Can You Make Cold Brew Coffee With Decaf Beans?

Let's be honest, a true java enthusiast will take their coffee any way they can get it: hot, iced, topped with foamy milk. But over the past few years, cold brew has earned favor amongst coffee drinkers who prefer a more chill and refreshing sip. While it may be more expensive to order from a cafe — not to mention take much longer to brew at home — fans of the method consider it more than worth it, not only due to its smoother flavor, but also because it typically packs a double whammy of caffeine.

The process requires about twice the amount of ground beans, resulting in a more concentrated and caffeinated beverage. If you're avoiding caffeine, it may not sound like the best choice. The good news, however, is that cold brew coffee can easily be made with decaf beans. The bad news? You probably won't find a decaf cold brew on the menu of your local coffee shop. But that doesn't mean you can't DIY your decaf.

How to make a decaf cold brew

To skip the caffeine of a cold brew, without missing out on the chill, smooth drinking experience that comes with it, you can simply apply the same method of making a batch, just with your favorite decaffeinated beans. Unlike regular iced coffee, which is essentially just hot brewed coffee poured over ice, cold brew is produced by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cool water for at least 12 hours. Because heat brings out the more robust and acidic flavors of coffee, using cool water tends to result in a milder and less bitter drink.

The grind and the roast of your beans matters here. Since you'll be straining the mixture before drinking, you'll want to opt for a coarse grind in order to avoid getting that sandy sediment at the bottom of your cup. You should also grab a darker roast of decaf beans as they'll hold up better during the extended brew time and infuse your drink with more flavor than lighter roast beans.

In order to make your decaf cold brew, combine a cup of (decaf) coffee grounds with four cups of cold water in a container. Stir or shake to mix. Then just cover your jar or pitcher and pop the coffee concoction in your fridge for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. Before serving, strain the coffee grounds out with cheesecloth, a paper coffee filter, or a fine mesh strainer.