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Cold brew: history, tips and homemade recipes

What is cold brew?

Cold brew is a coffee brewing method that has gained in popularity in recent years.

Unlike traditional coffee brewing methods, which use hot water, cold brew involves infusing coarsely ground coffee in cold water over a long period (usually 12 to 24 hours). This slow infusion gently extracts the coffee's aromas and soluble compounds, producing a drink with a distinctive taste.

It is then usually served with ice, milk or a vegetable drink, and can even be topped up with chocolate sauce or caramel syrup, for example, for a more gourmet drink. Cold brew is a popular summer coffee!

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The history of cold brew

The origins of cold brew probably go back several centuries. The earliest traces are thought to come from Japan in the 17th century, where it was known as "Kyoto-Style Coffee" because of its association with the city of Kyoto, but also as "Dutch coffee" since it was Dutch traders who exported the drink to the continent.

To prepare cold brew, the Japanese immersed whole coffee beans in water to release their bitter flavors and oils. They then used the same slow drip brewing systems as those used to brew their tea. Brewing coffee over a long period of time produced a smooth, tasty beverage.

In Cuba, between 1920 and 1950, the inhabitants used an extremely fine coffee grind, which they flooded several times with fresh water before filtering the resulting infusion.

Then, in the early 60s, American inventor Todd Simpson, a nursery owner and chemical engineer, invented the toddy tool used for extraction. An avid cook, he discovered filter coffee on a trip to South America, which he decided to reproduce at home. With his wife suffering from stomach problems, and unable to drink such acidic coffee, "Toddy" sought and found a solution: the acidity present in the coffee diminished as the brewing temperature of the water dropped. Over 65% of the acidity is eliminated. He also found, among other things, a pH of 6.31 (close to neutral) for a cold-brew coffee, compared with an average of 5 for a hot-brew coffee, thus establishing the first variables of the cold-brew method as we know it today.

Today, cold brew has become fashionable and is consumed just about everywhere in the world.

Why is cold brew so popular?

The modern craze for cold brew began in the early 2000s, particularly in the United States. Coffee lovers began to appreciate the sweetness and low acidity of cold brew, as well as its richer, less bitter flavor compared to traditional hot-brewed coffee. The drink attracted the attention of coffee lovers, baristas and specialty coffee shops, who began to offer cold brew on their menus.

Several factors contributed to its popularity.

First of all, it offers a refreshing alternative to hot coffee drinks, making it a popular summertime alternative to flavored waters or iced teas.

What's more, it's often considered a milder, more accessible beverage for those unaccustomed to the strong taste of traditional coffee.

It has also benefited from the general trend towards alternative brewing methods and the search for new taste experiences in the coffee world. Coffee lovers became curious and were attracted by the possibility of exploring new flavors and brewing techniques.

Which coffee to choose for a home cold brew?

Choosing the right coffee to brew a homemade cold brew depends largely on your personal preferences. However, here are a few characteristics to take into account when selecting a coffee for your cold brew.

First of all, its roast. Medium- to dark-roasted coffees are generally recommended for cold brew. They can bring richer, more intense flavors to your cold brew.

Then look for a coffee with a flavor profile that matches your preferences. Some coffees may have more chocolate notes, others may be more fruity or floral. Experiment with different coffees to discover which you like best in your cold brew.

Choose freshly roasted coffee beans. The freshness of the coffee will have a significant impact on the final taste of the cold brew. So take coffees with a recent roasting date, minimum one week (no less) up to one month, and avoid beans that have been exposed to air for a prolonged period.

The grind of your coffee is also very important. Make sure you use a coarse grind, to ensure a smooth, even extraction during cold brewing.

Finally, the origin of your coffee will play a role. Coffees from different parts of the world can offer unique flavor profiles. For example, coffees from South America may have sweeter, chocolatier notes, while coffees from East Africa may be more fruity and floral. So all you have to do is explore different origins to discover the ones that suit your tastes.

It's also worth noting that some coffees are specifically labelled as being suitable for cold brew. These coffees can be roasted to bring out the specific flavours when cold brewed.

Our homemade cold brew recipe


  • 170 to 200 grams ground coffee (coarse grind)
  • 1 liter filtered water



Start by grinding your coffee coarsely. Make sure the coffee beans are of uniform size for even extraction.


Pour the ground coffee into a container or carafe.


Slowly add the filtered water to the ground coffee. Make sure to saturate all the coffee evenly by pouring the water in circular motions. Make sure all the coffee is well submerged.


Cover the container with a lid or cling film and place in the fridge.


Leave the coffee to brew in the fridge for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours for a more intense infusion.


Once the brewing time has elapsed, remove the carafe from the fridge and filter the coffee. Use a paper coffee filter, cloth filter or fine sieve to remove the ground coffee beans.


Once filtered, you can dilute the cold brew with cold water or milk, as you prefer. You can also add ice cubes to make it even more refreshing, and spice it up with syrup or sauce.


Serve your cold brew in a glass with ice cubes, if desired, and enjoy!

Feel free to adjust the proportions of coffee and water to suit your taste. You can also experiment with different types of coffee to obtain different flavours.

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Our tips for an excellent cold brew


Choose quality coffee

Choose freshly roasted, high-quality coffee. The freshness of the coffee beans will have a significant impact on the final taste of the cold brew.


A coarse grind

Use a coarse coffee grind for optimum extraction. Too fine a grind can result in a bitter taste and sediment deposits in your beverage. Don't hesitate to buy a coffee grinder for freshly ground coffee!


The coffee/water ratio

For a balanced cold brew, use a coffee/water ratio of around 1:8 to 1:10. For example, for 100 grams of coffee, use 800 to 1000 ml of water.


Use filtered water

As you've often heard, the quality of your water is essential for excellent coffee. After all, coffee is 99% water! So use good quality filtered water to prepare your cold brew. This will help remove impurities and improve the taste of your beverage.


Brewing time

Leave the coffee to brew for a sufficiently long period to extract its full aroma. A brewing time of 12 to 24 hours is generally recommended for a tasty cold brew.


Brewing at room temperature

You can also opt for room-temperature brewing instead of refrigeration. In this case, leave the coffee to brew at room temperature for around 4 to 8 hours. This can result in a slightly different flavor profile. Give it a try!


Efficient filtration

Make sure you use a high-quality filter to effectively remove ground coffee beans. You can use a paper coffee filter, a cloth filter or a fine strainer for this step.


Proper storage

Once you've filtered your cold brew, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It can be kept for around 4 to 5 days without losing too much flavor.


Personalize your cold brew!

Feel free to add extra ingredients to personalize your cold brew. You can experiment with syrups, spices, milk or milk substitutes, depending on your preferences.

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