by Parker Gabriel
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States)
This is about liquid coffee concentrate. The method of "steeping" grounds in cold water and allowing them to soak for from eighteen (18) hours to twenty-four (24) hours, then filtering out any used grounds, also called cold brewing, does brew just such concentrate.
But not all coffee drinkers have the available time, equipment, or inclination to use this method.
Points of inquiry being:
First, how use of liquid concentrate, especially that obtained by cold brewing, compares to coffee made by HOT brewing in resulting extraction, flavor, acidity, and such;
Second, who else has actually employed this method and what their impressions are of it; and
Third, about the availability of ready-brewed concentrates (Cool Brew (R) Concentrate included) in local BRICK-AND-MORTAR stores and markets. ON-LINE markets are NOT to be included in this last point of inquiry!
All who so respond are thanked in advance FOR their responses.
Some very specific questions! I’ll take them one by one.
First, the cold-brewing process is a whole different way of extracting the flavor from ground coffee. When you use hot water, the extracting process is speeded up, by a lot. Which is why using water at about 200 degrees you can make a cup of coffee in 4 minutes.
When you use cold water, the extraction process slows down a lot. So making cold-brew coffee - as you said - takes anywhere between 12 and 18 hours.
And yes, there is a difference in the final brew. Cold-brew coffee is a lot less acidic. The folks behind the Toddy cold-brew system claim it reduces the acidity of hot-brewed coffee by as much as 67%.
This is great if you have a sensitive stomach. But even if you don’t, you’ll notice the difference is the coffee. It’s a lot smoother.
For your second question, I have tried cold-brew coffee many times, and I like it. Usually I drink it cold, over ice. But I have also used it as a base for a hot coffee. One part cold-brew coffee to three parts hot water.
I store it in the fridge, where it will last for up to 2 weeks.
If anyone else has comments to share about their experiences with cold-brew coffee...do tell! (You can add your comment below.)
The same goes for question number three. I haven’t found a local source of cold-brew coffee in a can. But if YOU have, let us know.
One last point. If you find cans of coffee in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket, read the label carefully. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the coffee itself was cold-brewed. Caveat emptor!
You may also be interested in...
Our review of the Toddy Cold Brew system.
A demo of the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot.
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