Cold Brew Coffee | How To Make It From Home
Cold brew coffee; brew coffee and chill
Some like it hot
The world of good coffee is a fantastic thing, there's always something new to discover and try your hand at. There are few coffee experiences as fun and rewarding as effectively cold brewing a frigid caffeine treat.
Let's find out a little bit more about this cool and caffeinated beverage known as cold brew and learn how to make some of your own at home.
Cold Brew's Origin Story
Interestingly, while cold brew may be new lingo to some coffee aficionados vocabulary, some suggest it's incredibly old. Some sources claim cold brew started in Japan way back in the 16-1700's.
The prevailing theory is that Dutch traders developed a cold extraction technique (hence the name "Dutch" brew for a similar cold extraction method. More on that in a second!) introduced this gem to the Japanese via Nagasaki. The Dutch initially came up with cold brewing so they could have a keen coffee supply while on their far-flung voyages over-seas.
Both Dutch and cold brew gained wider modern appeal when both methods began to get noticed in Kyoto. To this day, Kyoto is still a happening spot to grab some amazing coffee, especially cold and Dutch Brew. For those seeking out some choice examples of either, check out some of the retro and vintage cafes near Kyoto's Arashiyama bamboo grove—you won't regret it.
Dutch Brew vs. Cold Brew
Cold and Dutch are very similar and have origin stories that are nearly the same.
The main difference between Cold Brew and Dutch Brew is in the brewing methods. Cold brew is made through an extraction process that includes steeping the coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for about 12 to 24 hours. The resulting mix is then fed through a sifter to remove the grounds from the final coffee product. Cold brew's flavor palette tends to be thicker, with a deep flavor profile and smooth mouthfeel.
Dutch brew includes slow dripping ice or cool water on coffee grounds for about 12 to 24 hours from some very unique glass and wood tower drippers. Dutch brew is more like a highly modified drip or pour-over, but instead of a continuous or multiple streams of hot water, a slow and steady drip of cold water forms and drops every few seconds. Dutch brew is comparatively lighter in its color, texture, and flavor. Dutch brews generally have some delectable chocolaty notes, too but more milk chocolate to cold brew's dark chocolate profile.
Dutch brew and cold brew both have much to offer the intrepid coffee lover, but for today, cold brew gets the spotlight.
Is Cold Brew Iced Coffee?
Put, simply, iced coffee and cold brew are very different. Iced coffee, like an iced americano, is hot coffee that has been chilled and iced later on. This is different from cold brew for a few different reasons.
Not only is cold brew an extraction where the grounds are soaked along with the water, but different flavor profiles come to light in hot versus cold brewing due to the different chemical reactions that occur in high and low heat.
Cold brewing unlocks an intriguing chemical reaction that results in a far less bitter and acidic flavor than when coffee is hot brewed.
What About Cold Brew Caffeine Content?
For a while, cold brew was viewed as containing less caffeine than coffee brewed at high temperatures, due to the hot versus cold extraction process. In cases where the ratio is more coffee grounds to water, the caffeine content is incredibly high in cold brew.
Luckily, both hot and cold brew coffee methods gift us with some splendid health-enhancing effects.
Brewing your coffee cold does have some advantages over hot in other ways.
- Cold-brew being less bitter and acidic than hot along with its cold temperature lets you enjoy cold brew more readily.
- Batches! If you meal prep, why not coffee prep? Cold brew allows you to brew up a big batch, keep it for a while and enjoying it over a long span.
- Once you have a batch of cold brew ready, you can drink it as is. No need to brew a cup every time you want some coffee.
So, how do you brew it?
There are a few items, tips and tricks to know before getting started on the pathway to cold brew.
Equipment, Time, and the Right Ratio
Proper equipment, brewing time, and cold brew ratios all play a role in creating the ideal cold brew—what ratio is best?
The cold brew ratio refers to how much water to grounds one is using. There isn't a simple answer because everyone's palate is different. Some folks may want a caffeine powerhouse cold brew while others may want something milder.
- For stronger coffee in both flavor and caffeine, opt for 1 part coffee to 3 parts water.
- To go a bit milder opt for 1 part coffee to 6 parts water instead.
- For something even more gentile, 1 part coffee to 8 parts water should do the trick.
When it comes to coffee beans to use, many suggest using a single origin you already enjoy. Personally, lighter beans especially from Central America—Ethiopia and Colombia work wonders.
Coffee exhibiting lighter, fruitier flavor profiles come out incredibly smooth and can weave rich notes throughout every sip.
As for roasts, this one is hotly (pun intended) debated, many suggest lighter roasts are the way to go. This is based on the rationale that lighter roasts possess more of the natural flavors and oils that the beans develop as they are grown. Because cold brew doesn't burn away as much of the natural oils, flavors, and aromas that beans inherently possess, they can come out more amplified and highlighted in cold brewing. In addition to flavor differences, light roasts are also easier to grind coarse, unlike darker roasts which can break up into smaller grounds easier. When grinding for cold brew, keeping the grind course is best.
For the dark roast crowd, the argument is that the roasted flavors synergize with the deep, rich and thick character that cold brews can attain. Those deeper flavors can make a bold appearance almost similar to a stout beer.
The only decision you should make is ensuring that you are buying finely roasted and consciously sourced coffee that gives back to its farmers.
Why Grind Coarse For Cold Brew?
The larger grind allows more of the flavor and aroma to be absorbed into the water. In terms of mouthfeel, the final coffee concentrate will be less muddy and silted than with finer grounds.
Cold Brew Coffee Recipe—The Simple, DIY, Mason Jar Method
What you will need
- Mason jar (8-32 ounces), make sure it has its cap or lid!
- Your chosen coarsely ground beans 1 1/2 cups
- 3 cups of water, preferably filtered or purified
- A sieve or strainer
- Coffee filters or handkerchief if you're handy!
- Extra bottle or jar with a sealable lid or cover
- Add your coffee grounds to the mason jar.
- Next, add the 3 cups water and give the whole mix a few healthy stirs.
- Seal your jar, and place it in the fridge, letting it steep for 12 to 24 hours.
- After the brewing period, get your strainer and your coffee filters. Place your strainer either above a cup or mug of your choice if you are only straining enough for a single serving, or atop an additional bottle or jar if you plan on straining all of your concentrate at once.
- If you have brewed a large batch, it's wiser to strain all your brew into another bottle or jar for storage.
- Store your remaining filtered cold brew or concentrate in the fridge. It can last up to two weeks and will be a chilly yet delicious caffeine boost for you.
If your cold brew is a little too robust for you, feel free to add in some ice or dilute with the liquid of your choice. Have fun with it!
Cold brew coffee for you
One of the more unique and rewarding methods of making coffee is certainly cold brew. The benefits of cold brew include its ease and convenience in preparation. Now as for cold brew ratios, remember that more grounds to water leads to a stronger brew, while vice versa leads to a more gentle brew. Try different ratios and approaches to see what is best for you.
Lastly, don't forget to savor every last drop of your new silky, rich, smooth and refreshing coffee—the perfect drink to keep that summer sun at bay