Just a few months ago I had my first experience of sipping a cold brew coffee. It all started while visiting CC’s Coffee House in Monroe. I noticed a boxed contraption on the shelf. After asking the friendly lady behind the counter what it was, she said, “It’s a cold brew coffee maker.” Then she offered me a sample of the maker’s product. I was pleasantly surprised to find a smooth coffee flavor without any bitterness. It was served cold, and after adding some cream and sweetener, the experience got even better.
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What Is Cold Brew Coffee
I remember years ago having a discussion about coffee with a cousin of mine. We were brought up drinking the stuff because coffee was and still is an integral part of the Cajun diet. We had it to us mixed with milk and sugar as soon as we could sip from a cup. I wonder if our parents considered this to be a healthy choice. Or was there such a thing as a healthy choice back then?
Back to our conversation, after mentioning how coffee was leaving me with some stomach discomfort, she told me about the cold brew process. She described how coffee grounds mixed with cold water were left to steep for hours then strained making it a less acidic drink. She thought it might do me some good to try it, but for some reason I never did. It definitely was not the standard procedure back then. So I’ve learned to drink my hot brewed cup of coffee in moderation.
Fast forward to today, and cold brew seems to be making a grand appearance everywhere. Either in coffee shops or on grocer’s shelves. It’s not the ice coffees most places offer which is just hot coffee poured over ice. No, no, no! It’s a brewing process that results in a chemically different outcome for a milder, smoother tasting drink. The Japanese have been making coffee this way for years which was introduced to them by the Dutch way back in the 1600s.
To make cold brew you don’t have to have a lovely contraption like the one I saw at CC’s, but you may need a coffee grinder if you can’t find a course ground coffee. This course ground is made for french press coffee makers.
The first step is choosing a medium to a light roast coffee bean. Then, grind the beans on the lowest setting of your grinder or just enough to result in a course ground. The outcome you want is smooth and mild and using a finer ground, or a dark roast will not get you there.
Next, place the grounds into a glass container that has a lid and pour the room temperature water over the ground beans. I use filtered or bottled water for best results.
Mix well with a spoon and close the lid tightly.
The next step is to either place the container in the refrigerator for 24 hours or on the counter at room temperature for 12 hours. If you don’t have a full 12 hours, you can jump-start the brewing by adding warmer water instead of room temperature water. I have found that the refrigerated method gives a more in-depth, smoother taste.
The last step is to strain the beans with a sieve then again using a coffee filter inside the strainer. Don’t push it through just let it drip naturally.
What you end up with after 12 to 24 hours of steeping is a rich, slightly sweet, super mild coffee drink. The reason for its non-bitter taste is that the cold water brewing reduces the heavy oils and acid on the coffee grounds that are normally released by the hot water method. Another benefit of this method is that while traditionally made hot coffee tends to lose it’s flavor quickly the cold waterway stays fresher longer. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Also, as a concentrate, the coffee can have as much as twice the amount of caffeine depending on the coffee-to-water ratio. I say that’s a plus!
Coffee Is Served
The cold brew coffee can be served in several different ways. Either as is or diluted with milk or water. From there you can add sugar, sweetener, flavored syrup, or even a flavored creamer. The possibilities are endless. You may also like it heated up for a mild cup of joe. I prefer mine cold with a little cream and stevia, but I also can drink it with just ice. It’s that good!
Although this cold brew is easier on the stomach, I still prefer the classic hot brewed cup of coffee first thing in the morning. That high acidic taste is what I think keeps us coming back to the enjoyment of that first hot cup in the morning. Plus, I like the aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee filling the air, don’t you?
So now we have 2 delicious ways to enjoy our coffee. It can be the classic hot brew in the morning or cold-brewed for later in the day, but not too late or else I’ll be staring at the ceiling fan for a while.
Cold brew coffee steeps long and slow with cold water and coarse ground coffee beans resulting in a concentrated, slightly sweet, smooth and mild taste.
3/4 cup coarse ground medium or light roast coffee
4 cups water, preferably filtered and at room temperature
Place coffee grounds in a 2 quart glass jar. Add water and stir well. Screw lid on tightly. The jar may be left on the counter for 12 hours or placed in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
After the appropriate time of steeping is finished unscrew the lid and pass the mixture through a sieve into a pitcher. Wash the jar and place the sieve with a coffee filter in it over the mouth of the jar. Pour coffee through the sieve a second time. Allow the coffee to drip through, don’t force it. The coffee should be clear and cloudless. Serve the cold brew or store with the lid screwed on tightly in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
If you don’t have a full 12 hours to steep you can add warm water to speed up the non-refrigerated brewing process. Eight to ten hours should be enough.
The recipe can be increased as much as you like as long as you have a large enough container.
Serving Size:4 cups
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