You may already be familiar with cold coffee in its various forms. Whether you are a lover of iced lattes, a cold drip connoisseur or just an extremely busy person who never gets around to drinking their cup of coffee before it goes stone-cold.
Cold brewed coffee, when done correctly and with the right intention, can be something really special. But don’t worry – you won’t need a laboratory kit to get started.
Cold Brew Methods
There are two tried and tested methods for preparing cold-brewed coffee. These are cold drip and cold brew.
Cold drip coffee is made by slowly dripping iced water through coarsely ground coffee. Cold-drip set ups are commonly seen on display in cafes; tall, swirly looking glass installations that can be quite mesmerising. Most people wouldn’t look at this kind of set up and feel prepared to replicate it at home.
Cold brew coffee is the more practical of the two methods. It is similar to cold drip in that it is brewed without the use of heat and for a longer time, however the ground coffee is fully immersed in the cold water, and can typically be done in any vessel of your choosing. Some people use recycled glass jars or their standard coffee plunger.
Why you should try it
It’s hot in Australia. Sometimes we don’t always want a hot milky coffee – but we don’t want to go without our daily brew. This is where cold brew steps in, and for café owners it can be an excellent way to increase profits during the quieter months! Also, cold brew stores really well, you can get two weeks if it is kept in sealed glass vessels (make sure you sanitise these first).
How to do it
This depends on the quantity of cold brew coffee you would like to make and how you would like to enjoy the end product.
If you are a café owner and would like to start selling cold brew in your shop, we recommend the Toddy system for making larger batches of cold-brew.
For home users, we recommend the Cold Bruer for exceptional results, or you could try and go full DIY with one of the many tutorials available online (we don’t guarantee their efficacy but it could be fun!).
The entire process is rather simple, really. Use filtered water and coarsely ground (freshly roasted) coffee. If you plan on drinking your cold brew black, begin with a ratio of 80g coffee to 1L of water. We are using a higher dose here, as cold water is not a good solvent for extraction, so we need to use more coffee to get more flavour.
If you plan on drinking your cold brew mixed with milk, you’ll want to make a stronger concentrate: try 120g coffee to 1L of water. This is so that the flavours are not masked by the milk.
Place the coffee in your device, making sure your filter is in place. If you are using the Cold Bruer device, the ground coffee goes in the lower half of the top chamber, and an AeroPress filter is placed on top of the bed of grounds. For a detailed brewing guide on this check out this link.
If you are using a full-immersion brewer, such as the Toddy system or your French Press, the coffee simply goes in with the cold water to brew. Make sure all of the coffee is wet by pouring the water in evenly. You can give a gentle stir if you like, but too much agitation will make your final result bitter.
Steep for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight. The brewing process is so long because cold water takes a longer time to extract the flavours from the coffee than hot water does. Think of it like trying to dissolve sugar in hot water vs. cold water.
The good news is you will wake up to delicious, juicy, full-flavoured cold brewed coffee with all of the nuanced origin characteristics intact.
One more thing…
I don’t want to take you down a rabbit hole, but there is something called “Japanese style iced filter”. This is basically a manual pour-over brew, but instead of drinking it hot, it is poured onto ice. The ice melts and dilutes the brew, so less hot water is used to begin with. This is a really nice way to make a single batch of iced, filter roasted coffee. James Hoffman does a really good tutorial on this. If you decide to go this route, be sure to check out our pour-over devices.
Image by the fabulous people from the Ley St Cafe in South Perth. Check them out!