The hot trend in coffee today is Cold Brew Coffee. I’m here to demystify this process for you.
Cold brew coffee is a process in which you steep coffee grounds in cold to room temperature water for a determined amount of time, then that coffee is filtered and what you have is Cold Brew Coffee. This should not be confused with iced coffee. Iced coffee is normally hot brewed coffee that is added to ice or brewed over ice. The what and how those variables are used is the key to Cold Brew.
Cold Brew Coffee is made using coarse ground coffee that is left to steep in water anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. The less time on the grounds makes less concentrate and vica versa. The coffee now needs to be filtered from the grounds. This can be done through a paper filter which will also remove some of the oils that are present, making a cleaner-tasting coffee. You could also filter through a metal sieve like a french press, which will leave more of the oils in the coffee, giving you a fuller flavored coffee with a bit more mouth feel.
One of the biggest questions I come across is what kind of coffee makes a good cold brew. We are in luck, a lot of different coffees actually do well using this brewing method. Light roast, medium roast, dark roast, and a lot of single origins all work. Part of the fun of cold brew is experimenting with these different coffees till you find one that really hits the bullseye for you. Many coffees that have a distinct type of fruit note like blueberry gets enhanced through the cold brew process. I have also found that if coffee has a higher level of citric flavors, they make an interesting cold brew but does not lend itself to creating a drink with cream or chocolate. Cold brew can also be used to make hot coffee. If you have let it steep long enough to create a significant concentrate, then that can be added to hot water to make a very enjoyable hot coffee.
One of the (possible) myths of cold brew is that it has more caffeine. One of the theories is that because cold brew can be and often times drank at a quicker rate, the feeling of the caffeine hit becomes more pronounced. The amounts of caffeine can change depending on steep time and dilution ratio, but you’ll see there isn’t a huge difference in the amounts to some of the more popular coffees out there.
Caffeine per 10-12oz cup:
Cold Brew- 306mg
Starbuck’s Pike Place- 260mg
Dunkin Donuts- 218mg
Tim Horton’s- 286
So with that in mind, this is an easy and fun brewing method anybody can try in their home kitchen. Below are some of my favorite cold brew gear.