Using Fine Ground Coffee For Cold Brew

fine ground coffee in a white cup

I know we’re supposed to use coarse ground coffee for cold brew. But what if I only have fine grounds? Besides, I like fine coffee grounds to extract every bit of soluble coffee I can get. Won’t the same apply to cold brew?

Using fine ground coffee for a cold brew can lead to over extraction and bitterness because of high acidity. Decrease the cold brewing time by 25 to 50% when using finely ground beans, this can be anywhere from 6 to 16 hours. Less coffee is required for a cold brew when using a fine ground.

Coarse ground coffee is more appropriate for the normal 12 to 24 hours cold brew because the water has plenty of time to draw the flavors out.

However, some people like the taste of “over extracted” grounds. (We just call it strong coffee) Maybe you only have fine ground coffee on hand. Waiting a little longer for it to drip through your filters will be worth it if there’s no alternative.

I like to experiment and break the rules to make my own “self informed” decisions. So let’s look at the best way to make a cold brew with fine ground beans.

Advice On Making Cold Brew With Fine Ground Coffee

Before I get into the exact step-by-step process, there are a few pro tips I should share with you for cold brewing with fine grounds. There are even a couple of advantages.

Don’t do a warm water brewing boost with fine ground.

A warm water boost involves pouring warm water, around 110 to 120°F, over the grounds before adding cold water and refrigerating. The idea is to extract a bit more flavor without attracting too much acidity. But you’re using fine grinds, so you’ll get plenty of flavor without a warm water boost.

Don’t grind your beans for too long.

If you grind the beans the way you normally do, you’re going to heat them up in the process. Since this is a cold brew, which will have plenty of time to extract the flavor, any heating is not required and must be avoided.

Grind the beans for 1 second at a time with a 2 or 3 second break in between. This sounds tedious, but it won’t take long to get the fine grind you’re looking for.

Use fine grind cloth filters.

I suppose this is an obvious tip but I want to have it here to remind you to get fine grind filters if you don’t have any. Cloth and paper fine grind filters are going to work the best to keep the grounds out of your cup. Even though they’re going to clog up quickly, it will be worth it in the end.

Reduce the brewing time.

If you don’t want an extra strong cold brew, reduce the brewing times. This is one of the big advantages of using fine ground coffee for a cold brew. You can prepare it before you go to bed and it can be ready in 6 to 8 hours when you wake up. If the grounds are stale, it might need 12 hours to get all the flavor out.

Reduce the amount of grounds.

The other advantage of fine grounds is that they result in a stronger brew because there is more coffee coming into direct contact with the water. So you can decrease the amount of coffee you add by at least 10 to 20%, especially if you plan to brew for over 12 hours.

Don’t stir the grounds after brewing

Fine grounds are tricky to filter out, even with a fine grind filter. To reduce the amount of grounds that land up in your cup, don’t stir the coffee after it’s brewed, just pour it gently through your filter into another container. You can also stop pouring just before you reach the bulk of the grounds at the bottom.

How to Make Cold Brew With Fine Ground Coffee

  1. Add 100 grams of fine ground coffee into a 1 liter pitcher or larger.
  2. Add 4 cups, or around 900 grams of water to the pitcher.
  3. Stir the contents slowly for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for 8 to 16 hours.
  5. Decant the coffee through a fine grind cloth filter and into another container.
  • Serve over ice.
  • Dilution with water in addition to the ice is optional.
  • Adding milk is optional.

An 8 to 16 hour cold brew?

This is a basic formula for preparing cold brew coffee with fine grounds, but you can play with the brewing times to suit your preference. Fine grinds release solubles quickly, but I like a strong cup of coffee, even if it’s cold brewed. So I leave it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, sometimes for a couple of days and I’ve never been disappointed. I also enjoy mine with milk which is another reason why I like to brew for longer.

What about sugar?

You can certainly add sweeteners to your taste, sometimes I like to add a spoon of honey to mine, although it takes some time to dissolve, it gives it a unique taste. There are quite a few people who prefer to drink cold brew coffee without sweeteners because it doesn’t really have the bitter taste that hot brewed coffee does.

If you find it to be too strong or bitter, go from 16 hours to 10 and evaluate it again until you find your preference. Just keep in mind that the strength is also dependent on the type of coffee and the freshness thereof, so judge accordingly.

Conclusion

Fine ground coffee can work well for a cold brew, as long as you don’t treat it like coarse ground coffee. Reduce your brewing times, use fine grind filters, don’t use warm water, and don’t use too much coffee grounds.

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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