Cold Brew: A Trip to the Dark Side

Why Cold Brew?

With the weather turning warmer, we are turning towards iced coffee. There are a plethora of cold coffees out there, but one of my favorites is cold brewed. Cold brewed coffee is made with a darker roast and has a very different and distinct profile, accenting the richer undertones of the roast, giving you a completely different experience than its traditionally brewed hot counterparts.

The Difference

Cold brewed coffee acquires its different profile from the brewing process. Instead of brewing quickly with hot water, it’s brewed slowly with cold water. This process extracts less acids (making it easier on your stomach), leaving you with richer underlying flavors like chocolate or black fig, without highlighting brighter flavors like lemon or green apple. The result, is a rich, full-bodied, and refreshing warm-weather beverage.

The Process

You can make cold brewed coffee easily at home. Start with dark roast coffee beans, preferably a blend with several different origins to give you a diverse cup with lots of flavors. Use a 1:1 ratio, 1 pound of grounds to 1 gallon of clean filtered water for a large batch, 1/4 pound of grounds to 1 quart of water for smaller batches. Grind the beans coarsely and add them to room temperature water in a glass container. Keep your brew at room temp and out of direct sunlight for 12 hours for a ready to drink cold brew or 24 hours for a concentrate (get more for you money with the concentrate). After the brewing process, strain through a tight metal mesh strainer, paper filter, or cheese cloth. If you have a french press, you could make your cold brew in it, simplifying the whole process and making the clean up easier. If you made the 24 hour concentrate, you will need to cut it with more water. I like a 2:1 ratio, 2 parts cold brew to one part water, but add water in small amounts until it’s right for your palate. Store your cold brew in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to a month if well sealed.

The Conclusion

Cold brewed coffee is a nice change for the warmer times of the year and gives you new flavor profiles to explore. It can be surprisingly smooth. Try it straight over ice or add cream and some of your favorites from the pantry, like cinnamon or nutmeg, for a spicy and refreshing drink. It’s easy to make, so grab your favorite mason jar and get brewing!

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