Two of my favorite summer drinks are cold brew (of course) and fruit-infused water. Cucumber & watermelon, lemon & lime, orange, etc. are all great additions to water any time of year, but especially on a hot summer day. I started to think if I could maybe combine the two drinks into one—fruit-infused cold brew. I experimented a bit with different coffees and fruits and found one that works really well.
If added at the right proportions and paired with the right coffee, the orange is a wonderful addition to the cold brew. It plays off of the existing flavors in the coffee and adds a nice, refreshing twist that is perfect for a summer afternoon.
Picking the Right Coffee
Certain coffees are better suited for cold brew and that is especially true when adding the orange into the equation. When selecting a coffee for cold brew, I try to choose a coffee with a bigger body and stronger, earthier/chocolaty flavor notes. I’ve found Central/South American coffees work best. I love the light, delicate and fruity notes from many African coffees, but they don’t seem to hold up as well for cold brew. When you add in the orange too, those coffees seem to get completely overwhelmed. The best option for this specific recipe is a coffee that has some citrus notes already in it that the orange can play off of.
Balancing the Orange
I experimented a lot with the amount of orange to use in the cold brew. I settled on 1 1/2 oranges (cut into 9 pieces), but this is really flexible. You could use anywhere between one to two oranges based on how strong you want the orange flavor to be in the cold brew. You can experiment with the size of the orange slices too (the smaller the slices the stronger the orange flavor will be).
Making the Cold Brew
The process of making the cold brew is incredibly simple too. You start with 100 grams of coarsely ground coffee.
Next, slice two oranges into eight pieces each. In a large container, dump the coffee, oranges and 700 grams of water. (You can easily adjust the recipe to make more or less, but make sure you keep to a 1:7 coffee to water ratio.) Be sure to pour the water slowly over the grounds to make sure all of them are completely submerged. Now comes the hardest part—waiting. Let the coffee sit for 12-24 hours. 12 hours works, but I’ve found waiting just a bit longer to get closer to the 24 hour mark makes cold brew smoother.
After the coffee has had time to brew, you are ready to filter out the oranges and coffee grounds. You can use a cheese cloth or any paper filter (v60, Chemex, etc.) to filter the coffee and orange pieces. I tend to use my v60 filters since they are most readily available for me.
Once the coffee has been filtered, it is ready to enjoy. I’ve found this coffee actually gets better with time too. I tried it right after filtering and it was good, but the orange taste was just a little harsh for me. I left it in the fridge for 2-3 days though and I found the orange mellowed out quiet a bit and mixed wonderfully with the flavors in the cold to create delightfully refreshing and smooth citrus-filled cold brew.
Orange-Infused Cold Brew
- 100 grams coffee coarsely ground
- 700 grams water ideally filtered
- 2 oranges each cut into 8 pieces
- Place coarsely ground coffee, water and orange slices in a large mason jar or other container.
- Set aside for 12-24 hours for brewing.
- Filter coffee through cheese cloth or other filter and remove orange slices.
- Pour in a glass, garnish with an orange and enjoy.
- While brewing, you can cover the container with a tea towel or other covering, but be sure it isn’t air tight.
- The recipe makes around 24 fluid ounces, which should be enough for 3 servings when you add ice. You can store any extra in the fridge for a week or two.