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Cold brewing coffee without grinding

I was recently told that I can cold brew coffee using just whole beans with no need to grind. This doesn't sound right to me, and I can't find any information on this method. Just wanted to see if anyone here has heard of anything like this.

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  1. Nope. The hot water, I theorize, softens and aids in the release of the beans goodness.

    there are such things as cold brew teas but those are specially processed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BettinaAuSucre

      You are wrong sir. Hot water process for cold brew coffee increases the acidity to unbearable levels. The trick to cold brew coffee is to never heat the coffee. Now since the question revolved around whether it's possible use whole beans or not, lets stick to the subject at hand...

    2. I don't know about whole bean,but here is a method of cold brewing coffee

      Please note that this method works better with robusta beans then arabica.

      1. Um ... because some of us thinks it produces a better cup of coffee? I personally like cold brew a whole lot better than the traditional method (and cancer be damned).

        I've never heard of a cold brew with whole beans, but you don't need to grind your beans that fine to do a cold brew. I usually just give a few good buzz instead of doing the smaller grind necessary for the old percolator.

        1. After receiving a bottle of "Cool Brew" as a gift I tried making my own. Don't get me wrong, Cool Brew made delicious iced coffee but was expensive to purchase and ultimately making my own cold brew was simple.

          Not grinding the beans would produce dark water not coffee. What would be released from a tightly sealed bean?

          I grind robust beans at a french press setting and soak the grinds in cool water overnight. Strained of the grind in the morning, I wind up with a dark concentrate of coffee that I then dilute with water, cream, vanilla syrup, ice. A weeks worth of iced tea from one 8 cup french press.

          5 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            A weeks worth of iced tea from one 8 cup french press.
            My bad, I meant to say a weeks worth of iced COFFEE... :)

            1. re: HillJ

              how many beans--same qty that you would normally grind for the regular volume of water? sounds interesting. Is this like 'Toddy'?

              I've been double-dripping my coffee. Coarse grind, soak groundswith about 1/3 c heated water, then after 1 minute, pour rest of hot water over, then pour dripped coffee back through grounds. M-M good. nice & rich.

              1. re: toodie jane

                hi toodie jane, what a nice eco-friendly coffee method you have going! I use the spent grounds as mulch in the garden.

                eta: There is a woman on a CHOW Tips video recommending old coffee grounds as a facial scrub....I'd be too afraid to tear up my skin doing that!

                As for the grind quantity, yes!, same as I would measure out for the completed iced coffees total liquid volume. I am basically making a strong coffee sluree which is then completed with the addition of water, cream, vanilla syrup to make my iced coffee. Then served with ice cubes.

            2. re: HillJ

              I used to LOVE Cool Brew, but can't get it now that I've from away from Louisiana (unless I order it online). I've started making my old cold-brewed coffee as well, and I'm pretty happy with it.
              I'm an iced coffee addict, especially with the warmer weather coming, so I make a half pitcher at a time. For every cup of ground coffee (currently I'm using French Roast), I add 3 cups of cold water and let it sit for 12 hours. It's pretty good.

              1. re: MyySharona

                Agree on all counts MyySh! Lots of flexibility with a home cold brew too. I've enjoyed adding the flavored syrups to change it up a bit. Or I add the syrups to the ice cube tray as a variation.

            3. Hmmm ... an April Fool's joke?
              Unless you have a very large of money
              to waste, you should listen no further
              to whoever told you this.

              It would take a very large amount of beans
              to give you more than slightly flavored

              1. quite amazing that someone would tell you that, because someone recently told me the same thing. as a cold brewed coffee aficionado, i felt obligated to learn more through experiment :) here are my findings:

                using dark roast beans and soaking them for 12 hours at room temperature resulted in a beverage that i found enjoyable. it was amber colored rather than black, but had some of the flavor of coffee, as well as some amount of caffeine judging by its effects on me. i postulate that it contains a lot of the oils from the beans, since in a dark roast these are brought to the surface.

                i then dried the beans out in order to grind them and then put them in for another 12 hour soak. my reasoning was that i would be able to tell which components of the coffee are extractable by using the whole bean and which require grinding. the resulting beverage looked just like coffee, but tasted slightly stale. this might be due to the drying process and could possibly be circumvented by grinding the beans wet in a mortar, which would be adequate since a coarse grind is desirable anyway. this beverage also still contained caffeine, but as for the relative amount in each batch, i couldn't say.

                so there you have it. i would recommend trying the whole bean brewing, because the result is quite tasty, and quite different from regularly brewed coffee. on the other hand, i would not adopt it as my default method because it does waste a lot of what i like in coffee. more experiments need to be performed, such as the wet grinding mentioned above, as well as using whole beans in hot brewing. also, i would expect different results if not using dark roast.

                i hope this helps :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: dollardeth

                  Well done, dollardeth. I think there's a job waiting for you at Cook's Illustrated.

                2. I think this would work with whole beans. I think the key is to look at this more of a long term infusion rather than a "Cold-brew"

                  The main thing is to make sure the beans soak long enough. 12 hours is simply not enough time for the beans to be in the water. I think using whole beans to aim for a 30-day soak. My recipe would look as follws:

                  In a one-quart Mason Jar or Nalgene Bottle combine:
                  1/2 cup of whole coffee beans
                  1 cinnamon stick
                  1 whole vanilla bean
                  Fill jar with water leaving about 2" to allow for agitating the brew.

                  Refrigerate for 30-days agitating daily.

                  I idea is that the long brew extracts the entire flavor profile. Some of the oils of the bean will be released using this process. The long soak time also will soften up the beans and the coffee will be easy to strain when the brew is complete.

                  This is all theory of course. I'll let you know how it turns out.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Zerooks

                    Noticing that Zerooks never posted on CH again. Wonder if it was all the pathogens that grew in the water over that month of soaking? RIP, Z.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Hahaha!! That was a seriously whacko idea for making cold brew.... (That i would never in a million years drink!)