The sudden return of warmer weather suggests that we've finally entered Cold Brew Season. I thought I'd take a moment to refresh your memory on this fantastic, refreshing summertime beverage...
Cold Brew (or cold press or toddy) is simply another of the endless ways to make great tasting coffee. The big difference, at least how I explain it, is in the solvent used to extract the compounds that make up coffee. With hot brewed methods, hot water over a very short period of time is the solvent. In Cold Brew, cold water and many hours (up to 24) are the solvents. Without getting all Bill Nye on you, certain compounds aren't extracted with the cold brew method, resulting in a super smooth, easy drinking, lower acid coffee (up to 2/3 fewer acids).
Cold extraction brings out lower tones and heavier body (chocolate, caramel, brown sugar notes). Brighter citrus and floral notes can come across as sour. My personal take on cold coffee is that if you want something low acid and smooth in the cup, start with heavier bodied, lower acid coffee. Our own Kickstart Espresso blend would be a great choice to start with. The coffees selected and the slower (stretched) finish highlight heavy body and chocolate flavor with balanced acidity.
Making Cold Brew Coffee:
Making your own Cold Brew is easy, and you don't need much (any) special equipment. The Ratios below are for drinking-strength cold brewed coffee. Adjust the amount of coffee and water for smaller and larger batches. You can also adjust the concentration as much as you want (for a super concentrate you could use 3/4 or even 1 # of coffee per 8 cups of coffee).
1. Grind 8 oz of Sidecar Kickstart Espresso Blend (ground for a french press) into a pitcher
2. Pour 8 cups of cool filtered water over the ground coffee
3. After about 10 minutes, stir gently and set the pitcher out on the counter, covered
4. Wait between 12 and 24 hours. This is the hardest step, I know
5. Filter the brew with cheesecloth or fabric (a piece of clean t-shirt material works awesome) into another pitcher
6. Enjoy over ice with or without milk.
A little experimenting and you'll be on your way to a cool, caffeinated summer. Cold Brew will keep for a few weeks in your fridge, but it won't last that long. Try serving over ice or warmed. Is a great mixer for cocktails too.