Coffee consumption is a science on its own. Of course, not rocket science, though. Coffee is the world’s third most consumed beverage after water and tea. A decade ago, few coffee shops used to sell coffee cold brew. However, in recent times, you can walk into any coffee shop, even Starbucks, and get an exquisite and rich coffee cold brew.
In our attempts to bring you the most relevant and authoritative information about common cold brew questions, we talked to coffee experts and got some key insights and information on how best to prepare the cold brew.
So, what’s cold brew?
In its basic terms, cold brew refers to coffee that has been brewed in cold water rather than hot. It’s usually undertaken a long steeping process – anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Cold brew has a smooth flavor, with low acid, and is heavier than coffee brewed in hot water.
A study conducted by the National Coffee Association shows that 40% of the respondents know the existence of cold brew, and 20% occasionally consumed the drink. It shows the slow but steady popularity of the drink. Preparing the perfect cup of cold brew is an exciting yet intricate process and we’re all for the experience and providing you with a perfect guide.
Cold-brew basic rules
- While the final taste of a coffee cold brew varies depending on personal preferences and recipe; the brewing timeline of 12 – 24 hours at room temperature or with cold water.
- A cold brew is not iced coffee, and this remains a key distinction between the two flavors.
- Due to its preparation with cold water, it has low acidity and a soft and subtle taste.
- After steeping, there is a strong 50/50 coffee essence diluted with water.
Coffee tip 1
Don’t drink the cold brew immediately since it’s highly caffeinated.
Although coarsely-ground coffee is the best option for cold brewing, any variety can be used.
Best tips for a cold brew
Where possible, use freshly ground whole beans that remain unmatched for any cold brew. However, use medium roast beans heated to a lower temperature, unlike dark roasts. Overheating leads to the over-extraction of bitterness thus ruining the taste.
A good cold brew gives a blend of dark chocolate vibes, mature black fruits, and caramel with mild and pleasant acidity.
Preparing a cold brew
It’s simple, and you don’t need any fancy equipment. All you need is a vessel for brewing, coffee grounds, cold water, and a filter.
You can use a French press or even a mason jar with cheesecloth. The critical part is ensuring that the water-to-coffee ratio is 1:8. Any fewer coffee grounds will make the cold brew weaker while more will make it too strong and unpalatable.
After mixing the cold water and grounds in the brewing vessel of your choice, cover it then allow it to sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
Once the cold brew is ready, strain it using a cheesecloth or even a paper towel into a clean pitcher or jar. At this stage, the cold brew is still concentrated and can last up to 2 weeks in a fridge.
You can serve it cold or hot over ice. However, avoid using milk since it might curdle. You could also sweeten it using simple syrup, honey, or agave nectar.
Simplified coffee cold brew recipe
Tasked with writing the simplest cold brew recipe, as a passionate coffee enthusiast, I would break it down into the following.
Grind the coffee coarsely, add water, allow it to sit, and let it strain.
Coffee tip 2
You’re not making cold brew to consume it as is. The cold brew is a concentrate to be diluted with other elements such as milk, water, or ice to meet your personal preferences. Also, water and ground coffee can be mixed not to be exact but if you’re a perfectionist; follow the recipe provided above.
Cold brew vs Iced coffee
Coffee cold brew is the latest beverage in town, and you might be wondering how it compares to iced coffee. It’s essential to understand that cold brew is a process while iced coffee is a drink.
Iced coffee is regular coffee that has been brewed and then cooled with ice cubes or cold water. The cooling of the coffee leads to dilution and affects its taste.
On the other hand, cold brew is prepared using cold water from the start, thus reducing the possibility of dilution. The extended brewing time also gets rid of bitterness making it smoother than iced coffee.
It’s best served cold or over ice but can also be enjoyed hot.
Brewing methods for cold brew
There are three main ways of cold brewing coffee. They include immersion, cold drip, and nitrogenated cold brew.
- Immersion: Immersion is the simplest cold brewing method that anyone can do at home using a French press or mason jar. The only thing you need is to steep the ground coffee in cold water for 12 to 24 hours then strain it.
- Cold drip: Cold drip uses a cone filter dripping cold water over coffee grounds placed on a container below. It’s a slow process that takes about 4 hours but produces less caffeine than the other methods.
- Nitrogenated: Nitrogenated cold brew is made by infusing nitrogen gas into cold brew coffee during the serving process. The gas gives the coffee a foamy head like that of beer making it creamy and smooth.
It’s essential to note that cold brew is a concentrate, and therefore you need to dilute it with water, milk, or ice before serving. The best thing about cold brew is that you can make it at home using simple methods and inexpensive equipment. Also, cold brew lasts longer than regular coffee, making it a good choice for those who want to save time in the morning.
Cold brew is a coffee beverage made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period. The cold brew method can be used to make both iced coffee and cold brew concentrate.
Brewing with a French Press
The French press is a popular cold brew method because it is simple and inexpensive. To brew with a French press, simply add coarsely ground coffee to the press, add cold water, stir, and let steep for 12-24 hours. Be sure to stir occasionally to ensure even extraction. When ready, press the plunger down and pour into a glass or mug.
Brewing with a Mason Jar
Mason jars are another popular choice for cold brewing at home. To brew with a mason jar, simply add ground coffee and cold water to the jar, screw on the lid, and let steep for 12-24 hours. Be sure to shake the jar occasionally to ensure even extraction. When ready, strain the coffee using a cheesecloth or coffee filter and pour into a glass or mug.
Brewing with a Cold Drip Coffee Maker
Cold drip coffee makers are designed specifically for cold brewing coffee. To brew with a cold drip coffee maker, simply add ground coffee to the filter basket, add cold water to the reservoir, and let steep for 4 hours. The cold water will drip slowly over the grounds, extracting the coffee into the carafe below. When ready, pour into a glass or mug and enjoy.
Advantages of cold brew
Cold brewing coffee has a number of advantages over the traditional hot brewing method. Cold-brewed coffee is less acidic and therefore easier on the stomach. The extended brewing time also leads to a smoother, less bitter drink. In addition, cold brew concentrate can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, making it a convenient choice for busy mornings.
How do you make cold brew less bitter?
The best way to make cold brew less bitter is to use a coarse grind and let it steep for 12-24 hours. The extended brewing time will extract more of the coffee’s natural sugars, resulting in a smoother drink.
There is a lot to say about the cold brew.
Go ahead and experiment using the above suggestions. And, don’t forget to share your brewing knowledge with other people. Our goal is to spread the coffee joy to as many people as possible. Coffee recipes aren’t an open-and-shut case. Experiment, adjust, and find the taste that ticks and tweaks your moods. That’s our coffee mission.
Happy cold brewing!