Cold brewing is a hot topic. But did you know that there are multiple ways of making cold brew coffee at home?
Best cold brew at home
A few years ago, our minds were blown at the idea of cold coffee. Like, cold coffee? As in, not-hot coffee?
Fast forward ten years, and you’ll find cold brew coffee sitting happily on all the best coffee shop menus. It’s the go-to drink of many millennials; they (and we!) love it for its simplicity, convenience and summer-ready flavour. Its natural sweetness also makes it a great alternative to sugar-ladened drinks.
But cold brew isn’t a one-trick pony. Oh no. Just like hot coffee, there’s more than one way of brewing cold brew coffee at home. Each method gives a slightly different flavour, so let’s dive in and find out more!
Not iced coffee
First, a small tangent. But an important one. Contrary to what many people think, cold brew and iced coffee are not the same. Cousins, yes, but not identical twins. The difference between cold brew and iced coffee is straightforward: cold brew is brewed with cold water, while iced coffee is brewed with hot water and then chilled down with ice.
The taste of cold brew is pretty unique – it’s not all about temperature. Heat affects the flavour compounds in coffee, so brewing with cold water gives a different flavour that’s sweeter, smoother and less acidic than hot coffee.
Tangent over. Let’s get to the brews!
Immersion Cold Brew
If you’ve made a cold brew at home, this is probably the method you used. The idea is simple: you just add cold water to ground coffee and let them sit together for a day or so before drinking. You can use any vessel you have to hand – cafetière, AeroPress, jam jar, bucket, old sock (maybe not). Is cold brewing really your thing? Great stuff! Pop this Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot in your shopping basket for a seriously select summer drink.
Immersion cold brewing is easy, whichever device you use. Because hard work is banned in the heat, right? As well as the faff-free method, cold brewing this way gives you a cool cup that’s low in acidity and naturally sweet. Top marks for health, too: cold brew coffee is just as healthy as its hot counterpart. Its natural sweetness means you’re less likely to need sugar, too.
So, how do you chill out your coffee with a cold brew? For all cold brew methods, you’ll need to start with a higher coffee-to-water ratio. For an immersion cold brew coffee, we’d recommend a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:10. If you’re using a standard eight-cup cafetière, trying using 100g of coffee for one litre of water. Stir the coffee and cold water together and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. Plunge when needed, or grab some filter paper if you’ve used a jar. Try adding milk and ice to taste, or get adventurous with flavoured syrups. Oh la la!
Japanese-style Iced Coffee
The Japanese-style iced coffee is a bit of an outsider because it’s brewed hot (rebel) but isn’t really an iced coffee, either. But hey-ho, it’s delicious, whichever category it falls in!
Japanese iced coffee is the easiest way to brew a flash chill coffee – that is, coffee brewed hot and then cooled very quickly. For one or two cups, you’ll need 20g of coffee and 100g of ice. There are various ways to brew Japanese iced coffee but using a Chemex or V60 is a great starter. Put your pour-over head on and brew as you would usually, just with lots of ice in the vessel below. This way, the strong, hot coffee chills and dilutes as it’s poured over the ice.
Need cool coffee right away? The Japanese-style iced coffee is the best cold brewing method for you. You’re also onto a winner if you find immersion cold brews lacking a bit of vibrancy. Because you’re brewing with hot water, you’re still extracting the compounds and acids in the coffee. This gives you a cup that’s brighter and fresher – a little more like one of our lighter roast coffees, perhaps. The quick brew-chill-done method also gives you a just-made freshness that’ll leave you coming back for more.
Cold Drip Brew
Roll up your sleeves because we’re taking a cold brew workout. Cold drip brewing is perhaps the most labour and time-intensive of all the cold brew methods. It’s not exactly the Usain Bolt of cold brewing – it’ll take you over 24 hours to make a cup. Specialist cold drip devices work by drip, drip, dripping cold water over coffee at a rate of about 40 to 60 drips per minute. The final cup will be beautifully complex and fuller in body than other cold brew methods, with starburst notes of fruit and flowers.
Watching that drip is seriously hypnotic, too. #asmr
So, cold coffee lover, put the shop-bought cans back in the fridge, because you can make the best cold brew coffee at home!
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