Why Cold Brew?

By Matthew Yglesias

My post on cold-brewed iced coffee attracted more attention than I was expecting, so I thought I should reply to a few frequently seen queries.

ONE: Why not just make a pot of coffee and stick it in the fridge? If you ask me, this tastes gross. But if you like it, go for it.

TWO: Why not just make some unusually strong coffee (double the beans, halve the water) and then pour the hot stuff directly onto ice? This works fine and tastes fine. I just don’t think it tastes as good. The hot-brewing process and the cold-brewing process produce a different flavor; in particular, cold-brew is less bitter and the generic “coffee” taste winds up being somewhat muted relative to the particular flavor associated with the beans you’re using. I also like that with cold brew I can keep a pitcher in my fridge for a few days.

THREE: Why not follow the procedure I outlined, but do it in a French press and use the press for the straining step? That’s probably a good idea! I just don’t have a French press so I’ve never tried it. I have, however, resolved to buy a French press at some point in the future.


7 responses to “Why Cold Brew?

  1. Oh the french press method works fabulously well! I could not agree with you more on the wonders of cold brewing. It tastes almost like chocolate to me when it is done…absolutely wonderful.

  2. To answer a question asked on the last post, cold pressed coffee can keep for more than a week on the countertop, and longer in the fridge.

    With regards to the french press, I would usually grind my beans too fine for use with a french press; if you use a rough grind, try letting the grounds “soak” for 24 instead of 12 hours. The larger grind means less surface area and a slower brewing rate.

    All this said, after a while I started to miss the bitter flavor of hot-brewed coffee. It was just too easy to throw back 5 cups worth of highly caffeinated cold-press.

  3. Also, there’s no need to spend money on a pesky coffee maker!

  4. The hot water cooks the beans, where the cold water just absorbs the flavor. Cold brew is far less acidic, which is a complaint I hear about coffee all the time.

    I love using a French Press for this. I put the rough-ground beans in the glass French Press, pour cold water over it, and wrap the top in plastic wrap. Leave the press part out, until you’re ready to use it. And if you are as hooked on it as I am, buy a 2nd French Press, so you can always have some on hand. I usually make it in the morning, and leave it sitting for 24 hours, though 12 hours seems to be just fine, too.

  5. Pingback: Iced, Iced Coffee « The Internet Food Association

  6. Cold brewing extracts different chemicals from the beans.

    Soluble organic chemicals are extremely temperature sensitive, and you get _different_ (not necessarily better or worse. Well, worse to me) chemicals when you are not at about 200 degrees F (usually cited as the optimum extraction temp)

    Coffee incites passion just as tax policy does. Check out Home Bartista (http://www.home-barista.com/) or CoffeeGeel (www.coffeegeek.com) for some of the technical dope.

    But if you like cold brewed coffee, that means you like the chemicals that come out in cold water. More power to you. Enjoy what you like. It is a big world.

  7. Pingback: Iced, Iced Coffee | kashwaynepromotion.com

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