Not Just Iced Coffee: A Guide to Cold Brew Coffee
The Third Wave of Coffee, a movement that views coffee as an artisanal product like wine, has seen the spread of new artisan-style coffee preparation and consumption, combining the functionality of traditional equipment with entertainment and tasting experiences. Among these is Cold brew, a preparation method that has exploded within the coffee community in recent years.
Given its popularity, the origins of cold brew are rather mysterious. It seems that as early as the 1600s, it was possible to enjoy a coffee in Kyoto, Japan that was prepared cold with a special technique. This style of coffee and technique probably became more mainstream after Dutch merchants visited Japan during their long commercial voyages.
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee
Cold brew coffee is, technically speaking, an iced coffee. However, not all iced coffee is Cold brew coffee. Iced coffee is typically hot coffee served on ice. For example, an iced latte is an espresso-based coffee where hot espresso is first extracted via percolation with hot water and poured onto ice.
In contrast, the Cold brew method works by cold infusion, where coffee ground is steeped in cold water for a period of 12 hours or more. The final brew is clear and amber in colour, with a bitter taste prevailing slightly over the acidity and a fairly strong aroma - a natural, thirst-quenching soft drink that is fresh-tasting, sugarless and calorie-free. Since the preparation method doesn’t use hot water, i.e. heat, many compounds that contribute to acidity and bitterness are not broken down or extracted, compared to hot brewed coffee. The result is a coffee that is less acidic than regular coffee, which is easier on the digestive system, especially for people who have a sensitive stomach or experience heartburns. Most people also find it tastier and easier to consume alone, without the need to add milk, sugar or cream to mask the acidity. This translates into less calorie intake, and hence, a healthier option than the regular iced milk coffees. The long brewing time also means that it is a much more concentrated brew with a bigger punch of caffeine.
Making Cold Brew Coffee at Home
While ready-to-drink versions are conveniently available off the shelves at the nearest shops and cafes, making cold brew coffee at home is much easier than you think. Compared to hot brewed methods, it is a much more forgiving preparation method that is very low maintenance and produces reliably predictable brews. All it takes is a cold brew maker, grounded coffee, water and a little bit of patience.
Basically, any equipment that holds water can be used to make Cold brew coffee. Many use a French press as an ad hoc Cold brew maker since it already has an in-built filtering mechanism. There are also dedicated Cold brew makers like the Hario Cold Brew Bottle that makes brewing Cold brew at home a breeze. Additionally, since you are able to control the ratio of ground coffee to water and the extraction duration, you get to decide on the level of caffeine and concentration of the final brew. By increasing the amount of coffee ground, you can produce a concentrated brew that can later be diluted with water, milk, cream or other liquids.
Skip the trip to the coffee shop and enjoy the freshest Cold brew coffee anywhere you want with the illy Cold Brew Home Kit. The kit includes one can of illy Classico coffee beans, Hario ceramic manual coffee grinder, Hario cold brew bottle and an illy glass. Discover more at Kerry Coffee Online Shop.