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Cold brew coffee is not the same thing as iced coffee. You make iced coffee by either filling a jug with ice and pouring hot brewed coffee into the jug with the ice to cool the coffee, or by cooling the coffee and adding ice when ready to serve.
While this is a delicious, enjoyable caffeine beverage, many coffee drinkers will agree that it doesn’t quite match up to the masterful coffee art called cold brew coffee.
If you aren’t familiar with cold brew coffee, this article will take you through the ins and outs you need to know. More importantly though, we will take a look at how to bottle cold brew coffee.
You may want to do this so you can take it to work or on picnics, or you may want to share it with your friends or sell it. No matter which, we will send you on the right path.
Cold Brewing Coffee Process
The process of making cold brew coffee is actually surprisingly easy considering the amazing result it produces. You only need simple equipment items like a pitcher or jar with a lid, a strainer or sieve, and some cheesecloth.
1. Grind Your Beans Based on Your Intended Cold Brew Ratio
Grind your favorite dark or medium roast coffee beans to a medium-coarse to coarse grind on your grinder.
Depending on how much you want to brew, take a look at our article here to understand the best cold brew ratio for your carafe.
You'll need to be aware of how much grounds you will need before you begin, so don't skip this step.
2. Add the Grounds
Place the coffee grounds into a large pitcher or jug and pour cold or room temperature water in as well. Stir the water and grounds vigorously for a minute or two until the grounds have blended properly.
This is called "blooming the coffee" which entails allowing your beans to properly soak up the water instead of simply floating to the top.
3. Cold Brew Steep Time
You should then allow the grounds and water to steep for 12 to 24 hours depending on how strong you want the coffee to be. The longer you steep, the stronger it will be, but be careful not to steep it for too long or else your batch may develop mold.
4. Filter Your Batch
Line your strainer or sieve with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and place it over another jug or a large bowl. Alternatively, you can choose from the many coffee filter types that exist for this step.
5. Store it in the Refrigerator
Does cold brew go bad? Yes it can. This coffee concentrate will last for around 7 to 14 days in your refrigerator and no more than a week if you plan to add ingredients after the fact.
It can be used to make a delicious glass of iced coffee or you can add hot water and make a cup of low acid, rich coffee.
If you want to be really creative, you can also add the cold brew to baking and cooking for a coffee kick.
Once the brew has been strained, made into cold brew coffee, and refrigerated, you could bottle the cold brew coffee to share with your friends, take to work, or sell.
A Few Points About Cold Brew Coffee
Making your cold brew coffee really is as simple as allowing your coarse ground coffee beans to slowly cold brew in room temperature or cold water for 12 to 24 hours.
The immersion process allows you to create a strong, low acid coffee concentrate that cannot be achieved using hot brew methods.
Once you have done the immersion process, you can use the coffee concentrate to make your cold brew coffee. This requires you to mix it with water, milk, or a combination of both.
To make your coffee more unique and personalized to your taste, you can also add milk substitutes, sugar, coffee creamers, cream, and syrups.
Cold brew coffee has long been popular in Japan and has recently become much more trendy in Western countries, especially North America. Coffee drinkers with a sensitive stomach can enjoy cold brew coffee as it is much less acidic than normal coffee or iced coffee.
In fact, coffee fanatics state that cold brew coffee is the smoothest coffee you will ever drink. You can easily produce large batches of the concentrate and then dilute it to your taste.
And if you are wanting to start a cold brew coffee company, you can easily make enough to sell without much trouble.
How to Bottle Cold Brew Coffee
If you decide that you want to bottle your cold brew coffee for selling or easy transport, you will be glad to know that the process is actually really simple.
You just need to purchase the coffee bottles and caps that you would like to use (preferably glass as it is more environment-friendly), and pour your cold brew into the bottle once it has been prepared. Check this out on Amazon to get an idea for what we'd recommend.
When bottling cold brew, consider how you would like to use the bottle afterward.
You could easily recycle an old milk jug or twist bottle, but if you are sharing it, consider how most of us favor drinking cold brew with a straw. Alternatively, look into glass sauce bottles or flasks.
They store well in the fridge, taking up very little space. This is how the best cold brew coffee makers in the world got their start.
Just remember that if you mix the cold brew coffee with cream or milk, it must be consumed within 3 days, whereas cold brew coffee without dairy keeps for up to 14 days.
Bottling your cold brew coffee allows you to share your own personal blend with friends and family members, as well as sell it to coffee aficionados who enjoy a delicious cold brew coffee.
Keep Your Bottles Clean
Sanitation is of the utmost importance if you plan to share your creation with others.
Use a cleaner like Star San, which is common in homebrewing to keep your containers clean and free from germs and mold.
Once you've cleaned your bottles, allow them to dry before capping. Store your dried bottles in a dark and dry place until you're ready to use them.
How to Keg Cold Brew Coffee
If you plan on brewing large batches that last longer than the typical 2 week period, consider a kegging solution.
While most cold brew enthusiasts associate kegging cold with nitro cold brew, you can actually prepare your keg in a way that uses the nitrogen gas to propel still cold brew coffee from a tap without infusing it.
Kegging Cold Brew for Nitro
If you want to try your hand at kegging for nitro cold brew, consider either a small keg to start with or you'll need refrigeration that's large enough to hold the keg.
From this point, you can market your nitro coffee keg(s) as a service you offer to local businesses or bars which have taps already in place.
Building Your Cold Brew Kegging Business
When you sell your cold brew kegs to offices or local businesses, you'll need to secure a few partnerships beforehand.
You'll either need to purchase or create your own kegerators, partner with a service that provides kegerators which fit your kegs, or private label your refrigeration solution so that your kegs remain cold.
You can use either N2 or N2O gasses for creating nitro cold brew. The best solution for commercial purposes is to partner with a Nitrogen gas supplier in your area to fill and refill your nitrogen tanks. These companies can also provide nitrogen tanks in various sizes for your business.
Suppose you'll have more than one client. Then having more than a few available kegs is necessary to keep up with your demand. You can either purchase kegs of all sizes to meet your needs, or stick with a standard size keg for your business.
Regulators, Hoses, Conversion Kits
These days, it is very difficult to locate ready-built nitrogen keg dispensing solutions. You may need to get creative and use existing homebrew beer options, and just swap out the gases, hoses and taps to support nitrogen.
Commercializing Your Cold Brew with Cans
Suppose you are really successful with your cold brew brand that you'd like to consider distributing your bottles or cans to stores for sale.
You'll need to first make sure you meet all guidelines required for distributing refrigerated goods in your area. This may require research into FDA requirements for labeling, expiration dates, and additional manufacturing.
I also need to make a disclaimer here that this information is not legal advice. You'll need to do your due diligence when it comes to meeting the regulations your government has in place for this sort of business.
Hiring a lawyer for a consultation is a great idea to better understand what is needed for your to do everything legally.
Do it Yourself
At this point, you can look into bottling machines and canning machines to seal your brews before distributing. In addition to sealing your bottles and cans, you'll need labelling to build your brand.
You'll also need a manufacturing space in a sanctioned part of your town which allows you to operate the necessary equipment you'll need.
Given all the stuff a startup needs to be successful, it may make more sense to partner with a manufacturer.
Partner with Manufacturers
Instead of trying to do everything yourself, consider partnering with a company that offers white-label services to their existing bottling operation.
Many companies do this successfully, and it is a great way to minimize costs.
All you'll need to do is contact a bottling / canning company, develop a relationship with the representatives of that company, and discuss how you can provide a win-win solution that will increase the value of their production or reduce their costs by adding in your volume.
Once you've solidified an agreement, use non-disclosures and other contracts to protect yourself from litigation, should the partnership sour, and share your recipe with the manufacturer.
Now, with the capabilities of your partnership, you can now reach out to stores with confidence that you can meet their customer demands for your product.
Whether you are bottling cold brew for yourself or for others, remember that as you scale, so will your costs. Try to keep your operation small as you test the waters, and only scale up once you have a demand for it.
Bottling your cold brew coffee allows you to share your own personal blend with friends and family members, as well as sell it to coffee aficionados who enjoy a delicious cold brew and nitro coffee.