You Don't Need Fancy Gear To Make The Best Cold Brew

Pouring from cold brew maker
Pouring from cold brew maker - Georgeclerk/Getty Images

From budget-friendly gadgets to fancy machines costing upwards of $100, there's a lot of gear made for homemade cold brew coffee out there on the market. And while these cold brew makers can certainly make the process more convenient, the truth is that there's not a lot more you'll be getting out of them than the convenience. Cold brew isn't like pour over coffee, where the slightest variable can produce a subtle difference in the coffee -- all you really need is a container big enough to hold the cold brew and a filter fine enough to strain it through.

This is mostly because of the way cold brew extracts coffee from coffee grinds. What we consider to be coffee is made up of water-soluble particles in the beans that are washed out either through heat and force or time and osmosis. Pour over coffee -- the heat and force part of the equation -- has a very short window to extract the coffee particles in an optimal manner, making every variable count.

With cold brew, however, you don't have to worry about pour technique or precise water temperature because the coffee particles are being extracted over time through osmosis. If the coffee is going to be sitting in the water for upwards of 24 hours, you can imagine why the specific shape or configuration of the cold brew container doesn't matter all that much.

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So What Do You Actually Need For Making Good Cold Brew Coffee?

Pouring cold brew from jar
Pouring cold brew from jar - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

If you're consistently disappointed by the results of your cold brew attempts, the answer isn't to get some fancy gadget. You're probably just falling into one of the many mistakes people make with cold brew. At most, the only new purchase you probably should make is to get a burr grinder if you don't have one. Inconsistent grind size is one of the biggest culprits behind mediocre cold brew coffee, and blade grinders don't give you much control over grind size.

Another thing you might be doing wrong -- that you might think you need a cold brew maker for -- is not finding the right timing to take the coffee grinds out of your cold brew. While automatic timers on cold brew-making machines might make things easier, the truth is that no one size fits all.

If you want an excellent cup of cold brew every time, you have to experiment a little to see what produces the best-tasting coffee for you. Don't be afraid to play around with brew timing, water-to-coffee ratio, and grind size to find your perfect formula.

What About Cold Drip Coffee Towers?

Cold drip coffee towers
Cold drip coffee towers - Edwin Tan /Getty Images

While most cold brew gadgets are mostly for convenience rather than actual quality, cold drip brew towers are a different story. These -- usually pretty expensive -- pieces of gear are actually used for an entirely different style of brewing that barely has anything to do with cold brew.

Where cold brew is a full immersion brewing method, cold drip is just a very slow pour over method that allegedly combines the best of both worlds. It's faster than making cold brew and produces a clearer coffee. It also has no extra sediment while still having that rich and less acidic flavor profile that draws people to cold brew coffees.

But where cold brew can be made in a big batch and then put away for later, cold drip coffee requires a dedicated space on your counter that may or may not be practical for many people. Most of them are visually appealing and a great conversation starter, but unless you're an incredible cold coffee aficionado who intends on having cold drip on a regular basis, these unwieldy towers are probably best left unpurchased.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.