In the hot summer weather, nothing refreshes and rejuvenates a coffee lover quite like a cold-brewed coffee. It is sweet, cold, and best of all oh so simple to make – provided you can wait several hours to enjoy it, of course!
If you like your cold coffee on the creamier side, then yes, you can try cold brewing coffee with milk instead of water for a smoother, almost nuttier taste that is sure to please just about any cold brew lover out there. Can cold brew get any better?
Now, before you go rushing to your fridge to put together a batch, there are some deviations from how you would normally prepare cold brew with water. So, if you want to learn the right way to cold brew coffee with milk, read on for our guide on brewing coffee with milk.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
If you are new to the idea of cold brew coffee, then you are in for a treat! Cold brew coffee is usually made by steeping coarse coffee grounds in water for anywhere from 12-24 hours. After that time, you just filter out the coffee grounds and serve cold or even hot. “Cold brew” simply refers to the way that the coffee drink is made – you can drink it however you like!
When cold brewing coffee you are typically making a coffee concentrate, so you do not want to drink it straight as it will be both very strong and very caffeinated. Instead, you want to dilute it with either milk or water. How much you want to dilute it is up to you and your tastes, but some people seem to like a 1:1 ratio, where you mix one part cold brew concentrate with one part milk or water.
What you end up with is a smoother, almost sweeter, and less acidic coffee than your typical hot brewing method. It tends to be easier on the stomach and sweet enough to the point that you may not need to add sugar, so if you are trying to cut that out of your diet you may want to give the cold brew a try!
How is Cold Brewing Coffee with Milk Different from Cold Brewing Coffee with Water?
It comes down to the fat content of the milk, as there is no fat in water. Coffee has two elements that are brought out during brewing, namely hydrophilic (like caffeine and high notes) and hydrophobic (like oils and bitter notes). The fat in the milk breaks down these hydrophobic parts much faster than if you use water.
So, if you leave your cold brew coffee steeping as long as you normally would when making it with water, you will end up with a bitter-tasting coffee. This is why it is important to use a significantly shorter steeping time when you are cold brewing coffee with milk.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee with Milk
The process of cold brewing coffee with milk is quite similar to cold brewing coffee with water, but there are a few key differences if you want to do it right!
Step 1: Gather your supplies.
- Long spoon or stick (for stirring)
- French press OR large mason jar*
*OR, if you really love your cold brew, consider investing in a cold brew coffee maker. Check out our list of the best cold brew coffee makers.
Step 2: Grind your coffee beans.
While you can use pre-ground coffee, for best results coarsely grind your own coffee beans. The coarseness of the grind is important, as if you use too fine of a grind, you may end up over-extracting your coffee, resulting in a bitter coffee flavor. If you haven’t bought a grinder yet, take a look at our list of the best burr coffee grinders.
Similar to when you are cold brewing with water, there are a lot of different ratios of ground coffee beans to milk that you can use, so you may have to experiment a bit to find which ratio works best for your cold brew preferences. A popular option for a cold brew concentrate is 1:4, as you can always dilute it to taste when it is done. For example, if you want to make 4 cups of cold brew, put in about 1 cup of ground coffee and 4 cups of milk.
Step 3: Add about half of the milk to the brewer.
This is where cold brewing with milk differs a bit from cold brewing with water. Now, you do not necessarily have to do this, but it will help ensure that all of your grounds are properly steeping in the milk.
Here, you will want to add at least half of the milk to your brewer of choice BEFORE the coffee grounds. Since milk is thicker than water, it helps to separate it to ensure it gets fully absorbed by the grounds.
Step 4: Add coarsely ground coffee, then the rest of the milk. Stir.
Use your stick or long spoon to stir, ensuring that all of the grounds are wet from the milk.
Step 5: Refrigerate. Let steep 8-10 hours.
This is another area where cold brewing with milk is different than cold brewing with water. While you can let your cold brew steep at room temperature when making it with water, you should not leave milk out on your counter for such a long time.
Clear out some room in your refrigerator and let your cold brew steep in there for about 8-10 hours. Remember, you need to use a shortened steeping time when cold brewing with milk, otherwise you will likely end up with bitter coffee.
Step 6: Filter and serve.
After you have waited 8-10 hours, you can filter the grounds out of your cold brew coffee. If you are using a French press, simply press down on the plunger until you have squeezed every last drop out of the grounds.
If you find that your French press does not strain it enough, or if you are using a mason jar, then try using a paper coffee filter inside of a sieve. Just line the sieve with the filter and place it on top of a pitcher. When all of the liquid has dripped through the filter, you are ready to dilute with your liquid of choice and serve!
Step 7: Store.
If you have made a large batch of cold brew concentrate with milk, store the rest of it in the fridge in a container with a lid to keep it fresher for longer.
The Final Cup
If you like a creamier, smoother take on cold brew, then you have to try cold brewing coffee with milk. Plus, it is a great way to get some extra nutrients into your system, whether you are getting them from cow’s milk or one of the many milk alternatives like almond milk. Feel free to experiment with different flavors for even more variety – your perfect cold brew coffee with milk awaits!
How do you find cold brewing coffee with milk? Do you love it or hate it? Have you tried cold brewing coffee with milk before? Share your thoughts in the comments below.