Kicking the Starbucks Habit: Cold Brew at Home

Patrick

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Dec 21, 2010
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As great as $4.05 Trenta cold brew coffees are from Starbucks, I decided that perhaps there is a better way. Since we have a DIY forum now, I decided to share my experiences.

Supplies
I am currently using this pitcher. The nice feature is that it suspends coffee and has a strainer. It is #1 in Amazon coffee makers which is also why I bought it Amazon.com | Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, 1-Quart, Black: Drip Coffeemakers: Carafes & Pitchers

After about 5 brews, I think it is a bit too small at 1qt. If you drink a lot of coffee or have multiple cold brew drinkers in your household, a bigger setup is in order. Coffee also floats in the strainer compartment and then as it expands gets stuck in the upper portions. You do need to shake it loose once or twice a day to ensure saturation.

My wife actually had the 2qt version she was using for Soylent, that is brewing now. It did not have the coffee strainer part so I will order that on the next Amazon same day order. I am trying it with the strainer from the 1qt version. Results in 2 days.

I do like the strainer as it makes clean-up very simple. I do not like the fact that the Takeya is plastic not glass.

Coffee wise Amazon.com : Tiny Footprint Coffee Organic Cold Press Elixir - Cold Brew Coffee, Ground, 16 Ounce : Grocery & Gourmet Food has gotten me about 6 brews. At just over $2/ brew I ordered more. I ordered a few more coffee options and would love to hear what others recommend. Finding coffee coarse ground enough to work has been challenging.

Another hack I found was that I used the 32oz Hydro Flask I have been using to hold brewed coffee. That size seems about right for the 1qt pitcher's contents after brewing. It also works well to keep coffee cold in the California summer without ice so I have used it on Tahoe hiking/ mountain bike trips that start at 5am or earlier. The coffee even without ice is cool for the return trip in the afternoon evening.

Cold Brew Process
For those worried about how hard it is to make cold brew coffee, it was much easier than I thought. There are a few steps in the process:
  1. Rinse/ clean container(s) - I do this out of habit.
  2. Add water to jug. I am filling to just below where the black handle/ top is on the 1qt jug. After brewing the coffee absorbs water. I learned this when I marked the water level after brewing and removing coffee. When I did the next batch using that mark the water level was too low.
  3. Add coffee. I have been using enough to make it half way up the Takeya 1qt coffee holder's top webbing section. That has made strong enough cold brew while not wasting coffee.
  4. Shake a bit to get the process going.
  5. Put in refrigerator. I generally try to shake it once or twice a day to ensure the grounds are not floating too much. I also am set for a 24 hour brew cycle now.
  6. After 24 hours, pour cold brew into Hydro Flask or another container and start the process again. If you are going through 30oz in a household each day, you do not want to forget starting the process immediately. If you want coffee in the morning and wait until the evening to brew you will not have enough time.
  7. You will have to clean out the coffee holder/ strainer as well as the Takeya brewer. Sediment still gets to the bottom of the Takeya and even the Hydro Flask if you use that to hold the coffee over a day. Since all of the coarse bits are in the strainer already, this is a quick process.
How long does it take?
Overall, removing the brew, cleaning, re-filling and starting the brew process again is a sub-5 minute task. Saving 50-75% on cold brew has been worth it.
 

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Peets Cold Brew > Starbucks :p

Sometimes my wife does a coarse grind for the french press and lets it steep over night works good but not as good as Peets cold brew... I think their cold brew coffee itself is good, but we've yet to order it and try it ourselves. Right now we're using some coffee we brought back from Maui and usually go for Peet's French Roast and Major Dickason.

If you end up trying Peets Cold brew coffee (Baridi Blend) let us know :)

I really want to order some 'direct' from the roaster as I've heard this is MUCH better tasting since it's usually very fresh vs. amazon or retail outlets.
 

Boddy

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Oct 25, 2014
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What's hot at the moment is recycling coffee grinds as a garden compost.

High in nitrogen and other minerals. Earthworms love it! Apparently snails and cats hate it.

There is a local social enterprise who is collecting bins of coffee grinds from coffee shops and giving it away for free. Other businesses have sprung up making bagged compost, worm farming and suppling mushroom growers. A popular coffee shop can generate 150KG coffee grinds a week.

Free compost and your backyard smells like coffee. :D
 
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RobertFontaine

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Dec 17, 2015
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Winterpeg, Canuckistan
A fashionable drink unless you ask swmbo in which case it is a crack like addiction. I have a steam machine, a french press and a drip machine in arms reach of my desktop. Withdrawal is unpleasant and sitting in front of a monitor 7 days a week requires stimulants. Things that make you go hmm.
 
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Patrick

Administrator
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Dec 21, 2010
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Reporting back after many brews. I certainly feel like I am learning the process better.

Brew Carafe wise the original purchase of Amazon.com | Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, 1-Quart was the right one. I got the 2-Quart version and for whatever reason I do not like the strength of the cold brew that comes out. I have even tried letting it sit for 2-3 days. I now pour water into the strainer to pre-soak the coffee so it does not rise up and stay dry during the process on the 2-Quart version. I can see why the 1-Quart carafe is #1 on Amazon however I wish it were glass.

Coffee wise the Tiny Footprint Coffee Organic Cold Press Elixir is $2/ brew and is still my favorite. I have tried 5 or so different options thus far. My wife got me a bag of a new coffee to try but it was not coarse ground. A grinder would increase bean options but it also expands the production footprint.

The other key learning point was was getting a container to hold the brewed coffee in. I tried a few different options but the Hydro Flask is my current favorite as it keeps the coffee cool all day (and into the next.)
 
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Boddy

Active Member
Oct 25, 2014
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Ahh maybe you should try Italian or Australian coffee for comparison.

(Careful it's supposed to be a strong brew)
 

Patrick

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Ahh maybe you should try Italian or Australian coffee for comparison.

(Careful it's supposed to be a strong brew)
Have enjoyed coffee in Italy and Australia and have friends from both places that regularly insist on their national brews. The big challenge is that they are expensive to use in cold brew here and I think they are better suited to drinking warm.
 

nitrobass24

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Dec 26, 2010
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I use a 51oz French Press for my Cold Brew, this makes enough for 2 days worth and lets me brew for 36 hours without running out of the good stuff :)

I also double strain all the cold brew through a traditional coffee filter at the end of brewing. Adds some time to the production, but the taste is drastically different.
 
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