If you’ve been around anyone who loves their coffee, you would have been exposed to several wide varieties your brew can be prepared – and cold press coffee is one of the latest trends to take off within international coffee culture.
That being said, it’s not new. The process of creating coffee their cold water was used as far back as the 1600s when the Dutch started doing it. It was actually a way to transport prepared coffee so that it could be drunk later on. The Japanese were also fond of cold-brewing techniques at the time as well.
But just what is cold brew? And why do some people swear it’s one of the better ways to make coffee at all?
Essentially, a “cold brew” or “cold press” describes a process of putting coffee grounds in water at a cool, or room temperature, for a long period of time. Like, a long time – usually over 12 hours. Of course, you’re not using whole beans. Coarse-ground beans are the way to go so you can actually extract flavour.
After the coffee has been soaked, the grounds are filtered out of the water with a paper filter, or a sieve. You can also use a French press, which is why some people tend to refer to it as a “cold press”.
So what does that leave you? With a rich, dark coffee concentrate. You then dilute it with milk, or water, and then serve it hot, cold, with ice, or however you want. That’s the great thing about cold brew: you’re left with a pure ingredient that you can decide how to use in whatever way you like.
This isn’t the only way you can make a cold brew, of course. The process we just described is called “immersion” brewing. But there’s another way: slow-drip. Using this method, you slowly drip cold water over coffee grounds and then through a filter. The fact it takes longer means there are some flavours you can extract that you can’t with “immersion” brewing. (This method is more popular in Japan).
Okay, this all sounds great…but why does this make cold brew coffee so good?
Using cold brew methods, your beans never come into contact with heated water. As a result, the chemical make-up of the method used to extract flavour is different. Which means, you get different tastes. A lower temperature means less acidity, which means it’s more pleasant to drink on a hot day.
Here’s the other great thing: because cold brew extracts fewer chemicals, it also lasts longer. You can refrigerate cold brew coffee and still use it over two or even three weeks.
Of course, it’s not for everyone. A cup of cold brew isn’t going to extract as many strong flavours so you’ll miss out on that classic, hot-brew smell. The good thing is
But if you’re looking for something a little more refreshing during the summer months, investing in a solid cold-brew system might be well worth the effort.