Wednesday, 3 August 2016

What’s the Deal with Cold Brew?

You’ve probably seen cold brew coffee everywhere this summer. Heck, it’s a bonafide sensation! Cafes across the country are selling out faster than they can brew. However, you’ve probably also noticed that cold brew comes with a heftier price tag. And you’ve probably thought to yourself: Is it really worth the price? 
If you’ve tried cold brew, you’re probably sold. Smooth, creamy and downright delicious, cold brew can be up to 67 percent less acidic than your traditional hot-brewed cup (although these numbers come from a study conducted by Toddy, a company that manufactures cold brewing equipment). Less acidic coffee means it’s better for your teeth and your gut, both of which find excess acidity detrimental.
Another benefit of brewing your beans cold is the enhancement of the bean’s flavor. When ground beans are subjected to heat, oils full of acidic compounds flood the brew. When the coffee cools, the acidic oils become something like a flavor mask, obscuring the more delicate notes of the bean.
Without the acidity that emerges through heat-induced chemical reactions, the drinker is better able to savor the floral, fruity, nutty and cocoa highlights of their favorite beans. Flavors have the potential of becoming more balanced and vivid on the palate. Sure, you may not care so much if you mix your coffee with cream and sugar, but if you drink coffee black it makes all the difference.
Need more convincing? Cold brew is cool and refreshing and highly caffeinated, meaning a more stimulating bang for your buck.
This process requires 12 or more hours and a higher density of beans than your average cup, so usually the higher cost is justified simply because cold brew is more expensive to make. But, the finished product is of a higher, richer quality than your regular cup of coffee. In fact, cold brew is probably the best cup of iced coffee you’ve ever had. Try it for yourself. 

If you can’t afford a cold brew a day (few of us can), you should know that it is significantly cheaper and easier to make your own cold brew at home. Here’s a simple guide to making your first batch of cold brew coffee:
There are two easy methods for making cold brew that I very much enjoy. The simplest is to just use a french press. The second is similar to brewing tea, with a cheesecloth or removable coffee filter. Either way, here are the ratios to get you started:
Suggested equipment:
-1 french press (my personal recommendation comes from a Canadian company called Espro)
-1 quality burr grinder, like the Hario Mini Mill (Having a constant grind is probably the most important aspect to any good cup of coffee. The Hario is incredibly consistent, highly affordable and human-powered!)
-1 scale (Eliminating variables in the ratio of water to beans means drinking a more consistently excellent cup of coffee.)
Step 1: Buy some of your favorite, fresh, whole coffee beans.
Step 2: Before you make the coffee, grind 6 tablespoons (140 grams) of beans to a medium grind.
Step 3: Cover beans in 4 1/4 cups (1000 ML) of room temperature water. Using the body of a large french press is ideal.
Step 4: Let steep at room temperature for 12-16 hours, depending on desired strength.
Step 5: Plunge the french press or carefully strain through cheesecloth. Enjoy over ice immediately! Store remaining cold brew in the fridge for up to a week.

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