5 Reasons You Should Be Using Coarse Ground Coffee for Cold Brew

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On those blistering hot days when you are sweating rivers, one of the best and most refreshing drinks is a cold brew coffee just out the refrigerator.  Or you may want to prepare your coffee ahead of time to heat up a quick brew. 

Not only do you get that familiar smooth taste, but if you are running a little low on energy (and lets face it, those hot days can really sap you dry) then a little caffeine is sure to perk you up too. It is extremely simple to prepare your own, knowing that you are going to need it in the coming days, but have you ever wondered why is it better to use coarse ground coffee for cold brew rather than fine ground coffee?

Is 24 hours too long for cold brew?

Why you should be using coarse ground coffee for cold brews

Before diving into coffee ground size, it might be important at this juncture to point out that iced coffee and cold brew are two entirely different beverages.  

Iced coffee is made in the conventional way, heated first and then allowed to cool.  Cold brew is is made by steeping coffee beans in room temperature water for 10 to 24 hours.  You can check out the recipe here.

With that being said, let me explain why you should be using coarse ground coffee for cold brew coffee.

1. Reduced bitterness

Using coarse ground coffee helps to reduce the bitterness of the resulting cold brew. Finely ground coffee isn’t typically the first choice for cold brew, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be used. In fact, finely ground coffee takes less time to steep, typically only 12 hours. If you aren’t careful, however you could end up with a cold brew that is far too bitter. Finely ground coffee can release more bitter compounds when steeped for a prolonged period. This is brought on by over-extraction. 

Coarse ground coffee, on the other hand, releases fewer bitter compounds, resulting in a smoother taste. It will taste all the more better if the beans have been newly ground, having preserved the oils and acids until the point of use.

2. Better extraction

Steeping your choice of coffee bean for the perfect cold brew is not something that should be rushed. It is the complete opposite of forcing just off-boiled water through the grounds for a quick fix. 

Cold brew steeping is a waiting game, while you soak your grounds in room temperature to lure all the goodness out. Coarse ground coffee allows for better extraction during the longer steeping process. The larger surface area of the course coffee grounds makes it easier for water to fully penetrate and extract the desired flavors and aromas trapped in the coffee beans.

Should cold brew coffee grounds be coarse or fine?

3. Easier filtration

Coarse ground coffee is far easier to filter than finely ground coffee. Water is able to completely encompass each ground, withdrawing the goodness to absolute maximum efficiency. Finely ground coffee has a tendency to pack together, restricting total extraction. The larger ground is also less likely to end up in the final product as you filter it.

4: Consistency

Coarse ground coffee produces a consistent cold brew. The larger particles ensure that the water and coffee grounds interact evenly, resulting in a consistent flavor throughout the entire batch.

5: Suitable for longer steeping

Cold brew requires a longer steeping time than hot coffee, typically between 12 to 24 hours. Coarse ground coffee can withstand this longer steeping time better than finely ground coffee, which can become overextracted and bitter.  However, if coarse coffee is left for longer than 24 hours, it too can become overextracted and bitter. 

best coarse ground coffee for cold brew

Frequently asked questions

1. What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a method of brewing coffee by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. The result is a smooth, less acidic coffee concentrate that can be served over ice or mixed with water, milk, or other flavors.

2. How is cold brew coffee different from iced coffee?

Iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee and then pouring it over ice. Cold brew coffee, on the other hand, is brewed with cold water from the start. The result is a smoother and less acidic taste, as well as a stronger coffee concentrate that can be diluted with water, milk, or other flavors.

3. Can you make cold brew coffee at home?

Yes, making cold brew coffee at home is easy as you more than likely have the ingredients already.  You need:  

  • container to steep the coffee in (french press, mason jar)
  • coarse ground coffee
  • cold water

Simply combine the coffee and water in the container, let it steep for 12 to 24 hours, and then strain the coffee concentrate.

Here is a helpful video that shows you 3 ways of making cold brew coffee at home:

4. What type of coffee should I use for cold brew?

When making cold brew coffee, it’s best to use a medium to dark roast coffee that is coarsely ground. The coffee should be fresh and high-quality to ensure the best taste.

5. Can I heat up cold brew coffee?

Yes, you can heat up cold brew coffee. However, it’s important to note that heating the coffee may alter the taste and make it more bitter

6. How long does cold brew coffee keep?

Cold brew coffee should ideally be consumed on the same day or shortly after making.  Studies have concluded that storage periods from several days to even weeks, can lead to microbial contamination which can then affect the taste of the drink. 

Cold Brew Recipe

coarse ground coffee for cold brew

Here is a simple and easy recipe for making cold brew coffee at home: 

Serves: 2


1/3 cup coarsely ground coffee 
1 1/2 cups cold water 


1. In a large jar or pitcher, combine the coarsely ground coffee and water. Stir well to make sure all the coffee grounds are fully immersed in the water.

2. Cover the jar or pitcher and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. After the brewing time has passed, strain the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the coffee grounds.

3. Transfer the cold brew to a clean jar or pitcher and store it in the refrigerator. 

4.  When you’re ready to serve, pour the cold brew over ice and dilute with water or milk to taste. 

Note: You can adjust the amount of coffee and water depending on how strong or weak you prefer your cold brew.  Also, feel free to experiment with different types of coffee beans to find your favorite flavor profile.

So there you have it!

Hopefully we’ve give you enough reasons why you should be using coarse ground coffee for cold brew coffee rather than fine ground.  

Have you tried it?  What did you think of it?  Let us know in the comments below.