What is cold brew coffee?
Cold brew is also called cold press or cold water extract. It is the process of steeping coffee grounds in water at a hot or cool temperature for a very long time, usually twelve hours or more. The water can also be kept at room temperature, but chilled water is preferred. Next, the grounds are strained after they are steeped using a fine metal sieve, a paper coffee filter, felt or a French press. The resulted solution is a coffee concentrate that is often diluted with milk or water and is served with ice, hot or blended with ice along with other ingredients, such as chocolate.
Why cold brew coffee over other coffees?
Cold brew coffee is relatively simple to prepare using the brewers. Rather than learning proper pouring techniques, you can simply grind coffee into a coarse form, add some amount of water at room temperature, and let the two set together in a refrigerator or any cool place for a long time.
Tons of recipes
Once you have prepared the cold brew concentrate, you have a whole range of options to choose what to do next. You can add cream and sugar for a rich morning drink, or you can add sparkling water for a summer spritzer. Adding a Kahlua to make a warm after-dinner cocktail is another great idea. The way you choose to drink your cold brew is only bound by your imagination.
Low to zero acidity
Since it has milder brewing process, cold brew coffee has up to 67% less acidity than the regularly brewed coffees. For people who have sensitive stomach or heartburn, cold brew can reduce discomfort.
Ways to make a cold brew coffee at home
There are a several different ways to prepare the cold brew coffee, but at its core, the basic procedure is the same. Start with ground coffee beans that are as coarse as a burr grinder will process them. Then, make sure the water to coffee ratio is high enough to yield a strong liquid concentrate. A good ratio is four cups of water to a quarter pound of beans.
Any watertight vessel would be suitable to steep coffee for cold brew, including glass pitchers, mason jars, or even plastic buckets. However, the more important thing is to select a brewing chamber that is large enough to contain both, the volume of water as well as a sizable portion of coffee grounds. Also, the container should be compact enough that you can practically keep it somewhere while the contents inside are brewing. For instance, if you choose to brew within the chilled environment of the kitchen fridge, then a French press, pitcher or a small mason jar will work best. If you are preparing a massive quantity of cold brew, then you should consider brewing at room temperature unless you have sufficient storage space in the refrigerator.
However, the problem with brewing coffee at low temperatures is that brewing time is increased. Typically, a batch of cold brew requires somewhere between 20 to 24 hours to steep properly; it does not matter if it is placed on your kitchen counter or in the fridge. A good approach would be to prepare the cold brew right before bedtime and then let it steep overnight or during daytime hours. Another idea is to make a large amount of coffee that is enough to last for a week or two. This way you will have time to brew more coffee before you completely run out of the previous batch.
The separation of coffee grounds from the liquid is considered as the most difficult step in the cold brew process. To make it simpler, you can use a French press and with the help of its plunger, filter out coffee solids. Other alternate ways can include a paper coffee filter, cheesecloth, a metal mesh sieve, or a combination of all three tools. Since a greater number of beans are used in making the cold brew coffee drink, it is incredibly potent when compared with an ordinary drink. You can also add chilled water, milk, or lots of ice to dilute the liquid as well as increase your supply.
Tips for success
Here are a few tips that will make your cold brew coffee even more delicious:
- How long to brew cold coffee? Steep for at least twelve hours. It is fine to cut this time a little short, but make sure not to get too stingy. The coffee requires these many hours to fully infuse the water; straining too early will give you a weaker cup of coffee. On the other hand, be careful of over-steeping as it can start to extract some of those bitter flavors that you are hoping to avoid. The ideal steeping time is twelve hours and the maximum time is fifteen hours. Do not steep for more than that.
- Use of filtered water: Using filtered water is a general tip for preparing a cup of any type of coffee as it gives the drink a sweeter and cleaner flavor.
- Chill the cold brew with coffee ice cubes: If you want a totally undiluted cold brew coffee experience, then make use of coffee ice cubes to chill your coffee.
- Make sure your beans are coarsely ground: Beans that are ground to a sandy powder, such as for drip coffee, can result in over-infused coffee as well as make the strained coffee muddy and gritty. Ideally, your beans should look like a coarse cornmeal or even slightly rougher than that.
Can cold brew coffee be heated?
What people commonly ask is if they warm the cold brew coffee and drink it hot, will it lose the flavor? It is not the heating of the coffee that makes it lose its flavor; instead, it is the staleness of it. When coffee is brewed, it is full of flavored oils, but once the oils become stale, the coffee loses its taste. So as long as your cold-brewed coffee is fresh, you will not lose any flavor by heating.
Warming up a cold brew coffee is easy and quick; you can have a hot cup of coffee in your hand within a few minutes. Any conventional heating method will work great, including stove top, microwave, as well as a simple addition of hot water. With cold brew concentrate, adding the hot water is the fastest and the easiest way to bring the drink to right temperature and dilution.
Best cold brew coffee makers
The OXO Good Grips Cold Brewer
This coffee maker from Oxo uses some very interesting tools to help improve the cold brew process. It features a patented Rainmaker coffee extraction lid that evenly distributes water over the grounds, making sure complete saturation is done. This can reduce any over-extraction and bitterness in the coffee. The relatively small size of the equipment enables the user to make enough cold brew for one person. It is compact and does not consume much space, so you will not be embarrassed to place it on the kitchen counter.
This is one of the most popular cold brewers available on the market. It uses a two-part paper and wool filter along with a grounds guard disk that significantly helps in decreasing the amount of grit and sediment in the final extraction. Also, the finer filtering helps to highlight and show off more muted flavors in your beverage, which means that you will get a super clean cold brew coffee in the end. The equipment’s hands-off approach lets the brewer perform all the extraction and steeping. It features serving carafe that is made up of polycarbonate which is indestructible and does not retain any odors.
The Yama Cold Brew Tower
This very beautiful-looking and unique piece of gear is designed to prepare cold brew coffee on the countertop rather than in the fridge. The all-in-one unit comes with a carved wooden stand that can hold the four-glass components in style.
What makes the countertop brewer different from other brewers is that instead of fully immersing the coffee, it drips ice cold water over the grounds. This slow dripping water gives the user much more control over their brew as well as on the strength of their coffee. The brewing process is very fast, taking only five to six hours.
The Hario Mizudashi
Like all previous coffee brewing gear from Hario, Mizudashi cold brewer is an excellent quality and quite efficient equipment. It includes a simple metal mesh filter that replaces the paper filter and is reusable, limiting waste.
Its all-in-one design combines the brewer with a serving carafe, which minimizes the space that brewer consumes in the fridge. It will easily fit into one of the racks in the fridge instead of taking a whole shelf. The glass carafe eliminates the absorption of stale flavors, resulting in a fresh coffee with superb flavor.
Cold brew coffee is much different from conventional coffee. Tips can be found to make a good morning cuppa if you are in a rush. Or you may check out our range of regular coffee machines if you are keen on making coffee at home today!