Cold Brew Ratio Calculator

Created by Gabriela Diaz
Reviewed by Anna Szczepanek, PhD and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Apr 26, 2022

If you enjoy drinking coffee, you might enjoy using the cold brew ratio calculator too ☕ With this tool, you'll be able to define the amount of water and coffee grounds that you need to prepare your cold brew coffee concentrate. Hereb we'll also show you how to calculate the amount of coffee and water you need, both by hand and with our cold brew ratio calculator.

If you're not entirely sure what cold brew coffee is, or how it is different from regular hot coffee, we invite you to keep reading to find out:

  • What is cold brew coffee?
  • How much caffeine cold brew has vs. hot coffee?
  • Is cold brew less acidic than regular hot drip coffee?
  • Is there any difference in taste?

What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew is coffee that has been prepared with room temperature water instead of hot water, and so requires a steeping time of 12 to 24 hours. The ideal time is 16 hours.

This beverage contains a higher level of caffeine than regular hot drip coffee. This is because it's prepared with more coffee grounds. The usual and recommended coffee to water ratio for cold brew is 1:5, whereas, for hot drip, it is 1:17. You should therefore expect greater levels of alertness - to learn more, visit our coffee kick calculator

Those who enjoy this type of coffee talk about the smoother and less acidic taste. Also, it can be prepared in advance and last up to two weeks in the fridge, and since it's a concentrate, it can be readily diluted with more water or cream ☕

What is the best ratio for cold brew coffee?

The recommended ratio for cold brew is 1:5. This is a mass and volume relationship, meaning that for every 1 g of coffee grounds, you need 5 ml of water.

When preparing your cold brew, you should also consider that the final volume of concentrate will be about 20% lower than the initial volume of water.

Let's go with an example to better understand how to use this cold brew ratio calculator. Imagine that you'd like to obtain one cup of cold brew coffee concentrate - how much water and coffee grounds do you need?

To calculate the volume of water
Some of the water used to prepare the cold brew coffee concentrate will be absorbed by the coffee grounds, leaving us with a liquid volume between 76 to 83% of the initial. We'll assume an average value of 80% to simplify the calculations. With this in mind, we can see that the required volume of water can be obtained as:

Required volume of water = Desired volume of cold brew / 0.8

Applied to our example:
Required volume of water = 1 cup / 0.8
Required volume of water = 1.25 cup

To determine the mass of coffee grounds
Now that we know the initial amount of liquid that we need in our preparation, let's determine the mass of coffee that we need:

  1. Decide the strength of the coffee, light (1:5.6), regular (1:5.3), or strong (1:5). We'll use the recommended 1:5 coffee to water ratio for our example.
  2. As mentioned above, this is a mass and volume relationship, in grams and milliliters, respectively. With these units, the relationship to get the mass of coffee grounds is given by:

Required mass of coffee [g] = Required volume of water [ml] / Coffee to water ratio [ml/g]

For our example, 1.25 US cups of water correspond to 296 ml:
Required mass of coffee = 296 ml / 5 ml/g
Required mass of coffee = 59.2 g

And that's it! Now that you know the quantities, you just need to mix the two ingredients and let it steep for around 12 to 24 hours, or ideally 16 hours ⏰

If you are in a hurry, we invite you to use the cold brew ratio calculator to find out these values faster than the time it takes that caffeine to kick in! ☕

💡 The cold brew ratio calculator gives you the quantity of ground coffee in mass and volume for your convenience. Nevertheless, we recommend using the mass value over the volume, as this last one largely depends on the grind size.

Cold brew vs. hot coffee

Considering that to prepare cold brew and hot drip coffee, you need essentially the same ingredients, water and ground coffee, thinking there shouldn't be any significant difference is a logical assumption 🤔 Else, if you let your hot drip coffee cool down, wouldn't they be exactly the same drink?

The short answer is no. It turns out that the difference in the preparation methods results in some interesting differences between these two, from their taste to their caffeine content and acidity level. Let's see these:

Preparation method

  • Cold brew - Prepared with room temperature water and a 1:5 ratio of coffee to water. Requires about 10 minutes to step up and between 12 to 24 hours of steeping.
  • Hot drip coffee - Prepared with hot water and a 1:17 coffee to water ratio. It's ready in 10 minutes or less.

Taste difference
Taste can be a bit tricky since it's mostly a subjective aspect, but overall there seems to be a difference in the perceived taste of these two:

  • Cold brew - Smoother and less acid taste.
  • Hot drip coffee - More bitter and acid.

Caffeine content
Because of the amount of coffee that is used to prepare the same volume of coffee, a cup of cold brew concentrate always has a higher amount of caffeine:

  • Cold brew - 658 mg in one cup of concentrated, prepared with a 1:5 coffee to water ratio. This is an average value. Caffeine concentration depends on the type of coffee beans and the roasting temperature.
  • Hot drip coffee - 140 mg in one cup prepared with a 1:17 coffee to water ratio.

We invite you to take a look at our caffeine calculator and find out how much caffeine you had over your day 🍵

Acidity levels
One of the claims about cold brew coffee is that it is less acidic - not only in terms of perceived taste, but in actual measured pH level. In a 2018 study about the acidity of coffee, it was shown that cold brew tends to be less acidic than hot coffee.

Shelf-life
Last but not least, the shelf-life:

  • Cold brew - When stored in the fridge, it can last up to two weeks.
  • Hot drip coffee - Better to consume within a few hours. It can be stored in the fridge for longer, but the taste quality decreases.

Have you ever wondered about the ecological impact of drinking coffee? Take a look at ourcoffee footprint calculator to learn about it ♻

In the table below, we've summarized the information mentioned above:

Cold brew coffee

Hot drip coffee

Preparation time

12 - 24 hours of steeping

10 minutes

Caffeine content

658 mg per cup (1:5)

140 mg per cup (1:17)

Acidity level

pH 5.13

pH 4.85

Perceived taste

Smoother and less acid

Bitter and more acid

Lasting time

Up to two weeks in the fridge

Best enjoyed right away

How much caffeine is in cold brew?

On average, you can find 2787 mg of caffeine in one liter of cold brew concentrate. This concentration corresponds to a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:5, i.e., 200 grams of coffee and 1000 ml of water. If prepared with more water, you'll get lower amounts of caffeine.

Is cold brew less acidic than regular coffee?

Yes, cold brew coffee is twice less acidic than hot drip coffee. In a 2018 study about coffee acidity, it was found that cold brew has a pH of 5.13 in contrast to 4.85 for hot coffee, making the latter around two times more acidic than the former.

FAQ

How much coffee do I use for 6 cups of water?

For cold brew, use 284 grams of coarse coffee grounds for 6 cups of water. With these amounts, you get a water to coffee ratio of 5:1, and a total final volume of coffee concentrate of 4.8 cups.

How do I calculate the amount of coffee for 1 cup of cold brew?

To calculate the amount of coffee, follow these steps:

  1. Assume the recommended 1:5 coffee-to-water ratio, 5 ml/g.

  2. Calculate the required amount of water:

    Required volume of water = Desired volume of cold brew / 0.8

    Required volume of water = 1 cup / 0.8 = 1.25 cup = 295.75 ml

  3. Calculate the amount of coffee:

    Required mass of coffee = Required volume of water / Coffee to water ratio

    Required mass of coffee = 295.75 ml / 5 ml/g = 59.15 g

Gabriela Diaz
How would you like your cold brew?
Volume of coffee concentrate ☕
cups
Strength
Strong (1:5)
Caffeine content
mg/L
This is what you’ll need to prepare it
Water at room temperature
cups
Coffee grounds (by mass)
oz
Coffee grounds (by volume)
cups
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