With the cold brew coffee going mainstream it is time for everyone to be familiar with it. A cold brew coffee is not your regular iced coffee. There are some major differences in the way it is brewed.
Cold-brew is a coffee that is brewed by using either room temperature or cold water over 12 hours. Depending on the taste one wants it can even be brewed for as long as 24 hours.
Due to the longer steeping time, the cold-brew coffee tends to be less acidic and more full body. This is especially beneficial for those with sensitive digestive systems. In the whole process of brewing, heat is never used. Time is used in place of heat to extract the coffee beans oil, aroma and caffeine.
When it comes to taste, cold-brews are smooth and a bit sweeter or chocolatey. They also have more caffeine levels in comparison to iced coffee. You can also tweak the final coffee to be strong or light by changing the water ratio. The concentrate of cold-brew can also be mixed with hot water for a hot coffee.
For getting that perfect cup you will need to use good quality and fresh beans. In the end, you get what you put in. That’s why it is important to use good quality beans to get the best results. Also, just buying the most expensive bean won’t help, you should try different types of beans and find one which you like the best.
You can steep your cold-brew anywhere from 12 to 24 hours depending on your taste preference and how strong you want your coffee to be. If you are unsure you can start with 18 hours. Starbucks is said to steep their cold brew coffee for 20 hours. If by chance you end up steeping for more than 24 hours then you can fix it by diluting the coffee with more water.
Cold-brew coffee requires coarsely ground coffee. They are the best size for maximum extraction without making the coffee bitter. In the end, the texture should be close to that of sugar. Also, avoid buying pre-ground coffee and try to grind your coffee immediately before brewing. Burr grinder should also be your default grinder for grinding your beans.
Using clean and high-quality water is very important. You should avoid tap water as it might contain chlorine or other elements that might alter that taste of your coffee. Since the bulk of your coffee is the water you should only use filtered water that won’t affect or ruin the flavors of your coffee.
Lighter and darker roasts lead to differing flavors in the end. If you want a bitter flavor then you should go with the darker roasts, whereas for a fruity and floral flavor go with the lighter roasts.
Also, do not buy darker roasts if you want more caffeine in your coffee. Because since darker roasts get heated at high temperatures the caffeine in them gets burned more in comparison to lighter roasts. For more caffeine, light roasts should be the choice.
It is important to strain your grounds slowly out of the water after steeping. Hurrying can lead to a bitter taste of the coffee. No pushing or wringing should be done during the straining process. You can use paper coffee filters or handkerchiefs for straining.
You should store your cold-brews in refrigerators as that way they can be fresh for up to 7 days. This is done mainly to prevent the flavors and aroma from leaving your cold-brew. You can also store the brews in small sealed containers.
You can dilute the concentrate with a 1:1 ratio of water to coffee for a strong cup of coffee. You can also use a 2:1 ratio for a lighter coffee. But for a perfect cup of coffee, the 1:1 ratio is the best option. You can use either water or milk for diluting the concentrate or you can use a mixture of milk and water too.
Not everyone has the same taste preference. You can tweak the cold-brew coffee making variables such as adjusting the grind size, water-to-coffee ratio, duration of the steeping process, roasts and many such variables that can be adjusted. In the end, it’s all about finding the right combination of variables for the perfect cup of coffee.
Immersion brewers are the best option for cold-brewing. These should be used for getting the best results. Coffee grounds can be placed in the French Press, mixed with cold water and allowed to steep for 18 hours. While other methods could be used for the steeping process, French Press is the best option. You will always get better results with brewers made specifically for cold-brew coffee.
If you have the patience then cold-brew is the best method for a cold coffee drink. The result is well worth the waiting time. Cold-brews should especially be preferred by people whose stomach gets upset easily due to coffee.
You are very flexible when it comes to the taste of a cold-brew coffee. Just by adjusting the water ratio and steeping time you can change the final taste of your coffee tremendously. It also allows experimenting with the brewing variables without restricting you too much.
You can follow the above tips to master your cold brew making process and avoid any mistake that can ruin your cup of coffee.