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I saw that Starbucks recently added cold brew coffee to their menu, to the tune of 4 dollars / cup. I wasn’t surprised at the price. But I was surprised that this was on the menu. What does it mean? It means that cold brew coffee has moved out of fad territory, into trend territory. I hate to say it, but when Starbucks adds it to the menu, it is something that is going to be with us for the long run.
I have traditionally drank my coffee hot. Iced coffee never appealed to me, not even in the summer. It just seemed weird that something would taste like coffee, but be so cold. Cold brew coffee, on the other hand, is not iced coffee and shouldn’t be confused. Cold brew coffee means that it was brewed over an extended period of time with room-temperature or cold water. In fact, it can be served hot. “Cold brew” makes reference to how it was brewed, not how it is served.
Naturally, there is all kinds of gear available for you to make excellent cold brew coffee for yourself at home. It would probably be worth it in the long run, rather than to pay 4 dollars per cup. But, I’ll save you even more money. I’ll explain to you how you can make cold brew coffee for yourself at home with nothing more than your french press and typical way of using it.
1) Clean your french press (press pot).
2) Grind your coffee coarse, just as though you were going to brew it in the french press as you normally would. Also grind as much coffee as you normally would, depending on the size of your french press pot.
3) Empty your coarse-ground coffee into the french press.
4) Add filtered room-temperature or cold water to the french press. Use the same amount of water as you normally would, depending on the size of your french press pot.
5) Without pressing the press down, put the french press (with coffee and water together) in the fridge. Leave it there 12 hours.
6) After 12 hours, remove the french press from the fridge, and press the ground coffee and sediment to the bottom of the pot. What you’re left with above the filter is cold-brewed sediment-free coffee.
7) Empty this coffee into another container. I use a mason jar with a screw-lid. Keep that other container in the fridge.
8) Voila! You have a container of cold brew coffee. Serve it on ice.
There are any variations to what I’ve laid out above. Here are some that I’ve become familiar with:
– You can vary between room-temperature and cold water, for brewing. I’ve used cold water. Regardless, I put it in the fridge so it’s going to get cold eventually. That brings me to the next variation – some people do not brew it in the fridge for 12 hours, rather they leave it on the counter to brew at room temperature.
– Try different coffees. The point of cold brew coffee is to mute a lot of the coffee’s acidity, so that its other characteristics can emerge in the cup. The ideal cold brew coffee would be one rich in flavor “hidden” behind a wall of acidity that not everybody likes. The cold brew process mutes that acidity.
– The 12-hour brew time is very subjective. I’ve heard of it brewed as long as 18-24 hours. Experiment with us to decide what you like best. I’ve observed that the longer the brew time, the lighter the color of the coffee.
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