Full Immersion Cold Brew - The Ultimate Guide!

Full Immersion Cold Brew – The Ultimate Guide!

Four sweet words on a hot summer day that are like music to all coffee lovers ears “full immersion cold brew“. A cold brew is a fantastic alternative to simply enjoying cold coffee and much better than having iced coffee, a coffee packed with ice cubes all melting as you slowly sip away diluting the flavor and taste of the brew.

Full immersion rather than the drip cold brew is the preferred way and more common way to enjoy a cold brew coffee. After surveying a wide range of coffee shops, I found 70% of coffee drinkers preferred full immersion.

In this article, I will provide you with the ultimate guide to full immersion coffee!

Let’s immerse ourselves!

What Is Full Immersion Cold Brew?

The simplest and easiest, most effortless way to make coffee is full immersion cold brew. Just immerse your coffee grounds in cold water and let them steep for 10-12 hours or longer. It is very difficult to screw up this brewing method.

Only one of two mistakes can be made during the process and that is not immersing your beans for long enough. Naturally, this is easily corrected by just allowing your grounds to steep for longer.

The other error that you can make is using the wrong grind or using too fine a grind. The only way of correcting this is by being aware of the grind size and using a coarse grind that is the size of sea salt.

If you have used too fine a grind you may be able to rescue your brew by reducing the brewing time by a few hours.

The brew time will need to be monitored and adjusted depending on what roast you are using. Lighter roasts will need a longer extraction time than darker roasts. According to a coffee expert I was speaking with, this is due to the coffee oils still being deeper in the light roasted beans.

Full Immersion Cold Brew
Full immersion cold brew

Coffee curiosity: Best coffee to make cold brew with

What Is The Difference Between Full Immersion Cold Brew And Drip Cold Brew?

The clue to the difference between a full immersion cold brew and drip cold brew is in the names of the different ways in which the brew is elaborated.

A full immersion cold brew is made by immersing the grounds completely in water while it is brewing. Drip cold brew is cold water or ice water (literally ice melting) and dripping over the coffee grounds and into the brewing container below.

Often, a drip cold brew is made using a special cold brew maker or device that is designed into 3 parts. The part with the water reservoir or ice reservoir at the top, the coffee grounds with the paper coffee filter in the middle and the brewing container at the bottom.

A third type of cold brew is the Japanese flash cold brew which involves brewing with hot water instead of cold water which drips on to the coffee grounds which then drips on to ice to cool it down in a flash.

What Is The Difference Between Full Immersion Cold Brew And Drip Cold Brew
Drip coffee made with cold water can qualify as cold brew

Coffee curiosity: Does cold brew need to be refrigerated?

The Benefits Of Full Immersion Cold Brew

One of the benefits of this coffee drink is the smooth balanced, light low acidity and mellow flavor. Easy to make and hard to over extract and over brew this rather pleasant drink.

Easy To Brew

Full immersion cold brew is one of the easiest coffee drinks that you will make. You literally can’t go wrong when making this coffee. You just need to immerse the coffee in cold water and wait!

Wait anything from 10-12 hours or even up to 24 hours and your coffee is ready. No specialist cold brew coffee maker is required, but there are some cold brew makers that make the process much easier.

The specialist cold brew makers often come with a built in filter for you to place your grounds for immersion, an area for the water, in which the filter remains immersed. The larger ones come with a spigot at the bottom for ease of pouring.

It is a set it and forget it method of making coffee.

Low Acidity And Smooth Mellow Flavour

Full immersion cold brew coffee is not a favorite because it is easy to make. It is popular due to the smooth, well-rounded, mellow flavor that, for some is the tastiest summer time coffee to have.

Due to the long brew time, full steeping of the coffee grounds and low temperature you end up with one of the tastiest cuppa Joe’s.

This technique of brewing allows for the low temperature, lower flavor compounds and oils to be drawn out creating a brown sugar caramel-cola taste.

That is why 70% of cold brew drinkers prefer full immersion cold brew than drip cold brew.

What Is Full Immersion Cold Brew
Cold brew has a very mellow taste.

The Cons Of Full Immersion Cold Brewed Coffee

Not everyone in the world of coffee culture world is a fan of the immersion cold brew method, with the most common complaint being the taste.

This method creates a flavor profile that is very different from the same beans if they are brewed with hot water, muddling together the regular coffee taste with the lighter flavors resulting in a more balanced middle of the road flavor.

None of the complex flavors get drawn out.

Other complaints are it can be a messy way of making coffee if you are using a cheese cloth, cloth filter or the coffee sock.

The immersion method is less effective if you don’t have something to suspend the coffee grounds and extract more of the coffee oils and compounds. If you don’t, they just eventually sink, and you are not getting the full benefit from them.

It Can Get Gritty

If a proper filter is not used, then the resulting brew can end up being quite gritty. At Latte Love Brew we like to avoid when we can the use of paper filters as these remove the oils from the brew as well as the ground, resulting in a less flavorsome drink.

I encourage you to use a cloth or a metal filter where possible and retain some or all of the oils in your coffee and get a better Cuppa Joe just by making that one change.

Long Brew Time

Unfortunately, cold brewing is not a brewing process that will have you enjoying your coffee right away! In most cases, you will be lucky to enjoy it on the same day!

This one you will need to make the evening before to enjoy the next morning.

How Do You Make Full Immersion Cold Brew?

Getting down to it and elaborating a great tasting full immersion cold brewed coffee is an absolute walk in the park. There are only a few simple steps to it!

  • 1. Fully Immerse your freshly ground coarse grounds in ice cold water
  • 2. Place your clean container the with your brew in it in the fridge and keep it well covered
  • 3. All for 8-10 hours or as long as 12-16 hours to brew.
  • 4. Keep checking your brew every few hours for flavor to ensure it is well brewed.
  • 5. Strain the grounds once ready with a metal strainer or cheese cloth.
  • 6. Serve in a mason jar and enjoy you coffee!

This is all there is to it. As you can see from the steps above it is super simple to make. It is very hands off and does not require any special brewing vessel or brewing device unless you really want to use one.

Due to the long brewing time make a few days to a weeks batch at a time.

If you want to, you can even make a cold brew coffee concentrate by using a stronger coffee to water ratio.

How Do You Make Full Immersion Cold Brew
Full immersion cold brew is so easy to make!

Should You Stir Cold Brew While Steeping?

No,

while it might sound like a good idea to stir your grounds while they are steeping but if you do, you will not get a nice even distribution of flavor while they are extracting. If you stir them you will end up with a watery brew.

Can You Make Full Immersion Cold Brew With Full Beans?

Yes,

using full or whole bean coffee is an option that you have for making this kind of coffee. I have not tried it personally, nor do I advise you to. In my experience, and the opinions of coffee community experts, is that using whole bean coffee you will need to let your coffee steep for much longer than the regular 10-12 hours sweet spot for coarse grounds.

If you are determined to try out full beans, then I suggest using a dark roast, even an espresso roast or French or Italian roasts as these are much darker and will help you to get the coffee soluble and flavorsome compounds out of them sooner.

Lighter roasts for whole beans will feel like it takes you forever to get something that resembles the flavor of coffee.

Worthy of note, if you go the opposite direction and aim for a finer grind, you will end up with a stronger brew in considerably less time and can end up very bitter tasting. Not to mention the sludge of mud like coffee grounds that you will end up with.

Can You Make Full Immersion Cold Brew With Full Beans
You can make full immersion cold brew with whole beans

What Happens If You Steep Full Immersion Cold Brew For Too Long?

You will end up with a bitter-sour over extracted and over brewed coffee that is not at all nice to drink. You will barely even get away with adding sugar or watering it down.

Not at all nice tasting at all and a waste of grounds. Keep an eye on your brew time and taste frequently.

Frappé-ing It All Up – Full Immersion Cold Brew!

Full immersion cold brew is one of the easiest and, in my own personal enjoyment, one of the best cold coffee’s you can enjoy during a hot summer and chillaxing and sipping away. Enjoyed on its own or, if you must, with milk. I prefer mine straight up, how do you like yours?

Coffee is love, it's more than love — it's a passion of mine. I've had the luck to have travelled and enjoyed the most exotic of coffee's and unique flavors, brewing methods and techniques of making the perfect coffee from Thai hill tribe coffee to Indonesian volcanic coffee, Malaysian coffee that comes in a tea bag and the array of flavors in Vietnam, from Vanilla to Orange to Coconut to Avocado to even salt coffee and the famous egg coffee. The best part of my coffee adventures is getting to mix with the locals over a nice brew and learning how they make it! I'm cited and referenced on Google Scholar for the topic of coffee.

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