Everything you need to know about cold brew Coffee!!
Cold brew Coffee (or also known as Cold pressed Coffee) is the best way to brew Coffee for people with sensitive stomachs. The other benefit is that the flavours, predominantly for a medium roast Coffee, are bought to the forefront and highlighted in the cold brew Coffee. Cold brewed Coffee is not exposed to the same chemical reactions as a hot Coffee, during the extraction process. The natural sugars have time to dissolve in the water during the cold brew Coffee process because it's “steeping”, or “extraction” time is anywhere between 6 and 24 hours – sometimes longer depending on your preferred method.
You can also store cold Coffee in the fridge for weeks. BONUS!
So, what’s the deal with Cold Brew Coffee?
What is this Cold Brew phenomena that we’ve been seeing over this last year, and what is Cold Brew Coffee? It feels like it has a new cult following, along with the Pure Green Coffee, Turmeric Drinks, Purple Super Tea, Cold Brew Tea, Kombucha and other drink cults that are appearing, so what’s all the fuss???
When you boil it down (excuse the pun), it’s an amount of coarsely ground roasted Coffee beans soaked in water, until the water takes on the flavour of the Coffee and produces the cold brew Coffee. However, just as in conventional Coffee brewing, there are many ways of creating cold brew Coffee and there a few tweaks that you can complete to ensure that it’s the best flavoured cold brew Coffee for you.
Is cold brew Coffee good for you, why is cold brewed Coffee better than hot and are there any real Cold brew Coffee benefits??
I personally think it comes down to three key areas here - health benefits, flavour enhancements and last but certainly not least, it’s a really nice cold Coffee drink on a hot day!
Ultimately, I think most of us are looking for that extra little piece of “healthy” in our life these days. With milk allergies on the rise and the introduction of A2 milk that removes some of the milk protein for the more sensitive bellies out there, foodstuffs are becoming more and more under the microscope. I personally have a thing called Barrett's Esophagus, I know.. This Barrett guy has a lot to answer for! Its where the acid builds up in your stomach overflows and creates a burning sensation in your Esophagus, creating heartburn or acid indigestion. Nexium has been released to the market and available over the counter to relieve these heartburn and reflux issues, but some white papers say that this causes Alzheimer’s. What are we to do!!! Lower your acidity intake to take the more natural approach to alleviate these symptoms.
During my own research it appears that Cold brew Coffee actually produces less acid content that normal hot Coffees. One study by Toddy states:
“Cold-brewed Coffee is 67 percent less acidic than hot-brewed. Without all that acid, the burnt flavour that plagues hot-brewed Coffee is eliminated. Plus, the reduced acid makes it healthier for your stomach and your teeth.”
Courtesy of “https://www.thedailybeast.com/Coffees-dirty-little-secret”
This is due to the slow process that cold brew Coffee extraction takes. It also removes the need to add sugar, for those of us who like a sweeter tasting Coffee.
Playing with the flavours that you can extract form the roasted Coffee bean during the production of Cold Brew Coffee, has been the most fun for me. We roast our beans to a medium roast, really trying to draw out the natural flavour of the Coffee bean. Not going into too much detail but depending on where we procure our green beans from depicts the flavour profile that the bean will have. EG Some of the green beans purchased from Mexico have tones of caramels and spices, whereas beans sourced from Ethiopia will have the tones of fruits and chocolates. Being a foodie since I was about 7 and making Chill Con Carne with baked beans (much to the dismay of my mum – love ya mum) and thinking it was awesome, playing with Coffee’s flavour profiles are personally my favourite part of the of Coffee production process and why I got involved in the industry in the first place.
Its these flavour notes that are drawn out when producing a cold brew Coffee from a well farmed Coffee Bean.
What is the best way to make Cold Brew Coffee and how do you make the best cold brew Coffee?
The first thing to know about cold brew Coffee is that the brewing process takes a long time. Without adding heat to the extraction process, relying on cold water and potentially ice cubes, it takes much longer to draw out those flavours to form a well-rounded flavour profile. Ordinary sugar is harder to break down in cold water, and this is the same as the sugars and flavours that reside within the Coffee Bean. The cold brewing process really slows down the extraction of the flavours that are held within the bean and does so much, much more elegantly than any hot extraction process. What you end up with (depending on the method and process within the method that you choose) are notes of the actual flavours from the bean that is apparent from the growing, drying and roasting processes. You will see a rise in sweetness and the natural flavours of the bean but also that sought after 67% less acidic beverage. As a result of this, the bitterness normally associated with the cooling down of hot Coffee, particularly espresso Coffee, is greatly reduced. I personally will drink a Cold Brew Coffee with absolutely no milk or sugar. It's sweet enough, just like my Mrs.
Fundamentally there are two methods of brewing Cold Brew Coffee.
Steeping/Immersion method – this is where you simply allow the coarsely ground Coffee to “sit” in a batch of water and let the Coffee and water simply bloom over a term. This normally takes about 12 hours and can be accomplished using a variety of equipment.
Drip method – this is where you place the coarsely ground Coffee into a filter and allow an extremely slow drip of water to pass through, allowing the water to extract the Coffee flavours and sugars on its way through.
My preferred method, and I’ve tried a few now and feel like a real Coffee Alchemist, is the cold drip method. I’m no scientist but can take an educated guess that cold drip Coffee processed over a 24-hour period produces a much rounder and fuller flavour. This is absolutely my opinion though, everyone’s pallete is different right! I’m also pretty sure that adding ice to the water at the beginning of the drip process slows down the chemical process giving a bigger spectrum of flavour extraction – just my educated guess!
Is cold Brew Coffee Stronger than Regular Coffee?
There is such a complicated answer to this question! Where do I start!! Well it is all a little bit Sciency so hold on to your hats!
There is a misconception that caffeine quantity per mg is higher in some brews/methods than others. For example, that famous espresso cuppa that most of us drink every morning is often touted as having the most caffeine content, but it isn’t if you’re judging by serving size! Dark roasts also are spruiked as having more caffeine content than lighter roasts and this is actually justified, as dark roast Coffee does, in fact, have more caffeine than lighter roasts!!
There is a lot of chatter that present cold brew Coffee as having a significant amount of caffeine to help you along in your day – but does that chatter have any credence??? Well it’s complicated!!
Caffeine content in Coffee is extremely variable. An average cup of Coffee can contain anywhere between 84 and 580 mg of caffeine. Many factors are attributable to the large variant of caffeine content - Coffee type, grind size, brew time, dwell time, roast profiles and the actual tree that the grew the green beans prior to roasting.
Despite these variables, cold brew Coffee usually has less caffeine, but this isn’t clear cut! Caffeine generally extracts better in hot water than cold, meaning you get more caffeine in hot brews Vs a cold brew.
“Caffeine’s solubility is primary driven by temperature, such that at higher temperatures, significantly more caffeine will dissolve in solution than at cooler temperatures, if you are using the same brew-to-water ratios, the cold brew will definitely have less caffeine than hot.”
Courtesy of a comment made by Joseph Rivera of Coffee Chemistry
However, and this is where it gets less clear cut, cold brew Coffee is typically made with a higher ratio of Coffee to water, approximately 2-2 ½ times more. This means it is stronger than if made with a more conventional Coffee-to-water ratio. However, cold brew Coffee once fully processed comes in as a concentrate and should be then mixed with one part Coffee to one part water or milk, which brings that caffeine content right down. I actually drink the finished product with no added water or milk – such a caffeine junky!
As a commercial example, let’s take Starbucks. A 16oz cold brew cup from Starbucks is reported to contain 200 mg of caffeine, whereas a hot 16oz Coffee can contain anywhere from 260 to 360 mg, depending on the beans you choose.