Coffee concentrate, also known as coffee extract, is an incredibly versatile and flavorful concentrated form of coffee that can be used in a variety of drinks, baked goods, and other recipes.
Benefits of making your own coffee concentrate include:
- Customizing the coffee flavor and strength
- Saving money compared to buying premade concentrates
- Control over ingredients – no additives or preservatives
- Convenience – concentrate keeps for up to 2 weeks refrigerated
Coffee concentrate can be made using either cold brew or hot brew methods. The cold brew process steeps ground coffee in room temperature or cool water for 12-24 hours, resulting in a smooth low-acid concentrate. Hot brew methods like French press or percolator produce a richer, bolder concentrate in less time.
This article “How to make coffee concentrate” will provide step-by-step instructions for making, diluting, and storing cold brew and hot brew coffee concentrates at home. Topics covered include:
- Choosing coffee beans – coffee variety, roast type, grind size
- Brewing methods – immersion, cold drip, French press, percolator
- Coffee-to-water ratios – experiment for desired strength
- Storage – refrigeration, freezing, shelf life
- Diluting – water, milk, ice for drinks
- Recipes – flavored concentrates, cocktails, baked goods
Follow along to learn the secrets of making smooth, flavorful DIY coffee concentrates to enhance your morning brew!
Key Takeaways: How to Make Coffee Concentrate
|Coffee concentrate is a strong, concentrated form of coffee that can be diluted and used in drinks, baking, cocktails, etc.|
|Cold brew and hot brew methods can be used to make coffee concentrate at home.|
|For cold brew, use an immersion or cold drip method. For hot brew, use a French press, moka pot, or percolator.|
|Use a medium or dark roast coffee and coarsely grind the beans.|
|Follow recipe guides for ideal coffee-to-water ratios, brew times, and temperatures.|
|Store coffee concentrate in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.|
|Dilute the concentrate with water, milk, or ice to taste. Start with a 1:1 ratio.|
|Coffee concentrate can be used creatively in iced drinks, baked goods, cocktails, etc.|
Making Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
There are two main methods for brewing cold brew coffee concentrate at home: immersion and cold drip.
The immersion method is the easiest way to make cold brew concentrate. It involves steeping the coffee grounds in water for an extended period of time.
When using the immersion method, it is important to:
- Choose the right coffee beans. Go for a medium or dark roast like a French Roast or Italian Roast. The bolder and more flavorful the bean, the better the concentrate.
- Coarsely grind the beans. Use a burr grinder if possible and set it to a medium-coarse setting. The grind should be similar in size to kosher salt. Avoid a fine grind.
- Use the proper coffee to water ratio. A good baseline ratio is 1:4 coffee to water. For example, for a 1 liter batch use 250g ground coffee and 1 liter water. The ratio can be adjusted based on preferred strength.
- Steep the grounds in water for 12-24 hours. Brew time affects flavor with longer times producing smoother, less acidic concentrates.
- Keep the brewing container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Refrigeration helps prevent overextraction.
- Strain the concentrate through a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or paper filter before use. This removes sediment.
- Dilute with water, milk, or ice to taste. The concentrate on its own is very strong.
Cold Drip Method
The cold drip method produces a lighter, cleaner tasting concentrate. It involves slowly passing water through the grounds over time and collecting the drippings.
Special cold drip coffee makers like the Yama and Toddys are available. But a simple DIY version can be made using:
- A large glass jar or pitcher filled with ground coffee
- Cheesecloth secured over the mouth with a rubber band
- An inverted container suspended above to hold and slowly release water
- A container below to collect drips
The slow, steady water flow results in a less acidic and brighter tasting concentrate than immersion brewing. The cold drip method takes longer but can produce a very flavorful concentrate.
Making Hot Coffee Concentrate
There are several methods for brewing hot coffee concentrate at home. Each method produces a concentrate with slightly different flavor characteristics.
The French press is one of the easiest ways to make a strong, full-bodied hot coffee concentrate:
- Coarsely grind your coffee beans. A medium-coarse to coarse setting is best.
- Combine the ground coffee and hot water using a ratio of around 1:4 coffee to water. For example, 60g of coffee to 240g of water.
- Steep the grounds in the hot water for 4-8 minutes. Steep time affects flavor with longer times producing bolder, more intense concentrates.
- Slowly plunge the filter to separate the grounds from the concentrate. Go slowly to prevent sediment.
- Dilute the concentrate to taste with additional hot water or steamed milk for lattes. Start with a 1:1 concentrate to water ratio.
A moka pot uses steam pressure to produce a rich, intense coffee concentrate:
- Fill the bottom chamber with water just below the valve.
- Place finely ground coffee in the middle filter basket, then tightly screw on the top chamber.
- Brew on the stovetop, letting the coffee extract into the top chamber. Remove once the gurgling sound stops.
- Dilute the freshly extracted concentrate to taste with hot water or milk.
Moka pots make a strong concentrate quickly. Use a fine espresso-style grind and freshly boiled water.
A stovetop or electric percolator continually cycles hot water through the coffee grounds:
- Place a coarse ground coffee in the removable filter basket.
- Percolate on the stovetop or in the machine. The concentrated coffee drips directly into the pot.
- Dilute the finished concentrate with hot water as needed before drinking.
Percolated coffee is very strong. Use a coarse grind and not-quite-boiling water around 190°F.
Tips for the Best Coffee Concentrate
Follow these tips to brew the highest quality and best tasting coffee concentrate:
- Coffee Beans – Use freshly roasted beans, ideally within 2 weeks of roasting. Choose a medium or dark roast like a French or Italian roast. The bolder the bean, the better the concentrate.
- Grind – Coarsely grind beans right before brewing to maximize freshness and flavor. Use a burr grinder if possible for a consistent grind.
- Water – Use filtered water to prevent mineral buildup and chlorine taste. Do not use tap water.
- Brewing Method – Follow recipe guides for ideal coffee-to-water ratios, brew times, and temperatures based on your chosen method like immersion or cold drip.
- Storage – Keep unused concentrate refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, freeze concentrate in ice cube trays.
- Diluting – Start with a 1:1 concentrate to water/milk ratio. Adjust to taste preference. Add ice for iced coffee.
- Flavoring – Consider adding spices like cinnamon or vanilla to make a flavored concentrate.
For example, use a medium-dark roast like a Sumatra blend, coarsely grind the beans, and brew using the immersion method with a 1:4 coffee to water ratio. Steep for 18-24 hours in the refrigerator before straining into an airtight mason jar. Dilute with cold milk and ice for a refreshing iced latte.
|Fresh Beans||Choose freshly roasted beans, ideally within 2 weeks of roasting. Aim for a medium or dark roast.|
|Proper Grind||Coarsely grind beans right before brewing to maximize freshness and flavor. Use a burr grinder if possible.|
|Filtered Water||Use filtered water to prevent mineral buildup and chlorine taste. Do not use tap water.|
Creative Uses for Coffee Concentrate
Coffee concentrate is incredibly versatile. Here are some creative ways to use it:
- Iced coffee drinks – Add concentrate, milk, ice for iced lattes, mochas, frappes, etc. Can be customized with flavors like vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut.
- Coffee cocktails – Use in espresso martinis, Irish coffee, coffee old fashioneds, etc. Provides rich coffee flavor.
- Baked goods – Add to recipes for muffins, cookies, cakes, tiramisu, etc. Enhances chocolate and accentuates other flavors.
- Coffee rubs – Makes a great rub for meat like steak, pork, chicken, or tofu. Provides depth of flavor when grilling.
- Coffee marinades – Marinate steak, chicken, or tempeh in coffee concentrate. Tenderizes and infuses with coffee essence.
- Coffee butter – For spreading on toast, waffles, pancakes or flavoring popcorn. Delicious coffee-infused spread.
- Coffee granita – Freeze, blend into slushy dessert. Makes an easy adult Italian ice.
- Coffee caramel sauce – Swirl into drinks or drizzle over ice cream, cheesecake, crepes, etc. Rich, bittersweet sauce.
- Coffee vinaigrette – Toss with mixed greens for salad. Brightens up greens with coffee’s acidity.
For example, make a coffee rub by combining 2 tbsp concentrate with brown sugar, chili powder, salt and pepper. Rub onto steak before grilling for incredible flavor.
|Iced Drinks||Add concentrate, milk, ice for iced lattes, mochas, frappes, etc. Can customize flavors.|
|Cocktails||Use in espresso martinis, Irish coffee, coffee old fashioneds, etc.|
|Baking||Add to muffin, cookie, cake, tiramisu recipes. Enhances chocolate.|
Making your own coffee concentrate at home is easy, affordable, and rewarding. This guide covered the key methods for brewing both cold brew and hot brew concentrates:
- Cold brew techniques like immersion and cold drip
- Hot brew methods including French press, moka pot, and percolator
Follow the tips provided to produce a smooth, highly flavorful concentrate to use in a variety of drinks, baked goods, and other recipes.
Benefits of DIY coffee concentrate:
- Customize strength and flavors
- Control ingredients – no additives
- Convenience – lasts 2 weeks refrigerated
- Cost savings – cheaper than store-bought
With some basic equipment and quality coffee beans, you can easily make barista-quality concentrates at home. Experiment with different beans, brew times, and dilution ratios to perfect your favorite concentrate.
Q1. What is coffee concentrate?
Coffee concentrate, also called coffee extract, is a highly concentrated form of coffee that can be diluted with water or milk. It has a bold, intense coffee flavor.
Q2. How is coffee concentrate made?
Coffee concentrate can be made using either cold brew methods like immersion or cold drip, or hot brew methods like French press, moka pot, or percolator. The key is using more coffee grounds to water.
Q3. What’s the difference between cold brew and hot brew concentrates?
Cold brew concentrates tend to be smoother and less acidic. Hot brew concentrates are often bolder and more intense in flavor.
Q4. What coffee beans work best?
A medium or dark roast coffee bean works best. The bolder the flavor of the bean, the better the concentrate.
Q5. How long does coffee concentrate last?
Refrigerated in an airtight container, coffee concentrate will keep for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, freeze concentrate in ice cube trays.
Q6. How do you use coffee concentrate?
Dilute the concentrate 1:1 with water, milk, or ice to make iced coffee drinks. You can also use it in cocktails, baked goods, coffee rubs, etc.
Q7. Is making your own concentrate cheaper?
Yes, making your own coffee concentrate at home can save you money compared to buying premade concentrates.
Q8. Can you flavor coffee concentrates?
Yes, you can add vanilla, spices, hazelnut, or other flavors to make a flavored coffee concentrate.
Simon is a coffee enthusiast who has spent years exploring the world of coffee. He has a deep passion for the art of brewing and enjoys experimenting with different brewing methods to create the perfect cup of coffee. His love for coffee has led him to become an expert in the field, and he is known for his meticulous attention to detail when it comes to selecting and brewing the perfect cup. Simon is also an avid traveler who loves incorporating new flavors and techniques into his brewing.