Not that many years ago drinking coffee cold meant pouring yesterday’s pot of brewed coffee over ice cubes in a glass and adding copious amounts of cream and sugar to cover the taste of coffee that had been sitting on the burner yesterday for a couple hours.
Cold brew coffee has become mainstream in the United States in the last 10 years. Many people don’t know that cold brew coffee dates back to the 16th century in China. The Cold Brew trend began in small independent coffee houses and grew to the bigger chains around the United States and now is a process that you can easily master at home. By choosing the right coffee for your cold brew coffee beans and understanding the process you can have an ample supply of cold brew in your refrigerator at all times. This is sure to save you both money and numerous trips to local coffee shops waiting in that long drive through line. Once you try making cold brew at home, you will find that keeping a pitcher of cold brew in the refrigerator is a necessity. The key to success is thinking ahead though. You need to start at least 24 hrs in advance.
How is Cold Brew Coffee Made?
Cold brew refers to process by which the coffee is prepared, not the temperature of the final product. Cold brew coffee beans can come from any growing region and be a single origin coffee or a blend of coffee from several different growing regions. The cold brewed coffee beans are coarsely ground and placed in room temperature water for at least 12 hours. Soaking the coffee beans in room temperature water for 12-16 hours results in a smooth, less acidic highly caffeinated concentrate that can be served hot or cold.
How does Cold Brew Taste?
Silver Bridge Coffee Cold Brew blend has been blended to give you a naturally sweet, full bodied smooth cup of cold brew. We have Sumatra coffee to give you that rich body that will shine through even when you add cream. There is also some Peru coffee for natural sweetness and finally a rich nutty Guatemala to give the balance needed for the perfect cup of cold brew.
Cold brew coffee concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and enjoyed black or with added ingredients. Many people choose to drink it black but If you want added sweetness, it is best to add a syrup found in the grocery store or local coffee shop because granulated sugars don’t easily dissolve in the cold liquid. Some popular syrup brands are Torani and Monin.
What makes Cold Brew Coffee Good?
Many people prefer cold brew coffee because they feel this brewing method maximizes the taste with less bitterness. I don’t want to bring back too many memories of Chemistry class but coffee is complex! It contains hundreds of different compounds. As with any compound, the molecules extract at different rates and at different temperature. Some molecules are drawn out at both hot and cold temperatures~ like caffeine. While others only become part of the coffee solution when brewed at high temperatures.
The ideal brewing temp for hot coffee is 195-205 degreesF. If you lower that temperature even 20 degrees it will affect the flavor and intensity of your hot coffee. As you alter the brewing temperature you definitely alter the taste of the final product. The extra-long brewing time in the cold brew process allows more of the coffee flavor to enter the water. I I am not downplaying the beauty of a hot steaming cup of coffee first thing in the morning but there are distinct differences in the flavors extracted from a hot or cold brewing method.
Cold brew coffee also has about half the acidity of brewed coffees. According to a study done by Toddy, cold brewed coffee is 67% less acidic. Many coffee lovers find cold brew to be easier on their stomachs and studies prove that this lack of acidity produces less stains on your teeth.
On the average cold brew coffee yields at least twice the caffeine per cup as its brewed counterpart. While this is a benefit for some sleep deprived coffee lovers it is a concern for other but no worries because you can make cold brew from decaffeinated coffee beans as well.
You should be aware that because decaffeinated coffee has already been exposed to many processes that it will yield a different flavor. You may want to reduce the caffeine by diluting the coffee concentrate with milk or water. However, if you want that jolt of caffeine you can freeze the cold brew into ice cubes and use those instead of regular ice so that your cup doesn’t get diluted with the watery cubes as you drink it.
How do you Make Cold Brew Coffee?
You don’t have to invest in a “system” to make cold brew at home. You can literally use a quart jar on the counter but there are many systems on the market that are less messy and “easier”. Toddy is the most well known, but there are countless others. I recommend using a French press to make your cold brew. The mess is minimal and when you are in the mood for hot coffee it is still available for that. My cupboards are too full for yet another brewing system. My most basic recipe is ¾ cup ground coffee to 3 cups of water. Mix them together and let it stand for 12-16 hours. Gently plunge it down and you have a delicious cold brew concentrate to enjoy. The general rule is to add to water or milk in 3:1 ratio. But this is just a guideline. You may enjoy it diluted half water and half concentrate. The recipe for Cold brew coffee is on the back label of Silver Bridge Cold Brew coffee beans blend.
Finally, there is little to no waste with this brewing method. I use my spent coffee grounds in my compost or my garden. Acid loving plants LOVE coffee grounds. I never find myself pouring out the “rest of the pot” of cold brew down the sink like is often the case with drip grind coffee. You can store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and enjoy just what you need. My kids love to add the flavored creamers for a “coffee shop” styled drink. Yeah, I’m talking Oreo creamer or Salted Caramel creamer, but I am a purist and enjoy the natural sweetness of a black glass of cold brew.
This article was written by Lorraine Walker, Owner of Silver Bridge Coffee, and an expert in cold brew and all things coffee related.