Hmmm. Maybe I should pull my aeropress off the shelf. I have to admit that, after a flurry of use, it's been sitting and I've simply been using my Valentina. Also must agree with the comments about cold-brew. This seems to be a hot brew into a cold container.
Sorry I am going to be off-topic here. Just a question for Mark. I wanted to ask your opinion on the value of some apparently rare Illy cups I got recently. I tried your coffeegeek email address without success. Any other way to reach you without creating a post?
Nice article - the Aeropress is a wonderfully useful device, and I use it almost daily. Your comment: "Why would you sweeten any cup of coffee?" finally got me to post a reply, after seeing this debated often in the forums. Just to preface my comments, I will say that I have been home roasting for years, and am completely familiar with various origins, types, and roast levels. I am experienced with espresso and with other methods of preparation. The issue is, simply, that I am quite sensitive to bitterness, and coffee - no matter how it is roasted or prepared - is bitter and unbalanced. Sugar brings all of the flavor elements into alignment and transforms it completely. The situation is exactly the same with chocolate - a complex flavor that is much improved with sweetening. Unsweetened chocolate or cocoa is unpalatable. I have often seen it commented, regarding a particular coffee or espresso, that "there was no bitterness at all." For me, that is not possible. This extends to other foods that might be bitter. 1/4 of the population are 'supertasters' - those with a higher than usual number of taste buds. This is not always an asset, since it can result in exaggerated and skewed taste perceptions. Another 1/2 of the population have an average perception of taste, and 1/4 are 'hypotasters', who have a relative deficiency in taste detection and discrimination. Keep in mind that taste is not the same as flavor (taste + olfaction). It may be, that among coffee drinkers who reject sugar, that a disproportionate number are hypotasters, and relatively few are supertasters. This would not be hard to study, and someone should undertake to do this, since it would be useful information.
Before anyone starts to type a message criticizing the above, keep in mind that the chemical senses (taste and smell) are highly individual, and extremely variable. This can be demonstrated objectively using chemical taste tests. I have seen many posts stating that coffee should not have sugar added, and the writers of these posts often take a superior position. Those who prefer sugar generally don't seem to look down upon those who don't use it. In summary, for many serious coffee drinkers, the only way to drink it is with sugar, and this does not indicate a lack of sophistication with regard to appreciating subtleties of flavor; it is a difference in physiology and perception, much of which is genetically determined.
On semantics - I was keenly aware, when writing it, that some would get confused by "cold brewed coffee". But this is a cold, brewed coffee ;) In other words, it is a brewed coffee that you drink cold. I worked around with the wording a bit yesterday afternoon, and found the apostrophe screwed with the flow of the sentences and might confuse some, so I removed it. I considered "iced coffee", "iced brewed coffee" and "brewed coffee served cold" but again, they either didn't work in some cases or screwed up the flow of the sentences.
On sugar - all brewed coffee has some level of bitters. For many people, there are good bitters and bad bitters. I think when coffee people say "it had no bitterness at all", they are probably (mistakenly) isolating on what they consider bad bitters. According to the SCAA / WBC test I did, I'm apparently a super taster, but I'm not personally (over)affected by bitter substances or elements in food or drink, though I can spot them a mile away.
I do notice the impact of sweetness at different temperatures. There seems to be a wave in the perception curve for me:
At 180F - some sweets hard to perceive (in very minute amounts, say 1-2ml slurped in a cupping spoon, cools rapidly) At 160-170F (edge of my ability to hold a hot liquid in my mouth at small amounts) I can perceive sweets much better At 120-140F - sweetness in coffee and espresso is probably at its zenith in terms of perceived taste. At 90-100F - can perceive max sweetness in milk. Once it is hotter than this, the lactose is burned off (mainly talking about milk foam here) At 90-120F - can perceive sweetness in brewed coffee and espresso, but not as well as at hotter temps. At 70F (room temperature), sweets seem to turn to sours for me in brewed coffee and espresso At 40F (warmer end of refrigerator temperatures), very difficult to perceive any sweetness in brewed coffee that was brewed hot; can still perceive lots of sweets in low-acid brewing methods like toddy and ice-drip. At 35F (serving temps with ice) cannot perceive sweetness in coffee brewed traditionally - and get less in low-acid brewing methods.
Mark I love this succinct write up and amazing photos of the process. Sadly I wished you would have included WEIGHT for water used. I tend to weigh everything these days as its more accurate in my opinion.
On semantics - I was keenly aware, when writing it, that some would get confused by "cold brewed coffee". But this is a cold, brewed coffee ;) In other words, it is a brewed coffee that you drink cold. I worked around with the wording a bit yesterday afternoon, and found the apostrophe screwed with the flow of the sentences and might confuse some, so I removed it. I considered "iced coffee", "iced brewed coffee" and "brewed coffee served cold" but again, they either didn't work in some cases or screwed up the flow of the sentences....
I think the new term you're looking for might be what's starting to be called "flash brewed". This is coffee ultimately drunk "iced" and "cold" but brewed more than normal strength, hot temperature, and usually where the brewed hot coffee is dispensed directly into an iced container onto the ice (but not always).
George Howell has their recipe for flash brewed or iced coffee, parameters are very similar with different device (pourover) Click Here (web1.how2heroes.com) . Kevin Knox in "Coffee Basics" mentions using twice normal brew ratio in a press pot and normal brewing temp to create a concentrate for coffee drinks or iced coffee. I've done this and ended up with a 2.6% strength very nice concentrated coffee that makes very good coffee-based drinks.
As I think we all know, "Cold Brewed" Coffee (which to me means coffee brewed with the contact water <100°F over a long period of time) is stronger than normal brewed coffee, generally 2 - 3 times as strong, and does not have enough energy to get full extraction (and so misses extraction of varietal character like brightness and full fruit or floral notes).
Some commonalities I've seen across the many recipes for "iced coffee":
-Initial coffee poured on ice is much stronger than normal coffee. Actual strength varies from recipe to recipe, but seems to be between 2.5% to as high as 5%. I call this 'coffee concentrate', and it may be brewed cold or hot, and in most any device.
-The coffee concentrate is mixed with lots of ice. The ending diluted drink ranges in strength but is usually stronger than normal coffee even when the ice melts.
I personally prefer coffee concentrate brewed hot and poured over ice for "iced coffee", (like your AP recipe) as opposed to cold brewed coffee poured over ice for "iced coffee". Some people just brew normal coffee and pour it over ice, but the result is something that is just really weak cold coffee. Others I've known pull an espresso shot or double (somewhere between 5% and 10% strength), might or might not slightly make it into a very strong Americano (again, about 2.5% strength) and pour it over ice for a great "iced coffee".
I also generally prefer hot-brewed but cooled coffee concentrate added to ice. The coffee flavor stays longer (because the lower temperature retards the ice melting and stays less diluted longer) for extended sipping time, but if you sweeten it with granular sugar this can be a hassle trying to get it to dissolve.
Termwise, I think the term "iced coffee" inherently gets at the form in which the drink is consumed. When you put the term "brew" into the title, unless you're brewing with <100°F water and long contact time, it shouldn't be "cold brew" IMHO. If you are referring to the brewing method but you want to identify the "twist" in the recipe (dispensing directly onto ice in a cup), I do think "flash brew" is an accurate way of describing both the brew and the consumed drink and the recipe in general.
I did a quick check of the article, if you replace the word "cold brew" with "flash brewed", it reads fine IMO. You might want to have a quick and simple definition of this newer term should you choose to use it.
BTW - I'm not being critical of the recipe - it's awesome, and your writeup is excellent as well. Just thought the term is confusing and I'm suggesting a term that is both new and descriptive.
------------------------------------------ ----------------------------------------- Le café doit être noir comme le diable, chaud comme l'enfer, pur comme un ange, et doux comme l'amour.
"There is no right answer with coffee. There is only the elixir in your cup at the moment you partake."
"...I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind;..." - Lord Kelvin RECIPES thread => http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/585708
Symbols: = New Posts since your last visit = No New Posts since last visit = Newest post
Forum Rules: No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards. No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum. No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum. Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards. Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics. Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies. Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies. Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts. Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.