Over the years, we have known coffee to be served hot, brewed in a top-quality espresso machine with steamed milk poured in an artistic manner. While this is true, a huge chunk of varieties of brewed coffee is being forgotten. An example of that is the cold brew coffee, ordinarily, this might sound as easy as pouring the perfectly brewed hot coffee over a cup of ice, this is far from the truth. The trend is gradually shifting from hot coffee to cold coffee among millennials and to keep up with this dynamic generation, a barista needs to possess the right knowledge and skill to make a cold brewed coffee. Read on as I demystify the entire process. Might I chip in, with the melting of the polar caps and increasing temperature in the summer, it becomes necessary to find a drink that can provide the necessary chill in this period, this reason and more is why people are gradually are shifting from the culture of consuming hot coffee to cold brew coffee and iced coffee. I also really love that this method for making coffee actually saves time in the morning. One can make a big batch over the weekend, starting it on Saturday or Sunday night and strain it the next morning, and then stock it in the fridge for an easy coffee fix all week.
Before we commence, I will like to make clarifications on the difference between an iced coffee and a cold brew. As the name alludes, an iced coffee is a hot brewed coffee poured over ice while the latter is ground coffee steeped in cold water and strained. With this clear and the grounds already set, we can proceed on this journey of cold coffee brewing.
First, we will start with the ingredients which as we know, is at the core of the entire process:
- 1 cup of whole beans (4 ounces or 113 grams) will be needed. It can be the Robusta or the Arabica variety, the type of the beans doesn’t really matter. By the same token, Dark Roast or Medium roast, it doesn’t really matter. Generally, the properties of the beans don’t really mean as much as the appropriate grind. As we go further, we will touch on that, so do not fret yet.
- The next ingredient, of course, is water. 4 cups of water (32 ounces or 907 grams) is just as good for the entire process
The next thing to do is collect the required equipment.
- First is the coffee or spine grinder that changes the state of the beans into the desired one.
- Second is a small strainer to separate the grounds from the drink.
- Third is the bottle for storing the cold brew coffee till consumption or sale, any one you purport to use it for is entirely up to you.
- Fourth is the Cheesecloth or cotton flour sack cloth to serve as a sieve
- Finally, a 1 1/2-quart glass or ceramic or plastic container to steep the drink.
The steps are as summarized as follows, we will elaborate each under the methods section.
- Coarsely grind the coffee
- Combine the coffee and water
- Step overnight
- Strain the coffee
- Store the coffee
- Serve the coffee
- Set your coffee or spice grinder to its most coarse setting, and check a little of its output before doing the full grind – you are looking for roughly the same consistency as breadcrumbs. Any finer and you risk cloudy, grimy-tasting coffee. You should have just under 1 cups of grounds.
- Sterilise a large mason jar (or any large receptacle with a lid). Transfer the coffee grounds to the container you are using to make the cold brew and work to roughly a 1:8 coffee-to-water ratio.
- Stir gently with a long-handled spoon until well combined, then cover and leave to steep for 12-14 hours, (there is a little discrepancy in the steeping time amongst different makers of the drink but a large majority are going for the foregoing time, so we will work with that) either in or out of the fridge.
- When brewed, line a small strainer with the cheesecloth or flour sack cloth to remove the larger grounds. Discard these (ideally into compost), and then, tucking either your muslin or a few sheets of paper towel into the cleaned sieve, strain back into the jar. Repeat two or three times, until you are seeing no murky residue at the bottom as you finish your pour. If you cannot seem to sift it all out, don’t worry – it simply means your grind was too fine. Practice makes perfect with these things.
- Serve over ice, with milk and sugar, if that’s your thing. Dilute the coffee with as much water or milk if that is also your thing.
- Cover and refrigerate the rest – the wonderful thing about this stuff is that, if stored properly, it will stay good for a month or so due to the brew’s low acidity.
Brew your cold-brew strong enough and you can even mix it with boiling water and serve it hot. This is a really special way of doing things – the gentle, sweet flavors survive being combined with hot water because there aren’t any grounds left in the mix.
- Prep time: 10minutes
- Steeping time: 12-14hrs
- Yield: 3 Cups
Tips for Success
Tip 1) Make sure the beans are coarsely ground: beans that are ground to a sandy powder, like for drip coffee can result in an over-infused coffee and make the strained drink gritty and muddy, and sincerely, no one wants to drink that. Your beans should look like coarse cornmeal or even slightly rougher.
Tip 2) Use filtered water if possible, this is general just good coffee advice. Your cup of coffee will have a cleaner, sweeter flavor if filtered water is the water of your choice in the brewing process.
Tip 3) Steep for at least 12 hours, I mentioned initially that there are discrepancies in the steeping time, this tip talks about the minimum steeping time which is 12 hours, it is fine to cut this time a little short as well but don’t get to stingy with it. The coffee needs the full time to fully infuse the water. Straining too early can give you a weaker cup of coffee. Also be careful of over steeping, which can start to extract some of the bitter flavors were hoping to avoid. This is more like using the right temperature of water to brew your hot coffee, water boiled to 100 degrees Celsius will extract the bitter flavor and that is just bad coffee brewing.
Tip 4) Chill the cold brew with coffee ice cubes. Quick question, do you want a totally undiluted coffee experience? Make coffee ice cubes to chill your cold brew coffee. As a closing remark, this coffee making method has a few things going for it, the infusion process that occurs for a long period slowly pulls all the great coffee flavor from the ground beans, but leaves behind most of the compounds that can make the drink bitter and sour.
So, now you know the best way to make the eccentric and tasty coffee brew. Why not check out our comprehensive guide that gives you the lowdown on the best coffee maker products and models on the market today? Simple click here. Or, you may want to buy your very own coffee maker. Click here for our tried, tested and reviewed Top 10 Best Coffee Makers.