With the advent of craft breweries and specialty wines, coffee has not been forgotten. Those with a refined palate are now turning to a new way to brew.
Cold brewed coffee is a method of brewing that uses cold or room temperature water instead of hot water. Best understood as a summer drink, the benefits to a cold brew exceed its temperature.
“Cold brew really exposes what kind of beans you have,” said Shane Krueger, barista at Bearded Heart Coffee in Baileys Harbor. “You get all the flavors of the bean without it being covered up by the acidity that’s caused by pouring the hot water through the grounds.”
Cold brewed coffee has only one third of the acidity of a standard cup of brewed coffee. Most people with heartburn can point to coffee as a trigger and consuming acidic foods and drinks can have other adverse health effects.
But let’s say you are in perfect health despite the coffee cups that litter your desk. If you really want to know what a good cup of coffee is, and drink a cup too, it’s time to turn to cold brew.
When coffee grounds sit in cold or room temperature water for several hours, it draws out the true flavor profile of the coffee bean. You can actually taste the chocolate, fruit and spices that it says on the bag but you have never been able to truly taste. In traditionally brewed coffee, hot water zaps the grounds so quickly that there is no time for the beans to marinate and for the full flavors to come through.
“We use the Creamery blend from Ruby because it’s a nicely balanced blend of beans,” said Krueger, adding that blended beans from many regions thrive in a cold brew system because the tasting notes are balanced. “But obviously it’s personal taste. If you’re making smaller batches, you
may like single origin bags.”
Bearded Heart is working with Ruby Coffee Roasters in Nelsonville, Wisconsin to create a new roast of coffee beans used specifically for cold brewed coffee.
How to Cold Brew
Although cold brewing takes longer than traditional coffee brewing, the process is simple.
- Put four to five ounces of coffee grounds in a French press or Mason jar.
- Add four cups of cold water and mix together.
- Seal the jar and leave at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
- Strain the coffee into a pitcher through the French press or using a coffee filter.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to five days.
Your cold brew will be very concentrated, making it great for iced coffee by adding cream or water over ice. The lower acidity levels make the coffee more accessible to people who prefer plenty of cream and sugar for their coffee to cut the bitterness.
If you still want a hot cup of coffee with the low acidity and deep flavor of a cold brew, simply add hot water in proportion to the concentrated cold brew and enjoy.