Because of it’s higher caffeine content, cold-brewed coffee is rarely used on its own. Instead, it’s mixed with water or milk and enjoyed any number of ways. Here’s a look at some of the ways cold-brew concentrate is used to make many different coffee beverages.
Concentrate for Cold (Not Iced) Coffee
Perhaps the most common way cold-brew is enjoyed is as cold coffee. (Cold coffee shouldn’t be confused with iced coffee, which is brewed hot and then cooled with ice.) Mixed with cold water, the cold-brew concentrate creates a smooth, refreshing chilled beverage. Of course, it can also be combined with milk for a richer version of cold coffee.
Concentrate for Hot Coffee
Cold-brew can also mixed with hot water to create a warm cup of coffee. Although this may be less common than combining it with cold water or milk, making hot coffee with a cold-brew concentrate has its uses. First, cold-brews are typically less acidic than traditionally brewed hot coffee, so people whose stomachs can’t handle most coffees may be able to enjoy a cup made from a cold-brew concentrate. Second, when several people would like either hot or cold coffee, the same concentrate can be used to make both.
Base for Ready-to-Drink Beverages
Cold-brew’s strong flavor easily cuts through milk, which makes it an ideal base for many ready-to-drink beverages. At stores and cafes, many of the pre-made bottled coffee drinks you enjoy have cold-brew concentrate in them. (Other bases that companies use include espresso and instant coffee.)
New Orleans Style Cold-Brew Coffee
New Orleans has its own twist on cold-brewed coffee. During the steeping phase, which typically lasts 12 hours, the grounds are combined with chicory. The chicory provides the taste that New Orleans has become known for. Once the concentrates ready, it’s combined with milk and sweetener — and plenty of both. The resulting beverage is perhaps the sweetest, richest and creamiest way cold-brew coffee is used.
Unless you plan on pulling an all-nighter for an exam, we don’t recommend drinking cold-brewed coffee on its own. Instead, try using it to make cold, hot or New Orleans-style coffee, or just know it’s in your pre-made bottled coffee. There are many ways to enjoy it, and these won’t keep you up all night.