makes it strong and highly caffeinated. One thing that you should never do is to drink a cold brew concentrate straight without diluting it.

#2 You Can Heat Up Cold Brew And Enjoy It Hot.

You don’t have to enjoy your cold brew coffee as a cold coffee. You can heat it up if you want to. There is not too much of a difference as the flavor remains the same – more or less.

#3 Cold Brew Coffee Is Less Acidic.

If you are not a fan of coffee due to the acidity or the upset stomach that it causes you, you will find that cold brew coffee may not have that affect due to the reduced acidity. If an espresso, regular drip coffee or other coffee drinks leave you with a sore stomach, try a cold brew.

#4 Coarsely Ground And Whole Bean Coffee Makes The Best Cold Brew.

While a coarse grind is perfect for brewing cold brew you can get away with using whole beans. If your coffee grinder is broken, you can brew with whole beans!

Or you can go to a roastery, buy beans from them and ask them to grind your coffee beans for you. An alternative is to use pre-ground coffee, but you won’t get the best experience with pre-ground coffee.

#5 Cold Brew Coffee Takes Much Longer To Brew Than Drip Coffee.

Brew time and extraction time can take forever to brew, much longer than drip coffee. The extraction time can take up to a whole day to brew. Typical extraction time is from 16 hours to 24 hours typically.

#6 You Can Use Any Coffee Bean Variety, Roast Or Blend To Make A Cold Brew.

Yes,

you can use any coffee bean to make great cold brew coffee and any roast level. Some people enjoy a dark roast while others prefer medium or medium dark. Light roasts work well, also.

It is common for coffee enthusiasts to enjoy single origin coffees as a cold brew.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cold Brew Proportions

What Is The Best Coffee Ratio For Cold Brew?

The best ratio for making cold brew coffee is 1:8, which is 1 part coffee and 8 parts water. You can make stronger up to a 1:6 ratio. Any stronger than 1:6 and you start to get close to a cold brew concentrate ratio.

What Is The 4 To 1 Ratio For Cold Brew?

The 4 to 1 ratio for cold brew coffee is 4 parts water for every part of coffee used.

What Is The Ratio For 1 Cup Of Cold Brew?

The best ratio for making cold brew coffee is 1:8. Here is a basic cold brew coffee recipe using the 1:8 ratio.

Assuming your cup of cold brew that you want to make is 16 ounces (480 ml), divide your cup size by 8 to get the amount of coffee that you need to use.

16/8 = 2, you will need to use 2 Oz (60 grams) of coffee and 16 Oz (480 ml) of coffee.

Your ground coffee must be of a coarsely ground grind size. Add your water and leave it to extract in an airtight container in your fridge.

What Is The Golden Ratio For Cold Brew?

The best cold brew coffee ratio of 1:8 is also the golden ratio for cold brew coffee.  For each gram, or ounce of coffee, use 8 times as much clean, fresh cold water.

How Much Coffee For 1500 ml Of Cold Brew?

If you are sticking to the golden ratio of 1:8 for the cold brew method, divide 1500 by 8.

1500/8 = 187.5 grams of coffee. This is the amount to use for the smoothest tasting cup of coffee with a great balanced flavor.

What Is The Best Cold Brew Ratio And Time?

The best ratio is 1:8, which is the golden ratio. How long it takes for your coffee to be ready depends on where you are brewing it, room temperature or in your fridge.

Personally, I prefer to brew my coffee in the fridge to ensure that I get all the low flavor compounds. You should have a great coffee ready in about 36 hours. Brewing at room temperature, it will be ready in 20 to 24 hours.

How Does Starbucks Make Its Cold Brew?

Starbucks uses the room temperature cold brewing method where they steep their coarsely ground coffee and let it steep in fresh cold water at room temperature for 20 hours. The ratio used is 1:4, which allows them to dilute their cold brew concentrate to a 1:1 ratio with ice and cold water.

Should Cold Brew Steep In Fridge?

There is a lot of debate regarding this topic. In my opinion, I love brewing my cold brew coffee in the fridge to get a much better quality. It is not essential, and it does increase the extraction time.

Frappé-Ing It All Up Cold Brew Proportions

Cold brew proportions are easy to memorize or adhere to thanks to the charts in this article, which you are free to copy and take note of.

The different ratios are something to be aware of and experiment with until you hit your sweet-spot and enjoy your own, personal perfect cold brew.

Join our cool coffee community and share your coffee creations, latte art designs and tell us all about the great new beans that you are trying out!

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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