Cold Brew has rocked our world since its arrival to the coffee industry in the 2016. In fact, at some point it was so widely spread that it totally overshadowed hot brew’s popularity. Whatever the weather was, people chose to drink cold brew coffees.
Considering its popularity, it’s kind of weird that many of us don’t know much about this drink. I’m going to try to explain everything about cold brew coffee; what it is, its differences with regular coffee and how to make it.
Now fasten your belts everyone, it’s going to be a thrilling ride.
What Is A Cold Brew Coffee
The first thing you should know about cold brew is that it is actually the name of the brewing method. The drink prepared by using this method is called “cold brew coffee”. But you might be wondering what is a brewing method, so let’s make this clear first.
We use different methods to brew coffee such as espresso, French press, aeropress, pour over, etc. These methods differ from each other with how much time they take, what they use to brew and what water temperature they prefer.
Regular coffee methods usually take less time than cold brew. For instance, the fastest way of them all, espresso, needs about 30 seconds while other methods are relatively slower and might take 3-4 minutes to brew. In addition, common methods usually use almost boiled water (95C) to brew.
Now that we’ve talked about brewing methods briefly, we can explain what cold brew is really.
Cold brewing is a relatively new but extremely popular brewing method. It is made by steeping very coarse ground coffee beans in cold or room temperature for 6 to 20 hours. What you get after the brewing period is finished, is called cold brewed coffee.
Cold brew takes considerably more time compared to the other regular brewing methods. It might need 6 to 20 hours, depending on the temperature. But other than its long waiting period, it is the easiest brewing method and requires no extra ingredient or equipment; all you need to do is wait. Besides, after you’ve prepared it you don’t need to consume it directly. You can store it in your fridge for more than two weeks. That’s one of the reasons why people are crazy about cold brew.
The other reason behind its popularity is the flavor it gives to our beloved coffee. If you use a cold brewing method, you’ll get a less bitter and acidic coffee. In addition to this, cold brewing enhances your coffee by making it sweeter and revealing new and exciting flavors which can’t be found in hot brewed coffees.
One more thing, drinks that are made by using this method can be used in many recipes such as cocktails or desserts, as they have the most versatile flavors.
Cold Brew vs Hot Brew
Alright, now you know what a cold brew is. It is time to compare it with hot brew.
Do you love combining your coffee with something else? A simple coffee isn’t enough for you on its own, is it? If your answers are both yes, cold brew is the real deal for you. Let me explain why.
Cold brewed coffees are versatile and that’s one of the main factors that makes it precious. You can use them in desserts, cocktails, or simply other coffee drinks. The real reason why you can pair it with other ingredients is simple. Cold brewing results in a concentrate which can be enjoyed with other drinks, desserts or foods, you name it.
On the other hand, there isn’t much to do with hot brewed coffee. I mean it sure is delicious, but it’s strict. It doesn’t offer you any options. You can’t usually use hot brewed coffee in cocktails, desserts, or drinks.
Acidity and Bitterness
Have you ever wondered why hot brewed and cold brewed coffee taste different?
The reason lies in the different temperatures used in brewing processes. At different temperatures, different things come out from coffee beans. That’s why baristas tell you that the best temperature for French press is 95 C, so as to bring out the best flavors in the beans and not to burn them in the process.
When you use cold brewing methods, the process becomes slower and many compounds don’t get extracted. These compounds include acids which make coffee bitter. Therefore, cold brewed coffee tends to become less bitter and acidic.
Bitterness in coffee might not be for everyone. If it isn’t for you too, you can order a cold brewed coffee and enjoy your day. That’ll be one hell of a sweet coffee.
To me, that’s the most important difference between them. You see, I’m a lazy guy and brewing coffee every single day can make my life a little bit difficult.
One of the reasons why I fell in love with cold brewed coffee was this. Best cold brewed coffees can be stored up to 2 weeks. Imagine that you brew coffee one time and then you are able to drink it whenever you want to. Heaven.
Hot brewed coffees, however, are pretty much done after 3 hours.
I, myself, am not quite familiar with the scientific reason behind it. However, cold brewed and hot brewed coffee that use the same coffee beans taste differently according to my experiences.
Cold brewed coffee –when prepared properly- has more sweetness and less bitterness compared to the hot brewed ones. It also has a little acidity that you won’t notice if you aren’t careful. On the other hand, cold brewed coffees don’t have the same variety of aromas that hot brewed coffees offer.
As you can imagine, hot brewed coffees have pungent tones of bitter and tender sweetness. It offers you more acidic taste; if you love acidity and bitterness, hot brewed coffees won’t disappoint you. Hot brew also tends to have a great variety of aroma and a balanced flavor.
Making Cold Brew Coffee At Home
Now comes the easiest part. Believe me, making a cold brew isn’t rocket science. I’m going to explain everything you need to do step by step.
- First thing you’ll need is very coarse ground coffee. In order to get that, you have to grind your coffee coarsely. If you don’t want to do it on your own, you can have your barista do it for you.
- Add some water and combine it with beans.
- Now that you combine them, you should steep the mixture anywhere between 6-20 hours, it’s up to you. At this point, coffee will gradually be filled with water, resulting in a flavorful and concentrated brew.
- When the time is over, you can enjoy your drink! There is nothing more delicious than a homemade cold brew coffee.
- Cutting the time a little short may result in a weaker cup of coffee. In addition, over-steeping might give you a coffee which has more bitter tones in it. Be careful!
- Best coffee for cold brew is coarsely ground coffee, what type of beans you use don’t matter. It’s up to your personal preferences of flavor. However, if you don’t use coarsely ground coffee, you’ll get a muddy looking coffee which can look disgusting.
You can check out our article about how to make cold foam cold brew!
Best Ways to Drink Cold Brew Coffee
Although you can drink it without adding or mixing with anything just fine, you should try these to enhance your cold brew experience.
Any sweetener or syrup can be paired with this versatile drink. You can use a wide range of sweeteners from honey to cinnamon. Personally, I prefer pairing cinnamon with my cold brew coffee as they both complement each other and create a flawless drink.
In addition, you can add milk or ice in it too. If you prefer to have it on the rocks, you’ll get a lighter drink. Milk, however, will sweeten the coffee’s taste.
As I said, thanks to the versatility of the cold brew you can add almost anything to it and create your perfect drink. Ultimately, what matters is your personal preferences and you should find out which pairing is right for you. So, explore what appeals to you and remember to enjoy your drink!
You can check out our article about the other types of cold brew from here.
To sum up, cold brew coffee is the ultimate solution for your daily coffee cravings. It has less bitterness and more sweetness compared to the hot brewed ones and can be used in many different drinks.
Once you step into the world of cold brew, you won’t want to go back to the regular ways. In the end, hot brewed coffee’s reign is over; and a new era begins with the cold brew.
A proud coffee aficionado who is determined to share his passion and knowledge about coffee with others. Writing and sci-fi are sine qua non of my life. It is not a good day for me if I haven’t had my coffee in the morning.
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