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How to Make Decaf Cold Brew Coffee (Simple Steps)

Cold Brew

If you’ve been drinking coffee for a while, the chances are high that you’ve experienced a late afternoon or evening craving for coffee. Unfortunately, most people can’t drink coffee late in the day without being up all night, and even if you’re not overly sensitive to caffeine, experts say that drinking coffee after 3pm can disrupt your sleep. So what should you do if you suddenly have an insatiable craving for coffee late in the day?

Make decaf is the obvious answer, but decaf coffee has a bad reputation for being bitter, harsh, and nothing like regular coffee. Luckily, it is possible to make delicious decaf coffee if you know what to look for. In this article, we’re going to teach you how to make tasty, silky smooth decaf cold brew. We’ll take you through all the steps you need to follow to brew a batch of decaf cold brew and explain why we prefer cold brew for crushing late afternoon coffee cravings.

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Why Decaf Cold Brew?

Many people love cold brew, so it’s natural to wonder if decaf cold brew captures the smooth texture and sweetness that regular cold brew lovers seek. It can, but to get the most out of decaf cold brew, you have to purchase high-quality decaf whole beans. Even the most discerning coffee drinkers may be surprised by how good quality decaf can be. This is usually because their main exposure to decaf comes from that one stale bag of decaf they keep in the closet for when they have company.

There is another reason that we prefer decaf cold brew: convenience. We prefer caffeinated coffee, like most people, but it’s nice to have decaf coffee ready to go when a late afternoon craving hits. With cold brew, you can make a large batch of cold brew concentrate that lasts up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Whenever the craving hits, we can just crack open the jar and have coffee in seconds. Regular decaf coffee doesn’t keep as long as cold brew concentrate, meaning we’d have to go through a full brew cycle whenever we want a late-night coffee.

SEE ALSO: 5 Surprising Health Benefits of Decaf Coffee

Decaf Cold Brew Preliminaries

Before we describe our favorite recipe, there are a few things you need to get right before the grounds even hit the water. Decaf coffee is only as good as the beans you use, just like regular coffee. If you buy the cheapest decaf beans your local grocery store has, you shouldn’t be surprised when the coffee you make doesn’t come out great.

Cold Brew
Image Credit By: Wade Austin Ellis, unsplash

Start by purchasing whole decaf beans from a reputable roaster. If you’ve bought specialty coffee directly from a roaster before, look for decaf options they might sell. The best way to ensure you get high-quality decaf beans is by buying from a well-known roaster you have experience with.

Just because you’re making decaf doesn’t mean you should settle for low-quality beans. Many people are surprised how good decaf coffee can taste when it’s made properly with expertly roasted beans. Freshness and roast evenness are just as important for decaf beans as they are for regular beans.

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Decaf Cold Brew Recipe

  • 50 g decaf whole bean coffee
  • 350 g of room temperature water

1. Weigh the coffee and water.

Use the scale to weigh 50 g of coffee and 350 g of water. This is a cold brew concentrate recipe, so use a higher coffee to water ratio than you normally would.

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2. Grind the coffee.

Cold brew requires coarse ground coffee. If you’re familiar with French press grind size, use a slightly larger grind for cold brew.

3. Combine the coffee and water.

Add the ground coffee and water to your brewing vessel. Stir the mixture to ensure all the grounds are wet.

4. Wait 16 hours.

Let the cold brew steep for 16 hours at room temperature.

french press brewing


5. Strain the coffee.

If you’re using a French press, you can use the plunger to separate the grounds from the cold brew. If you’re using another type of container, you can use an ordinary kitchen strainer.

6. Filter the cold brew.

Even though you’ve already separated the grounds from the coffee, fine sediment might be left suspended in the coffee. Slowly pour the cold brew through a paper filter to remove any small particles left behind by the strainer. This step is essential if you want to keep your cold brew in the fridge for several days.

Cold Brew coffee
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

7. Store in the fridge.

If you’re not going to drink all of the cold brew at once, make sure you keep it in the refrigerator. Cold brew concentrate stays good for up to two weeks when you keep it refrigerated.

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Decaf cold brew can be just as sweet and smooth as regular cold brew if you use top-notch specialty beans. We like to keep a batch of cold brew on hand for whenever we get a hankering for some coffee late in the day. Making a decaf cold brew concentrate is the perfect way to make sure you always have a delicious supply of decaf coffee available whenever the coffee mood strikes.


Image Credit: Anshu A, Unsplash


Sean Brennan

Sean’s obsession with coffee started when he received his first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, his love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets he owns – has grown considerably. A scientist by training, there is no stone he has left unturned in the never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee. He has spent many hours tuning his pour-over technique, thinking about how to best compare grind quality, and worrying about whether the Nicaraguan or Kenyan beans will make the best cold brew. These days he favors the Hario V60, and starts each day by hand grinding his coffee before enjoying a cup prepared with care and attention to detail.

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