Tired of instantly having to boil water and make coffee whenever you need one? Here’s something you should try: Cold Brew!
What is Cold Brew?
Cold-Brewed Coffee has sparked a recent trend, where it is served chilled in fancy bottled packages for a ridiculous price. So, what exactly is cold brew? Think of it as how we usually make coffee: Hot water with instant coffee powder for a quick dose of caffeine, or your fancy French press or Italian mocha pot, not just for the coffee, but for the aroma and the experience of enjoying your morning cup of awesomeness. Conversely, cold brew means making coffee with cold water. Well, not exactly, but rather, water which is at room temperature. As fancy as it sounds, it is simply using cold water to soak the grounded coffee so that the caffeine is extracted after hours of cold-brewing, rather than minutes of hot-brewing.
At the first taste, you will notice the difference significantly. Hot-brewing coffee tends to bring out a stronger aroma in the room, whereas cold-brewing does not. Instead, what cold brewed coffee offers is pure coffee extract, which is somewhat less acidic and sweet by nature. When you take a sip, you will notice immediately how the aroma stays on your tongue, even after hours. If done perfectly, cold brew coffee is really good to drink on its own without the need to add any sugar. Likewise, if you prefer it hot and need it to finish up your assignments on time, you can pour it into a pan and heat it up gently over the stove. This concept came from the process of making vanilla extract, where strips of vanilla are soaked overnight in a jar to release the purest and strongest of flavours, without having to use the beans directly.
How is it made?
As mentioned above, cold brew coffee is simply coffee grounds soaked in cold water, sort of like a water bath, if you will. However, there are several rules of thumb to follow. First, make sure you have good coffee ground or beans. Even though you might want an intense jar of cold brew coffee to keep you awake for midnight revisions, a little bit does go a long way. Hence, you will need medium-roast coffee, let it be pre-grounded or the beans, if you have the luxury coffee grinder to give you the edge. It might be pricey, but it will definitely be worth it for us coffee fanatics. So, take the Tesco bus and start shopping! Personally, I prefer Colombian coffee beans, but it works well with Sumatran and Kenyan coffee beans as well.
Next, mineral water. Tap water is absolutely horrible to use for cold brew because it ruins the taste of the coffee, and gives you the sour taste which is what we dislike about coffee. For the best possible quality, get a bottle of mineral water from 7-11. Anything but distilled and tap water will do just fine.
There are tons of methods out there, so here I have a list of the common methods which I have tested. However, they generally involve the same ingredients- 1.5L bottle of mineral water, 1 cup of coffee grounds (make sure it is coarse ground, not fine!), and the containers respectively. So here we go :
Normal Cold Brew
To begin, you will need your medium-roast ground coffee, a large bottle of mineral water, a large bowl or container, a damp towel, and a sift.
First, pour your coffee grounds into a large bowl or container, fill up your bottle of mineral water, and cover it with the damp towel. Leave it up to 12 hours, and use the sift to filter out any large chunks of ground coffee. It is that simple. If the coffee tends to be cloudy or grainy in texture, simply wet a kitchen roll (or cheese cloth), and place it in the sift. Grab another large bowl, pour the mixture and let it drip away. This process will take some time, and this is when a French press is really handy.
With the same procedures, pour your coffee grounds into your French press and fill it up with mineral water. Then, simply close the lid and leave it to cold brew for 12 hours. Instead of the complicated sifting procedure, just press the lid down and you’re good to go!
If you happen to have a mason jar, this is where it can be really nice to use. Instead of ground coffee, use instant coffee. Pour in the coffee and the mineral water, and seal it tight. Place it in room temperature conditions for 12 hours. Not only you will not need to sift, you can also ensure that the aroma of the coffee does not leak, and savour the moment when you unseal the jar.
*If you are using the open method, avoid instant coffee at all costs because it will make the coffee extremely sour as it interacts with the air. Use only instant coffee if you happen to have mason jars. I mean it.
If you are about to sit for a paper and 9am and you’re stuck with revisions at 5am, you might want to drink it as it is, while the caffeine content is really strong and is able to keep you awake for hours. If not, here are some fancy twists to your perfect mug of cold brew.
Think of cold brew as chilled espresso shots. Hence, fill up 1/4 of your mug with the cold brew coffee, and the remaining with hot water. Instantly, you will have yourself a nice mug of Americano to start your day. For cold Americano, fill up your ¼ mug of cold brew with ice cubes and mineral water. If the cold brew is done properly, it will not taste sour at all, so sugar is not required. However, if you do feel the need for sugar, using sugar syrup for the cold Americano will do just fine.
Latte is basically ¼ expresso and ¾ frothed milk. If you happen to have a frother, froth your milk and fill up your ¼ mug of cold brew with the warm milk and foam. If you do not have the frother, gently heat the milk over the stove. Although it might not have fancy-looking foam, I promise it will still taste like a perfect cup of latte. If you love mocha, replace your regular milk with chocolate milk and you are done!
For the sweet-toothed, here is a way to turn your cold brew into a casual dessert! First, fill your dessert glass with ice cream, and pour a shot of cold brew coffee over it. Finish up with some biscotti and a sprig of mint for the authentic Italian flavour. The perk here is that by using cold brew, your ice cream will not melt as fast as compared to using a hot espresso shot. Not only it gives you an edge, it probably gives you a better taste as well.
Cold brew is not a new method, but it goes way back in the 80s. It only picked up the trend recently, and I hope everyone will enjoy the simple recipe provided above! For the tea lovers, cold brew works exceptionally well too! Spend some time to experiment, and you should be able to enjoy cold brew green tea, black tea, English breakfast and specifically, chamomile which will not taste bitter at all. Good luck for your examination and hopefully, this cold brew coffee will gives you the edge to staying awake!