Need the opinion of a coffee know it all (cold brew question).

So I brew using a french press. A few days ago on a whim I tried brewing using the exact same water/coffee proportions as usual EXCEPT I used cold water and let it steep overnight (using cold brew as the theory).

Results the next morning were delicious. Heated the coffee and it tasted amazing (a smidge stronger than usual - but I’m usually too impatient to let it fully steep in the mornings). No bitterness at all.

Now I will admit that the current coffee I’m using isn’t that great so I’m not sure if this just improved the mediocre product or if it works on all beans.

I’d love to know what someone who really knows coffee has to say about the taste doing a back to back taste test.
Using what you consider to be good beans and the exact same proportion of water/coffee can you tell me your opinion regarding taste and drinking experience comparing a cup of french press coffee brewed using hot water vs letting it steep with cold water overnight?


I’m not an expert by any means, but cold brew is all I do in the summer. Anyhow, this is what I find:

  1. I like cold brew just a tad on the bitter side. Darker roasts are way too bitter, lighter roasts are too watery and acidic. You need a bean that is richly flavored without being heavily roasted.

  2. I always skim the foam bloom about 30 minutes after the first stir, because that’s where the most disgusting bitter notes come from.

  3. Never heat cold-brew. Why would you?

  4. Steep time of 9-12 hours is adequate, I find.

  5. I use double the amount of grounds as I use in drip coffee, otherwise I find cold-brew watery.

  6. I use a finer grind than most people recommend for cold brew. It tends to foul the french press but otherwise the flavor is inadequate.

We used to drink nothing but cold-brewed coffee, either iced or heated, depending on the weather. I just made it in a glass bowl on the counter, strained it through a very fine sieve, and refrigerated whatever we didn’t drink. It can be kept for quite a while and won’t turn bitter. I found the flavor to be fuller and richer than regular brewed coffee. The heated version has none of that brackish taste associated with reheated coffee.

Um, because you want a hot cup of coffee?

The whole point of cold brewing is to preserve delicate flavors that are driven off by heat. It seems bizarre to invest all that time only to destroy the result, like chilling a nice red wine or heating a premium sake. But hey, individual tastes, whatever.

I’d agree with your first point. It’s definitely better when iced, but heated up on a chilly day, it’s much better than something that’s been percolated. Bottom line: if you want a cup of hot coffee that tastes better than what you’ve been drinking, cold-brewed will work well to that end.

The point of cold brew, as I understand it, is to not extract the chemicals that only extract efficiently under heat.

Reheating the coffee after extraction is complete shouldn’t change the profile too much, unless you overheat it.

In my experience, cold brew will generally be less bitter, but can be more sour. I think it’s a better match for lighter roasts. Great for iced coffee, but I often reheat it.

My technique to reheat is usually to microwave it until it’s fairly hot but not close to boiling, then I dilute it by about a third by adding very hot water.

I used to make cold brew regularly to take to work (where the coffee is terrible), but more recently I’ve just decreased my coffee drinking.

Well as I mentioned, I’m trying to avoid the cold brew method (at least as I was taught - to make a concentrate you then water down as needed). As far as taste is concerned (with the stuff I’m currently using anyway) the taste is not affected. If anything it’s nicer as there is none of the bitterness you get when you overheat coffee (I formally cop to being too impatient in the morning to brew properly - I needs mah coffeeh dammit).

The purpose of the request/question is to see if it’s possible to get a great cuppa HOT morning coffee as simply as possible doing it this way.
As an example tonight I dumped to largish spoons of coffee into the press and filled it up with two mugs of water. Tomorrow I press it and heat in the microwave as needed. No bitterness so far and the taste is pretty good (again, given the crappy coffee I’m working with here).
I’m hoping someone who can give an educated opinion will be able to comment on the comparison between the “proper” brewing methods and the unheated brewing method I described. If it is possible, then I’d love to know what proportions would work best (add more or less coffee per cup, detriments or benefits of letting it sit longer, etc).
Mostly its a matter of curiosity, though I have to say I’m seriously liking the fact I can get morning coffee within a minute of getting downstairs (time to heat in nuker). j

Two tablespoons of grounds per 6 ounces of water does the trick. I usually let it sit overnight. Your other questions appear to have been answered.

What Chefguy said. Sounds like you need a little more grounds to water. But, it really just comes down to whether you like what you made, however you made it. If you found a method you like and it works for you, who cares?