Cold brew coffee is gaining in popularity, particularly during the summer months when it provides a refreshing alternative to regular coffee. However, it’s important to understand exactly what cold brew coffee is.
Adding ice to regular coffee that has been brewed with hot water, doesn’t make cold brew coffee. It makes iced coffee which is quite different. Iced coffee is still a nice refreshing drink to have in the summer but it’s not the same as cold brew coffee.
Regular coffee is brewed with hot water and quickly, releases the flavors and creates a hot drink. However, with cold brew, the coffee is brewed in cold water and it is brewed for anything between four hours and 24 hours.
The difference in the brewing process can be very marked and some people who like regular coffee won’t like the same coffee after it has been cold brewed, so it’s important to understand the differences and how they can impact the flavor of the drink.
When coffee is cold brewed it tends to be more than 50% less acidic than hot coffee and it retains the antioxidants from the coffee beans which are lost during the hot brewing process. This means that cold brew coffee can be healthier and gentler on your stomach.
The lower acidity levels affect the flavor of the coffee which means that cold brew coffee has a much sweeter taste so you won’t need to add as much sugar as you might normally do because any bitter overtones will have been removed.
While cold brew coffee takes a long time to brew, you can make it in batches and that will stay fresh in your fridge for around ten days so you can make all your coffee for the week, in one go, rather than having to brew up every time you want a cup.
Cold brew coffee is also a great ingredient to add to other things such as cocktails, ice cream, or cake making, in fact, you can use it in virtually anything that you want a coffee flavor added to.
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How to Choose the Right Beans for Cold Brew Coffee
It’s important to choose the right coffee beans for your cold brew coffee as they can end up with a milder flavor due to the process and the way it is brewed. Whether you are cold drip brewing your coffee or using the immersion method, you need to make sure you have the right beans.
You want your coffee grounds to be coarse for cold brew coffee as if you use a fine grind you might end up with bitter flavors due to the length of time the coffee is going to be brewed. If you are grinding your own beans for cold brew, make sure you invest in a good coffee grinder.
When choosing what type of roast to go for, it really comes down to your own personal taste and it might take some trial and error as you might well find that the coffee you really love when it’s made hot, tastes completely different when it comes out as a cold brew.
In general, a dark roast will lose its acidity during the cold brew process but will produce strong richer flavors, while a light roast will result in more muted flavors because it was less acidic at the outset and might provide a milder cold brew flavor.
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One advantage of the cold brew process is that it does allow drinkers the chance to really appreciate the particular coffee bean, so it works really well with single product coffee rather than blended coffees which makes it perfect for coffee fanatics.
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Most cold brew, due to the lower acid levels, has a sweeter and creamier taste than regular brewed coffee so there is no real need to add milk or cream to it. It is recommended to at least try it black before going ahead and adding any other ingredients.
Can I Make Cold Brew in my French Press?
You might be wondering what the best method is for making a cold brew coffee in the comfort of your own home and the good news is, you can make it very easily just using your own French press coffee machine.
All you need to make your own cold brew at home is coffee grounds and cold water. You need to make sure the grounds are coarse for this to work, and to avoid ending up with lots of coffee mud in the bottom of your press.
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Simply add the coffee grounds into your French Press and then fill it up with cold water. Don’t stir or use the plunger immediately. Leave the mixture like this to steep and store it somewhere dark and cold, like the back of your fridge, for around 12 hours.
Once it has had time to brew, you can take it out, push down the plunger and then pour your cold brew coffee over ice and enjoy it. If you wish to add milk or sugar to taste, then you can do so in the cup.
Can I Make Cold Brew in a Mason Jar?
If you don’t have a French Press but you have a jar with a tight lid, then you can still make your own cold brew at home very easily. All you need is the same coarsely ground coffee and some cold water. You need to steep the coffee but don’t leave it for too long or it will become very bitter.
All you need to do is add your coffee and water into the jar and stir it all together so that it’s all completely mixed together. Next, you need to secure the lid on the jar and leave it to brew in your fridge for around 12 – 24 hours. Don’t leave it any longer than this.
After this time, open the jar and use a coffee filter paper, or a fine strainer, to strain out your coffee into another container, so that you can remove all the coffee grounds from your finished drink. Your cold brew is then ready to enjoy. If it’s too strong for you, you can always dilute it with more water.