How do I read the dilution ratio for mixing cold brew concentrate with water?

For some reason, dilution ratios tend to throw people off. 1:1, 1:2, 2:3... whatever it might be, ratios seem to make people second guess themselves all the time. Here's our (hopefully definitive) answer.

As cold brew has become more popular, so have cold brew concentrates. Making cold brew concentrate at home is one thing, but now you can purchase cans, bottles and poucehes of cold brew concentrate that is ready to dilute and drink. So you find yourself with a cold brew concentrate, how do you dilute it? How do you read the ratio?

How do you read the dilution ratio?

Ratios will usually be presented as NUMBER : NUMBER and read as NUMBER to NUMBER. For example 1:1 is read as 1 to 1. When working with cold bre concentrate, you can think of this as 1 Part Cold Brew : 1 Part Water.

Mixing a simple 1:1 ratio

Let's start with the simplest ratio that we can - 1:1. This means 1 part coffee to 1 part water. The "part" can be any measurement you'd like - 1 cup, 1 gallon, 1oz. The key thing here is that you want the "parts" to be equal. 1 and 1.

For instance, if I have a cold brew concentrate in a 64oz growler that says it needs to be diluted 1:1, I will be mixing equal parts cold brew and water. Let's say I just wanted to make a cup of coffee (total), I would mix a half cup of coffee and a half cup of water (equal parts is a 1:1 ratio) and this would yield me 1 full cup of diluted cold brew.

Mixing a sightly more complex 2:3 ratio

In a 2:3 ratio, we'll be mixing two parts coffee to three parts water. Keep in mind, the "parts", or the unit of measurement, can be whatever you choose it to be - tablespoon, 1/4 cup, 1 cup, gallon, etc.

In this case, let's say our "part" is 1 cup, so to dilute this cold brew concentrate that is recommended to be diluted at 2:3, we'll add 2 cups of coffee to 3 cups of water and we'll finish with 5 cups of ready to drink cold brew.

Hopefully we didn't confuse things more than necessary, but we surprisingly get questions about ratios quite often.

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