Why I Add Milk To My Cold Brew (Including Recipe)

Cold brew lovers, like all coffee lovers I guess, love exploring new tastes. I mean, come on, we love coffee, but it’s nice to change it up from time to time.

A great option for changing how your cold brew coffee tastes is to add milk. Many people wonder if it is a good idea and it is kinda a controversial topic. Some say that you shouldn’t add milk to cold brew because it takes away the coffee taste.

However, I love to add milk to my cold brew. To be honest, I actually rarely, if ever, drink cold brew without milk. I love the creamy texture that milk gives to my drink.

Before I go on I will give a bit of information about cold brew. If you already know all there is to know about it you can skip to the recipe that I use for mixing cold brew with milk.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold-brewed coffee is a great alternative to regular coffee. The basic gist of it is that you brew the coffee in cold or room-temperature water for a long time. The brewing time is much longer than for other brewing methods. The reason for this is that hot water is usually used to quickly extract flavors from coffee grounds.

Making Cold Brew Coffee

To make cold brew coffee you usually steep the ground coffee beans for 12-24 hours. In my experience, 16 hours is the sweet spot.

You can steep cold brew in almost any container. I usually use a French press to make my cold brew.

French presses with the ingredients needed for cold brew.

After the steeping time is complete coffee grounds are usually filtered out, either through a paper coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve, or a specialized cold brew coffee maker. The final product is cold brew coffee concentrate that can be diluted with water or mixed with milk, ice, or other ingredients according to personal preference. You can also heat it or mix it with hot water or milk to create a warm cup of coffee.

You can put leftover concentrate in a large mason jar or any other storage container, for that matter. Cold brew can be stored in a fridge for an entire week or even up to ten days.

Cold Brew Taste

Because of the slow brewing process cold brew has a mellow, smooth flavor. It tastes less sour than hot brewed coffee. In many cases, cold brew has a quite rich and full-bodied flavor. It also has a bit of a sweeter flavor than regular coffee.

However, it is important to note that there are quite a few things that have an impact on the flavor of the coffee. Here is a list of them:

  1. Amount of time that you let your cold brew steep.
  2. The beans that you use.
  3. How coarse/fine they are ground.
  4. The coffee-to-water ratio you use.
Cold brew in a glass in front of blonde roast coffee in a packet.
I like to make my cold brew with Starbucks’s Blonde Espresso roast.

Benefits of Adding Milk to Cold Brew

Okay, so we already established that you can add milk to cold brew. In fact, I mentioned that many cold brew enthusiasts, including me, quite often add milk to our cold brew.

I guess now you want to know why I think it is a good thing to add milk to your cold brew.

The idea is that milk can help to mellow out the intense flavors of the coffee while adding a creamy texture. It adds a sweet edge to your cold brew.

Cold Brew Recipe With Milk

Of course, you would first have to make cold brew concentrate. If you don’t know how to make your own cold brew here is a recipe for making cold brew in a French press.

Dilution With Milk

I like to dilute my cold brew with whole milk instead of water. I know many people only like to add a dash of milk but I have found that a 1:2 coffee-to-milk ratio gives me the glass of cold coffee that makes me happiest.

How much milk you add is, of course, a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer just a splash of milk, while others may prefer a larger quantity for a creamier taste. You can experiment with different ratios until you find the right balance that suits your taste.

Another option would be to dilute the cold brew concentrate with water and add milk. However, I have found that it tastes a bit watered down then.

Cold Foam

Something else that you can try is to make foam with cold milk and then add it to your cold brew.

You would, of course, first, dilute the coffee with another liquid. Some liquids to use to dilute your cold brew with include water, cream, half-and-half, or evaporated milk.

Milk Alternatives

Until now we’ve only talked about regular milk. However, many people can’t drink cow’s milk or they don’t like it. This leads us to the topic of dairy alternatives.

Like with all other coffee beverages, you can substitute the milk for one of the many milk alternatives out there. These include:

  1. Coconut milk
  2. Oat milk
  3. Almond milk
  4. Soy milk
Coconut and coconut milk.

A Note About Cold Brew Storage

I mentioned earlier that cold brew concentrate can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days. However, once you have added milk this might not be the case any longer. Milk reduces the shelf life of the coffee.

I think a good option would be to only dilute the amount that you are going to drink now. I wouldn’t mix everything with milk and then put that cold brew milk mix in the fridge.

Next Steps After Adding Milk

You don’t have to stop your cold brew-making by simply adding milk. Many people have a sweet tooth and like to sweeten their coffee. You can, of course, also make your cold brew sweeter.

Sweeten Your Cold Brew

Sugar being added to cold brew to sweeten it.

1. Sweetened Condensed Milk

This one is my all-time favorite and a very beloved way of sweetening cold brew all around the world.

2. Honey

Honey itself is very sticky and doesn’t mix too well with cold coffee, but if you make a honey syrup using honey and water you’ll be left with an amazing glass of refreshing cold brew.

3. Vanilla Syrup

All around the world, people use vanilla syrup to sweeten coffee and for good reason, it not only sweetens your coffee drink, it also gives it that extra vanilla taste.

See all 43 ways you can sweeten cold brew coffee.

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