The Best Grind For Cold Brew: A Knowledge Post

Cold brew coffee written on the side of a mason jar filled with cold brew coffee

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The cold brewing process is one of easiest to do at home. With a sweet, low-acidity coffee flavor profile and an almost Zen-like purity and simplicity of preparation, it has a lot going for it. The question is, do you know the best grind for cold brew?

It’s the little things that count, even when they seem insignificant. However, they’re also simple to learn. Cold-brew science, finest coffees to use, the elements that differentiate an ordinary cold brew from a great one, and several ways for making your own at home are all covered in this section. . Prepare yourself for a cup of coffee that is silky and flavorful.

What type of grind is best for cold brew

You always want to use a coarse grind when making cold brew.

In addition to finding the best coffee beans, you must also take into account the grind size. Even if you’re using got the best beans, you won’t be able to appreciate them if the grind is all wrong.

You can tell the best cold brew grind size by rubbing it between your fingers, it will resemble beach sand in texture when you have it right.

Many factors contribute to the ideal grind size. For starters, the coarser the grind, the faster the extraction will begin. To get the water to flow more easily, you’ll need a coarser grind.

If your grinds are too fine this causes the water to be trapped on top producing a harsh, bitter flavor since they were over-extracted.

With a coarse grind, the water drips readily, and the sweet tastes of the cold brewing process may be extracted to their fullest extent.

Many people like to start with whole bean specialty coffee and ground it themselves at home with a coffee grinder. This allows you the most significant degree of control over the brewing process. Each time you prepare a cup of coffee, grind your beans from scratch to ensure optimum taste retention.

black background with a full glass cup filled with a cold brew made from the best grind for cold brew. piles of coffee ice cubes sitting on the table around it

What makes The Grind Size So Crucial For Cold Brew

For this reason, extraction time is affected by the grind size, and the larger the grind, the less resistance there is for water to move through the grinds. In terms of brew time and extraction efficiency, the finer or coarser the grind the more or less water can travel through it.

It’s much more critical to let the water and grinds mingle for a long time in cold brew because heat isn’t used to extract the coffee.

Finer ground coffee will prevent the water from entering the coffee and extracting all of the flavors you desire.

Follow the coffee grind chart below to dial in your brewing techniques.

a close up of the number on your grinder you should set to for the best grind for cold brew

What Number On The Grinder Should You Use For Cold Brewed Coffee(Coffee Grind Size Chart)

This coffee grind size chart will give you a basic overview of what setting you should use for certain brewing methods.

A pile of fine ground coffee for espresso

Fine Grind (Setting 1-3)

When making an Espresso, it is best to use fine grinds for a short period of time and to utilize hot water. To create a Turkish Coffee, you will need to ground the beans to an extremely fine size.

Finely ground beans are only exposed to the water for a short period of time when making a cup of coffee. Often, this is done by an espresso machine and is under a lot of stress.

A pile of medium size ground coffee

Medium Grind (Setting 4-6)

You’ll get the finest results with medium grind sizes if you plan on making a cup of drip or pour-over coffee. Despite this, pour-over and drip coffee are both manual procedures, which necessitate some experimentation.

A finer grind size may be necessary if you only plan to brew one cup of coffee. Using less water means your brew time will be shorter since you’re brewing less volume.

The grind size should be medium if the contact period between water and coffee is medium. Any type of pour-over coffee, as well as ordinary coffee machines, and several other ways, are included in this category.

  • Setting 3-5: The AeroPress coffee maker is used.
  • Nos. 4-6: The old-school filter coffee maker
  • Pour-over coffees like the Kalita Wave or the more traditional filter coffees can be found in settings 4-6.
Close-up picture of coarse grinds for cold brew coffee.

Coarse Ground Coffee (Setting 7-10)

Cold brewed coffee is best made with a coarse grind. For at least 18 to 24 hours, the coffee grounds and water mixture must be submerged in water before being used. Because of this, coarsely ground beans enable the progressive extraction of all of the different flavors.

However, if finely powdered beans were utilized, the scents would be overly concentrated, resulting in an unpleasant bitterness.

French Press can be made using coarse ground beans, but only at a medium level. For the most part, this is done to prevent small bits from escaping the Press.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your grinder’s settings before using this guidance. You may need to alter your grind settings depending on the type of grinder you have.

Using coarsely ground beans where the grinds are meeting with water for about 12 hours is ideal for obtaining the best flavor. Any type of full immersion, including cold brew, is covered by this rule.

  • Sixth and Seventh: Vacuum espresso machine
  • French press coffee maker: setting 7-8
  • Caffeinators set to Bayreuth or Karlsbad (settings 9–10)
  • The Cold Drip and Cold Brewed Coffee Settings on the Coffee Maker
cold brew coffee in coca-cola bottles with dark roast beans laying around the table.

How Can You Tell What The Best Coffee Is For Cold Brew

Here are a few tips to help you decide what the best type of coffee is for cold brew.

What Type Of beans Should You Use For Cold Brew

Cold-brew can be made with any coffee bean. The coarse grind is what really matters.

In cold brewing, you can experience a wide range of flavors. For this reason, you may discover that the roast used for a cold brew is different from the one used for a hot brew.

Cold brewing will reduce the acidity of a lighter roast because the cold water diminishes the acid profile. You may enjoy it, but most people prefer a darker roast.

Cold brewing brings out the nutty and cacao notes in any roast besides a light roast, producing a flavor that is deep and velvety.

Try any coffee you like, but I would suggest a medium or dark roast coffee first.

With a coffee subscription, you’ll be able to discover new variations of cold brew that are just right for your taste buds. Here is one of our favorite single-origin, ethically sourced beans.

Five side by side comparisons of the different colors of coffee bean roasts for cold brew

Does The Type Of roast Matter For Cold Brew

The aroma and flavor of a cup of coffee are greatly influenced by the degree of roasting. Therefore, it takes some time to figure out how different colors of coffee beans correspond to different tastes, but the effort is definitely worth it in the end.

It would help if you kept this in mind while selecting your coffee beans, as the cold brewing extraction process brings out a more comprehensive range of flavors. Your preferred coffee roast may be different for your cold brew than for your hot brew.

Light roast coffee’s stronger characteristics are likely to be dampened by this brewing method, which results in a more delicate taste. In addition, light roasts tend to lose their flavor when brewed cold.

Cold brew also makes a great holiday specialty coffee like Pumpkin Spice.

How Long the Bean Has Aged Plays A Part

It’s not a concern when purchasing your beans because cold brewing eliminates some of the soluble ingredients.

Cold-brew coffee grounds made from older beans yield a more flavorful and caffeinated beverage than those made from fresher beans. Because cold brewing does not extract all of the aromatics from the bean, it doesn’t matter if they fade over time.

Three bowls with whole coffee beans, pre-ground and instant coffee in each

Freshly Ground Beans Vs. Pre-Ground

You either support or oppose the use of pre-ground beans (we’re not even going to discuss instant coffee). Yuck!). The whole point of coffee is to get all of the flavor and aroma from the bean itself.

In the past, people would boil the roasted coffee beans in hot water while constantly stirring them. In the end, you would have a really bitter and caffeinated beverage that you would not enjoy drinking.

Coffee has evolved tremendously over the years, allowing us to extract all of the desired flavors and create a drink that some of us need to start the day.

When the beans are freshly ground, the water has a greater surface area to interact with, resulting in a more thorough extraction and a shorter brewing time.

When it comes to deciding whether to grind your coffee or buy it pre-ground, there will be some disagreement. There are both advantages and disadvantages to each.

The best cold brew coffee will come from using whole beans, that is a fact. The question is whether you want the flavor to lack for the convenience of pre ground beans.

Coffee beans macro on a brown background with whole beans mixed in with freshly ground coffee

Benefits For Grinding Your Beans Fresh

If you want to get the most flavor out of your cup of coffee, grind your beans. If you’re going to grind your beans, you’ll need a quality coffee grinder to get started. A good coffee grinder should be able to grind coffee beans consistently and evenly to get the most flavor from them.

There are two options available to you: burr grinder or blade grinder. A burr grinder produces uniform grinds, but a blade grinder produces uneven grinds, making it unsuitable for making coffee.

Make sure that the grinder you purchase allows you to adjust the grind size as well. For cold brew, the grounds should be between medium and coarse in size.

Blade grinders do not allow you to adjust the size, this is a big reason why I will always recommend a burr grinder. If you have inconsistent grinds you will end up with over extracted coffee.

Too much oil is extracted when the bean is ground too finely, which results in a harsh taste. Drinks with an ultra-coarse grind are going to be undeveloped and underwhelming.

Reasons Not To grind Your Own Beans

Drinking coffee is an expensive habit, even for those who don’t go to a coffee shop and get costly drinks. Unfortunately, grinding your own coffee comes at a price. Pre ground beans will cost less than whole beans.

Why? Because the entire beans are going to come from a higher quality source. Whole beans can’t be disguised, and when the client grinds them at home, they’ll be able to tell the difference between good and terrible quality beans.

You’ll have to use the beans up quickly if you grind your own coffee beans. The freshness is limited to about 4 weeks. So to get the maximum flavor, you need to use them quickly right away. In addition, this is why the price of whole beans is higher than ground beans.

Additionally, grinding your own beans is dirty and time-consuming, so it’s not always the best option(unless you care about taste) In addition to having to clean the grinder after each use, you can only grind a small amount at a time.

It’s not a good idea to grind your coffee for future use, only for what you are going to use in the present.

A bag of pre-ground coffee

Pros Of Using Pre-Ground

Pre-ground has the distinct advantage of being very time-saving. A coffee machine with a built-in grinder is the best alternative for folks who don’t have the time or inclination to grind their own beans.

It’s also possible to buy huge cans of ground coffee and have it on hand at all times. With that in mind, we recommend that if you do decide to purchase coffee grounds, you just purchase a modest amount (ideally a week’s supply) so that you may get the most flavor out of your beans.

Reasons Not To Use Pre-Ground

Although ground coffee is convenient, it has a number of problems. The fact that you won’t be able to receive the freshest cup of coffee possible is one of the main disadvantages. Did you know that ground coffee loses roughly 60% of its scent in the first 15 minutes?

Coffee beans’ oils are so delicate that they pick up the smells of anything in their immediate vicinity, which is never a good thing. Aside from losing CO2 during roasting, oils absorb tastes from their surroundings if they are not appropriately sealed in the coffee beans’ hard external shell.

Once the coffee’s essential oils have been released, they are carried into the beverage by CO2.

Moisture is another concern when using ground coffee. Even though coffee oils are water-soluble, they begin to dilute as soon as they are exposed to moisture in the air. This results in a weaker cup of coffee.

a top view of cold brew with cream and coffee ice cubes

Benefits Of Drinking Cold Brew Over Other Coffee’s

The acidity level is lower. Because of its decreased acid content, cold brew coffee naturally tastes sweeter.

As a result, the extraction process is slower and more selective when cold water is used in place of hot water. Despite the extraction of the coffee’s flavor, bitter components remain.

Coldwater coffee brewing methods create less acid than when using hot water. This is because while extracting, hot water also cooks the beans, creating a change in the chemical structure of the extracted coffee material.

In cold-brewing, the chemical reaction doesn’t alter because the temperature doesn’t change. Your Cold Brew will taste the same whether you drink it today or a few days from now. That’s fine, as long as you keep it protected.

Cold Brews can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. So open the fridge and pour yourself a cold cup of coffee.

Although it may take longer to brew, you’ll likely find that none of the coffee you prepare goes to waste.

Advice For Brewing Cold Brew Coffee

To ensure you’re getting the greatest cold brew possible, follow these tips when making cold brew coffee.

Use a variety of beans. Always begin with a bean that has been coarsely ground. The best approach to get the flavor you want from your coffee is to grind it coarser and coarser until you have it just right.

Use purified water. Your coffee will taste fresher if you use filtered water instead of tap water. Moreover, it may even enhance the flavor of the coffee a tad.

Grounds must be steeped overnight. Therefore, the coarser the grind of your coffee, the longer it will take to infuse the water with the aroma and flavor of the beans.

It’s possible to over-steep your coffee grounds and end up with a bitter taste. Depending on the strength and grind size of your beans, you can change the time accordingly.

Make ice cubes out of coffee. You don’t want to compromise the flavor of your cold brew with water after all that effort! Instead, make coffee ice cubes and put them into your cup to keep it chilled and strong.

How To Make Cold Brew

Here is a simple recipe for producing cold brew coffee.

Step1: Grind your preferred coffee beans into coarse granules. Using the coarse setting on the grinder, grind 1 cup of your beans. Quick, one-second pulses can be used on a spice grinder if it lacks a coarse setting.

A Cornmeal-like grind is ideal; you don’t want to end up with something that resembles cocoa powder. Coffee grinds will be a little less than a cup in size after this method.

Step 2: Add water to the coffee beans and stir. In a container add 4 cups of filtered, room-temperature water into the coffee grinds. Using a long wooden spoon will ensure that the slurry is thoroughly wet. Place the container’s lid on it.

Step 3: Allow it to steep. Waiting is all you have to do with the container’s lid on top. The jar should be left alone for 10 to 12 hours. Putting it in the fridge is an option, but we don’t advocate doing so because it will weaken the coffee.

Step 4: Remove the grounds from the coffee. Once the 12 hours have passed use a sieve that should be lined with flour sack linen or cheesecloth. Next, strain the coffee into a bowl by placing the strainer over a bowl. If you want to ensure there are no sediments in your coffee, you can repeat this process more than once.

Step 5: Transfer the coffee from the pot. Keep your coffee in the fridge for up to 2 weeks by transferring it to a tiny container or mason jar.

What’s The Dissimilarity Of Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee

You may have observed some distinctions between cold brew coffee and iced coffee. The brewing process makes a significant difference in the final flavor, even though they appear to be nearly identical.

Hot coffee is the beginning of iced coffee. One of the common methods of extraction utilizing hot water, such as drip coffee, pour-over, or French press coffee, is used to make iced coffee.

Refrigeration is used to chill the brewed coffee, which is allowed to cool to room temperature before being served with ice cubes. Even though your coffee will be cold it will have the flavor profile of a coffee that was extracted using hot water.

Cold brew coffee is brewed in an entirely new way. Cold-brew is exactly what it sounds like; it is brewed with water that is either cold or room temperature. Cold brewing relies on time rather than heat to extract the coffee, which is a very slow procedure when compared to other brewing methods

Smiling office worker high on caffeine. Notes in the background. Too much work and too much coffee. Dozens of coffee cups laying on his desk.

Is There Less Caffeine In Cold Brew

Because cold brew uses more coffee beans than hot brew, people tend to think the caffeine content of cold brew is more than that of hot coffee.

This isn’t true, though. When coffee is brewed in hot water, more caffeine is removed from the beans and placed in your cup.

Since cold brew is extracted using room-temperature water, it doesn’t contain as much caffeine.

Cold brew, on the other hand, contains more caffeine than iced coffee. A 16-ounce serving of cold brew is also more caffeinated than a 1.5-ounce (44-mL) shot of espresso.


Cold brew coffee is the one coffee craze that doesn’t make us squirm at its utter weirdness. Because you don’t have to go to a fancy coffee shop, this trend is the best of all. If you have patience, you can create your own cold brew coffee using a Chemex.

If you want to make your own cold brew at home, you need to use a coarse grind and a medium roast. Grind your own coffee, or at the very least buy enough pre-ground coffee for a week, to get the best flavor. Purified water is also a good idea!