For many, if not most people, coffee is a fixed component of their mornings. The delicious stimulant helps many of us get out of bed and through the day. In the last few years, a new coffee drink has become rather popular: the cold brew. Especially among hipsters its popularity went through the roof and walking by a café offering it, you will certainly see them accumulate. But what’s so special about cold brew coffee? And where does it come from? In this blog post, you can find out how to make it yourself and learn about the origin of cold brew.
Cold Brew – A Definition
This kind of coffee drink is, obviously, “brewed” with water at cool temperatures. Cold brewing – or cold water extraction/ cold pressing – is the process of steeping coffee grounds in cold or room tempered water. They are left to soak for about 12-24 hours. And after this, you get your cold brew.
But why prepare it like that and not simply have the classic “hot brew”? It simply tastes very different to coffee brewed with hot water. In a cold brew, the ground coffee beans have never come into contact with heated water. This produces a different chemical profile than the one reached by conventional brewing methods. Also, and quite surprisingly, cold brew has a higher caffeine content than coffee made of conventional brewing methods. Besides, this coffee drink is less acidic than the normal brewed one.
Especially during the summer months, the popularity of cold brew seems to rise to unknown levels. You can have it plain or on ice, with or without milk. There are many, many ways to have this caffeinated drink. But let’s keep that for later and move on. Where does this way of coffee making come from?
Japan – The Origin of Cold Brew
Although coffee originally derives from Africa and has had its monopoly in the Arabic countries for many years, this way of brewing coffee was inspired by the Japanese way of making coffee. The so-called Kyoto coffee is the big brother of nowaday’s cold brew.
Kyoto style coffee is a slow-drip coffee, coming from Kyoto, obviously. It is made by dripping water slowly, for about 8 hours, through coffee grounds and then chilling it for 24 hours. As a result, the flavor of the coffee is very clean and clear.
Just like many like to experiment with how to have their cold brew coffee, there are many ways to serve Kyoto coffee. It can be served hot or cold, with or without whatever milk or milk alternative you like. It is even quite common to have it with some rice grains.
The History of Kyoto Coffee
The origins of Kyoto style coffee go back to the early 1600s. At that time, the Dutch traders used cold-brew concentrate to take with them on long travels. This way, they could have coffee aboard their ships and did not need hot water to get their daily caffeine boost. And by bringing the concentrate along with them, to whichever place they were going, it also reached the Asian continent and the island of Japan. The people there really seemed to like the way the Dutch had their coffee. But instead of simply copying it, they advanced the technique and invented the new coffee brewing style of Kyoto.
Having talked a bit about the origins of this new coffee drink, hopefully you got curious to find out how to make i it yourself. Read on to get an easy explanation of hot to make this delicious coffee drink at home!
How To Make Cold Brew Coffee
Unlike Kyoto coffee, making cold brew, you will not have to let the water drip drop by drop through the coffee grounds. Making cold brew actually does not take a long time, although, of course, you need to count in the waiting time of 12-24 hours.
To make it, you can either buy a special cold brew container – well assorted coffee sellers offer it – or simply use your French press.
The coffee grounds used for cold brew should be grounded a bit coarser than the ones put into normal coffee. To get the best cold brew experience, we recommend to use high quality coffee. If you do not have a coffee grinder, we advise you to find or to go to a local “coffee dealer” you trust. Normally, they also grind coffee beans, just ask them to adjust a coarser grinding degree suitable for cold brew.
The right ratio to make this coffee drink is 4:1 of water and coffee. Meaning, if you pour 4 cups of water, add 1 cup of coffee grounds. When you have chosen and measured the amount of water and coffee grounds, pour it into the container you use. Stir gently and make sure, all grounds are wet. Cover the container with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. The “right” amount of time depends on your personal preference. Taste it occasionally to find out when it is done.
If you are using a French press, simply press down the mesh. If not, remove the coffee grounds by pouring it through a filter. Then, pour the coffee in a container and keep it in your fridge.
Some Serving Inspiration
As already mentioned, there are lots of ways to enjoy your cold brew. Of course, you can just have it plain, accompanied by some ice or a dash of milk. You can also mix it with other beverages. One interesting combination you should definitely try is cold brew with tonic water. You can put in into your chai tea, add it to your morning smoothie, make cocktails! Also, if you add boiling water to it, you get a hot coffee that is much less acidic than normal brewed coffee. Or you could use cold brew for cakes or to make tiramisu. There are no limits, just be creative and enjoy experimenting.
If you want to read more about coffee, check out our blog post about Turkish coffee.
This blog post was inspired by allrecipes.