Many people cannot start their day without a cup of coffee. It is a real driving force that gives us the energy to perform our daily duties. In fact, coffee is a magical potion that turns a grumpy human being into a sociable, active person.
If you are one of those people and you really enjoy coffee every time you have such an opportunity, you may be looking for some ways to make your coffee even better. There are lots of ways to brew your coffee. Also, even instant coffee can taste amazing. One of the best ways to make an incredible cup of smooth and delicious coffee is a cold brew.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee
If you give preference to some classic methods of brewing coffee, you may wonder what a cold brew is and how it can help you to get a great cup of coffee. Lots of people confuse it with regular iced coffee. However, it’s a huge mistake.
When it comes to iced coffee, in fact, it is coffee that was brewed with hot water and then poured to the cup with ice-cubes. It is the easiest way to iced coffee. Nevertheless, the right way to make iced coffee is to use the Japanese method. In this case, you need to use a pour-over coffee maker filled with ice, so fresh coffee drip over it.
In such a way, you’ll be able to save the flavor and aroma of your coffee while cooling it down immediately.
When it comes to this coffee, the point is that this method does not require hot water at all. For this method of brewing coffee, you need water or 70-38°F. In other words, it should be close to room temperature so you can get a better flavor. Coffee grounds are steeped in this water from 2 to 24 hours. It depends on how soon you want to get your coffee fix.
After it, the coffee is filtered out so to make sure there is no sediment in your cup.
Using this method of brewing coffee, you’ll be able to make a cup of full-bodied, robust coffee with a very smooth flavor. One other great point is that using this method, you can reduce the acidity of your coffee.
Benefits of Drinking Cold Brew Coffee
If you are hesitating about the cold coffee brew, there are some great benefits of this method of brewing coffee.
When brewing coffee with hot water, you can expect it to be acidic. The reason is that heat helps to extract acid-producing oils. High acidity may lead to different stomach issues, such as various irritate conditions, including acid reflux. Using cold brew, you can significantly reduce the acidity of your coffee (up to 67%).
When it comes to brewing coffee, heat cannot extra more acids but also make your coffee bitterer. At the same time, it allows you to get naturally sweeter coffee.
Speaking of freshness, it’s a big deal when it comes to hot brew. Hot brewed coffee should be drunk right after it was made or its taste will become horrible. Even if you use the world’s best pour-over coffee maker, it will not keep your coffee fresh for a long time. While it will be enough to wake you up, it won’t make your day better. It can preserve its taste for about a week. It means that you can make a whole bunch of coffee using cold brew and enjoy it for several days.
Types of Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
To be able to find the best beans for cold brew, you need to understand the essence of this method of brewing coffee. The main point is that no heat is required for this method.
Usually, cold filtered water is used for steeping grounded coffee for a long time. During this time, the flavor of beans is extracted properly. In other words, this is coffee that is brewed with cold water and not with a hot one and cooled down later.
Using dark roast coffee, you will get a drink with rich flavor with earthy, nutty, chocolate notes. Even if you are skillful and lucky enough to extract floral notes, your coffee will still get those robust flavors after a little while.
Speaking of the main characteristics of dark roast, they are:
- rich, slightly sweet flavor;
- high content of oils that leads to bittersweet drink with chocolate and toasty notes;
- bold texture and rich body of the final drink;
- lower content of acids.
When it comes to medium roast, it can provide you with a lighter drink with an acidic, delicate flavor with slight floral and fruity notes. Just keep in mind that this type of roast requires a longer brewing time.
Speaking of light roast, it has its specific characteristics, you need to know about. The light roast has:
- pretty complex flavor with rich floral and fruity notes;
- preserves the characteristics of original beans;
- has lower oil and caramelized sugar content that results in the light body;
- is more acidic than other types of roast.
Single-origin coffee is a perfect option for people who want to taste the slightest subtle notes of the beans. Using light or medium roast, you can get a very delicate and subtle flavor. While hot water allows brewing coffee faster, high temperature destroys those delicate notes.
Using this brew method, you have an opportunity to preserve light fruity and floral notes. It will help you change your vision of coffee and enjoy an incredible drink. Also, it will help you reduce acidity and bitterness. That is the reason why you should give preference to single-origin coffee.
In fact, blends aren’t commonly used for cold brew coffee. The reason is that blend creators need to make sure it has good cream as well as a perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, and caramel notes.
However, a blend can be a great option for those who only try and learn to make a cold brew as it is cheaper than single-origin coffee. Moreover, recently numerous coffee shops and producers have started to make special blends created exclusively for cold brew.
How to Choose the Best Coffee for Cold Brew
When choosing coffee beans, you need to consider several important factors. Below, there are some significant points you need to remember when choosing coffee beans.
Of course, it is important to find the best beans, but you also should pay attention to the grind size. Even if you use the best beans ever, but the grind size is wrong, you won’t get the coffee you expect.
So what grind size is the best option for cold brew coffee? The answer is simple – a coarse grind. It’s rather gritty and even reminds beach send. There are lots of reasons why this grind size is so great. First of all, it is the grind that provides the fastest dripping. If you choose the fine grind, it will be very dense, so the water won’t be able to flow through it.
The water gets trapped above fine coffee beans, so the drink becomes over-extracted and bitter.
At the same time, a coarse grind allows water flowing through easily. As a result, you’ll get well-extracted, sweet coffee with excellent flavor.
Age of the Bean
Coffee has some soluble elements that cannot be extracted during the cold brew. In other words, you don’t need to worry about the age of your coffee beans, as it will hardly influence the flavor of the drink.
It is possible to make a rich, sweet and caffeinated cup of coffee using this method and beans that are older than a few weeks.
How to Make a Cold Brew Coffee
Now, when you’ve learned about a method and tips on how to choose the best coffee for this brewing methods, it’s time to learn about the process itself.
Step 1 – Grind coffee beans
Set up the highest setting on your grinder and grind 1 cup of your favorite coffee beans. If there’s no coarse setting on your grinder, you can use 1-second pulses. The perfect grounded coffee should look like cornmeal. As a result, you’ll get a little bit less than 1 cup of ground coffee.
Step 2 – Combine grounded coffee with water
Put the grounded coffee into a container and add about 4 cups of clean water. Just keep in mind that it should be room temperature. Use a wooden spoon to ensure that coffee is well saturated. After it, use the lid to cover the container.
Step 3 – Steep
After closing the container, you only need to be patient and wait. Usually, it takes about 12 hours to get your coffee ready. Try not to put the container in the refrigerator until the coffee is ready or you can get a weak coffee.
Step 4 – Strain coffee
After the required amount of time passed, you need to use a small strainer covered with cheesecloth or flour sackcloth. Place it over another container and pour the coffee through it. If you want to avoid any sediment, repeat the process twice.
Step 5 – Pour coffee into a bottle
Use a bottle or a jar to store your coffee. Just pour the drink into the bottle and put it in the refrigerator. It can be kept for a week.
Serving your coffee, you can just pour it into a cup or add some milk, water, ice, or syrup. You can also get creative and try some drinks based on cold brew coffee.
Cold Brew Coffee Recipes
You can get creative when it comes to cold brew coffee and make various drinks based on it. Below, there are recipes of several great drinks based on it.
Maple Vanilla Cold Brew
- 1/4 cup cold brew;
- 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup;
- 1/2 milk;
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker or a jar with a lid. Shake it well to mix the ingredients properly and pour the drink into a glass with ice.
Mocha Cold Brew
- 1/2 cup hot water;
- 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup;
- 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder;
- Pinch of salt;
- Pinch of ground cinnamon;
- 1/4 cup cold brew;
- 1/4 cup milk.
Use a jar with a lid or a cocktail shaker. Put hot water, syrup, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon there. Shake it until the cocoa is well dissolved and all the ingredients are mixed properly. Add coffee and milk and shake everything once again. Pour the drink into a glass with ice cubes.
Cold Brew Affogato
- 3 small scoops of vanilla bean ice cream;
- 1/4 cup cold brew concentrate.
Put vanilla ice cream into a bowl and add cold brew coffee there. You can decorate it with different toppings such as sprinkles, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and so on.
Pre-Ground Coffee vs Grinding Your Own Beans
When it comes to pre-grounded coffee, each coffee lover has its own opinion about the issue. The point is that you need to get all that incredible, delicious flavor of coffee from coffee beans. After you were able to pick between Keurig k475 or k575, or any other brewing method, it’s time to pick proper coffee.
Boiling roasted coffee in hot water is one of the oldest methods of brewing coffee. As a result, coffee was very bitter, with a high content of caffeine. This drink can hardly be considered enjoyable and nutty.
During its lasting history, coffee brewing changed significantly and a bunch of new methods appeared. It means that you can choose the method that can provide you with a perfect cup of coffee that has excellent flavor. Grounded beans guaranty a bigger surface for interacting with water. Also, it allows reducing brewing time significantly.
Now the issue of pre-ground coffee became a matter of taste and preferences. If you still have not decided whether you prefer pre-grounded coffee or want to grind beans on your own, you need to learn the pros and cons of each option.
The main benefit of pre-ground coffee is that it is very convenient. If you are one of those people who don’t want to deal with a coffee grinder or just don’t have one, it is a perfect option for you. Using pre-ground coffee, you can just put the required amount of coffee into a coffee maker.
One other advantage of pre-ground coffee is that there is an opportunity to buy a huge can of coffee grounds and enjoy it any time you want. However, it is better to buy small amounts of grounded coffee that are about week worth. The reason is that if you store grounded coffee for a long time, it loses its taste.
While being a convenient option, pre-ground coffee has several disadvantages. First of all, using it, you won’t be able to get the freshest cup of coffee. There is the fact that within 15 minutes after it was ground, the coffee loses about 60% of its Aroma.
One other thing is that coffee is a very delicate product that can easily take on the surrounding odors. The oils take on unpleasant flavors and aromas easily while losing the CO2 that is created when coffee is roasted. CO2 helps to get the essential oils from coffee when it’s ground and brewed.
Finally, you need to pay attention to moisture issues. Coffee beans contain essential oils that are water-soluble. It is an important aspect of brewing coffee, but when it is stored in a humid environment, it starts to dilute those oils. As a result, you’ll get a rather subpar cup of coffee.
Grinding Your Own Beans
When it comes to grinding your own coffee, it is the best way to get the most flavors from your coffee. Just keep in mind that you need to make sure that you have the right grinder. It should provide you with even and consistent grounds. It is an important aspect if you want to get a smooth, tasty cup of coffee.
If you don’t know which grinder to choose, it is better to opt for a mill or burr grinder. Both these options can provide you with even coffee grounds, while blade grinders usually produce uneven coffee grounds that result significantly in the flavor of the drink.
Also, it is better to choose a grinder with the function of choosing grind size. The size of the grounds depends on the brewing method you are going to use. For example, for a cold brew, you need to use coarse or medium grounds. Using fine grinds, you’ll get bitter coffee because too many oils were extracted. Ultra-coarse grind will result in an underdeveloped and rather weak drink.
Any coffee lover can tell you that it is an expensive habit. Even if you don’t visit a coffee shop daily or buy extraordinary drinks, you’ll spend a bunch of money. When it comes to grinding your own coffee, you should be ready to spend lots of money. Usually, whole beans are more expensive than ground coffee.
The reason is that whole beans usually come from better stocks. Using whole beans, you can see its quality, all nuances, damages, and imperfections.
One other disadvantage of grinding your own coffee is that you cannot store beans for a long time. Usually, whole beans preserve its taste and flavor for no more than 2-3 weeks. Moreover, it also results in the price of coffee significantly.
Finally, if you decide to grind your coffee on your own, you should be ready that it is a messy and time-consuming process. Each time you can grind only a little amount of coffee. Also, your grinder should be cleaned after each usage. You should be ready to grind your coffee each time you want to brew it if you want to get a drink with excellent aroma and flavor.
Immersion vs Cold Drip Cold Brewing
You can use two methods to make cold brew coffee – slow drop and immersion.
The immersion is a very simple method, so it is very popular among people who brew coffee at home. For this method, coffee grounds are steep in cold water for at least 12 hours and then it is filtered out.
Speaking of slow Drip method, it requires ice water that is dripped onto ground coffee. After the water goes through the coffee, the drink is collected in a carafe below. This method is much faster than the previous one as it usually requires about 3-5 hours. Nevertheless, to brew your coffee with a drip method, you need to have specialized equipment that is pretty expensive.
Speaking of the differences, depending on the method, you can get a different flavor. The immersion method can provide you with a cup of full-bodied concentrated coffee. At the same time, using the drip method, you can get a cup of dilute medium-bodied coffee. Also, the method influences the choice of coffee beans significantly.
Do’s And Don’ts With Coffee for Cold Brew
If you want to make cold brew coffee, you need to remember several do’s and don’ts.
- Use cold water;
- Choose single-origin or blend coffee;
- Use pre-ground coffee or grind it on your own;
- Use immersion or drip method.
- Never use hot water;
- Don’t use fine grin.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
The cold brew method is very simple and does not require much investment. Of course, you can buy special equipment and single-origin whole beans that cost pretty much. It will provide you with a better taste of your coffee. Nevertheless, it is not obligatory and you can use a simple French press and good blend to make your brew.
Quick Tips for Cold Brew Coffee
As we’ve already said, this method is pretty simple and you can easily deal with it. However, if you want to learn how to make the best coffee ever, we’ve prepared several useful tips for you.
Use Coarse Beans
If you want to make a cold brew, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that your coffee is ground coarsely. If you feel like your coffee lack of taste, you need to make finer grinder until you reach the desired result.
Use Filtered Water
Using filtered water, you can ensure that your coffee will have a cleaner and smoother flavor. Moreover, clean, filtered water can make your coffee sweeter.
Steep Coffee for at Least 12 Hours
This method requires lots of time. Usually, water should infuse with coffee grounds for about 12 hours. Also, you need to remember that the coarser coffee should be steeped for a longer time. Just keep in mind that you can over steep your coffee and it will become bitter. You only need to adjust brewing time according to the grind size and roast of coffee beans.
Make Coffee Ice Cubes
If you want to make your coffee ice-cold, just add several ice cubes. However, it is likely you don’t want to dilute your coffee with water. To avoid it, you can make coffee ice cubes and add them to your drink. It will make it not only cold but also even more robust. If you want to try something unusual, you can always spice your coffee with syrup.
FAQ About Cold Brew Coffee
Can you use any coffee for cold brew?
You can use any coffee you like. Using this method, you can reduce the acidity of the final drink and helps to reveal other delicate flavors. It is a perfect way to find a new side of your standard coffee. In fact, the choice of coffee depends on your preferences.
What roast is best for cold brew?
It depends on your preferences and there is no right option. Nevertheless, most people give preference to dark roast because of several reasons.
It shows well darker, richer flavors with earthy, nutty, syrupy and chocolate notes. Even if there are some flower flavors, they become rather robust in the end. Nevertheless, roast type and your skills can influence the final drink.
Can I use regular ground coffee for cold brew?
Yes, you can. Of course, it is better to use freshly ground coffee as it has a richer flavor, but pre-ground coffee also works.
What coffee does Starbucks use for their cold brew?
There is no info about which coffee is used for cold brew in Starbucks. The company does not name a specific blend or single-origin coffee. Nevertheless, they say that they use a blend of Arabica from Latin America and Africa. Speaking of their famous taste, it can be concluded that they use medium roast.
What is the ratio of coffee to water for cold brew?
There are several factors that influence this ratio, but usually, it ranges between 1:4 and 1:7. The main point you should consider is how strong coffee you want. Those who prefer strong, rich flavors with bright notes, you should opt for a 1:4 ratio. If you prefer subtle flavors, 1:6 or 1:7 ratios will be a perfect option for you.
The ratio also varies depending on the type of coffee grounds you are going to use. As you can see, you need to experiment and try new grounds to find your perfect recipe.
Should I use milk, cream or neither in my cold brew coffee?
Real coffee fans say that it is better to enjoy cold brew as it is. It has a naturally creamy taste that should not be spoiled by cream or milk.
First of all, try it without any additions. If you feel like you want to add some milk or cream, just do it. Nevertheless, there’s a huge chance that you will enjoy your coffee as it is. If you still want to add some milk, usually a 1:3 ratio is a perfect combination of milk and coffee. If you want, you can also add some premium coffee syrup to get a unique drink.
Should I add ice to my cold brew coffee?
No, you don’t need to do it. Moreover, it will make your coffee deluged and result in a spoiled flavor. In other words, it will ruin the coffee you were working hard on. If you still want to add some ice, give preference to balled one as it melts more slowly than usual cubes. One other great option is whiskey stones. Just place them in your freezer, wait until they are ice cold and use to make your coffee colder. It will let you avoid diluting, so it’s the best way to chill your coffee.
What gives cold brew its distinctive flavor?
Using hot water to brew your coffee, you can extract a variety of flavors from bright, floral flavors with tart and acidic notes to smooth, full-bodied ones with chocolate notes. During hot water brew, the flavors mesh, creating complete, full flavor. For example, a pour-over kettle will brew you a coffee with rich flavor. When coffee gets colder, more acidic notes appear. In other words, brewing your coffee hot and then cooling it down, you will get a drink with bright, acidic flavor, so it will be hard to drink. At the same time, it allows reducing acidity significantly. Instead, you get well-balanced, smooth cold coffee.
Cold brew coffee is a relatively new way to make coffee, but it gains popularity very quickly. It is a great way to enjoy your regular coffee in a new way. Of course, Keurig k55 is a durable coffee maker that will make excellent hot coffee for you, but sometimes we want to try something new and cold brew may be exactly the thing you are looking for.
While being pretty simple, this method of brewing coffee will provide you with a smooth, nutty drink that you’ll like for sure. Also, you can use it as a base for a whole variety of drinks. Just give it a try and you’ll fall in love with this coffee.
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