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How to Craft the Perfect Cold Brew

An elevated, chilled beverage has stolen iced coffee’s spotlight. Here's the DIY version.

For a growing number of java drinkers, the just-add-cubes variety of iced coffee simply isn't cutting it. Hence cafes, companies, and caffeine aficionados are toting a more elevated version of the summer staple: cold brew. 

Traditional iced coffee is brewed hot and poured over ice, and the result is a (generally) more bitter and acidic-tasting coffee, says Lynda Sylvester, co-founder of Red Thread Good Coffee. A good cold brew, she says, brings out the true flavors of the coffee bean. “It has a unique freshness and depth in the flavor palette, which iced coffee does not.”

Dating back hundreds of years—it's been a popular drink in Japan dating back to the 1600s—there’s more to cold brew than just flavor. “Cold brewed coffee is much less acidic than hot coffee—some say there’s up to 67 percent less acid,” says Sylvester. Which means it may be easier on your digestive system, your heartburn, and your teeth. Plus, it’s packed with all the same antioxidants.

To perfect the art of at-home brewing, heed this barista-tested advice.