There’s nothing more charming than waking up to a steaming, hot cup of coffee when the temperature outside is about 34 degrees Celsius. A nice hot breeze blows across your face,your palms are clammy from the film of sweat thanks to the hot cup and, your eyebrows and cheeks are developing tiny beads of uncomfortable perspiration. Right? Wrong! With summer throwing unbearable temperatures at us, sometimes as much as we’d love to dive straight into a cup of coffee soon after waking up, the very thought of a steaming hot liquid to add to an already warm morning is not the most appealing idea to start a day.
Enter stage left, the summertime superhero for coffee lovers. Is it an espresso? Is it a cappuccino? No… It’s the Cold Brew Coffee! And it’s taking the world by storm. Coffee that has been brewed cold, and is served with ice or simply off the refrigerator. You get everything that you’re looking for in your morning cup of coffee – the flavour, the aroma, the body, the caffeine… everything but the high temperature.
While cold brew coffee in principle is not exactly a new phenomenon, it has gained popularity the world over in the last 10 years. That’s the last 10 summers to be precise. What apparently began in Japan a few centuries ago (legend has it that the Japs learnt it from dutch traders, don’t ask who the dutch traders got it from) is now common practice in a lot of cafes across the USA.
The Kyoto drip filter is high up on the list of precision equipment for brewing cold brew coffee. Clean, filtered water is allowed fall drop by drop into a chamber containing freshly ground coffee powder, one drop per second. And about 8-15 excruciatingly slow hours later (only if you’re watching) a beautiful, fully developed cold brew awaits you in the bottom chamber. The device looks a little like the Hario Syphon, only a lot more steampunk.
However, an easier (much easier!) way to do it at home is to simply allow the coffee grounds to stay in contact with filtered water in the refrigerator for between 12 – 24 hours, and then pour off the brew using any effective filtration method.
The cold brew coffee that you get using this method is a nice, full bodied liquid, with a very mild and refreshing acidity, a roasty sweetness and all of the nuances that the bean you’ve used to create this will present. Since the coffee has not been heat-extracted, it is also said to keep ‘alive’ in a far more efficient way all the good things that coffee does to you. In many cafes in the west, strangely a small portion of chicory is added to the cold brew to enhance flavor and help cut through any added milk or sugar more effectively. But for the die-hard coffee-folk that would be an absolute no-no.
This video will in 60 seconds take you through the extremely simple method of making cold brew. The whole process, nevertheless takes a minimum of 12 hours to complete – a truly fruitful 12 hours!
For the proportions, we’re looking at roughly 1 part of coffee powder to 8 parts of water. The coffee used in this video is the very elegant single estate Arabica from The Flying Squirrel.The grind size should be a medium coarse – a little like breadcrumbs. If the grind size is too coarse, you will be left with a lighter brew, and if it is too fine, you will have yourself a cloudy cup. To brew, preferably use a glass jar as the smell of plastic could add some unnecessary notes to your cold-brew. Cover the brewing container well so that when you store the same in the refrigerator you aren’t inviting any palak paneer or aloo jeera aromas into the brew. And when straining out, use a wet paper filter or whatever clean muslin cloth that’s available at home. The grinds? Great for you home plants, one spoon in each pot.
Cold brew coffee is a gentle form of brewing. The acidity in this coffee is very low and hence the brew if stored well can stay in your refrigerator for upto a month!
Make a batch a week, and stay cool and caffeinated all summer long. Happy brewing.
To buy freshly roasted and ground coffee powder to give your cold brew the perfect balance of sweetness, aroma and body,go here.