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Senior Member

Joined: 16 Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: DeLonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Wed Mar 19, 2014, 11:15am
Subject: Cold Brew

I haven't seen much talk about this, but cold brew is something I discovered recently and was blown away by. Locally, we have a kombucha maker called "House Kombucha" that made the most smooth, delicious, and strong cold brew I've ever had.

After doing some research, it seems like this isn't something that's too popular, but very simple to do. After finding a few links, it seems that the method is as follows:

  1. Coarse grind
  2. Put grounds in a nut milk bag
  3. Put bag in a pitcher and use about a 1:5 ratio coffee to water
  4. Let it soak for 12-14 hours in fridge
  5. Empty bag after soaking and you're left with a concentrate to mix with water or milk

The first few times I tried was before I got my grinder, so I just used my espresso grinds, which left a very acidic taste that was too sour to drink.

After my latest attempt last night with a coarser grind was great! It tasted a lot lighter and fruity with a coffee aftertaste, without any acidic tones. In the end, I'm still looking to get the right color and strength of my House Kombucha experience.

Has anyone else try making cold brew? If so, share your notes!
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Senior Member

Joined: 21 Mar 2014
Posts: 2
Location: uk
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Mar 21, 2014, 12:25pm
Subject: Re: Cold Brew

there was a pretty useful post on home barista i found about cold brewing and extraction ratios.
i used the inverted areopress method he mentions, 1:5 coffee ratio, and it turns out quite well.

"by Netphilosopher on Jul 29, 2011, 11:06 pm
Hey all. I've experimented with strength measurements (dehydration method) and cold brewed coffee. Saw this thread and thought I'd throw my $0.02 into the mix.

What I've found is the strength goes up but the extraction goes down with increasing brew ratio. Three examples of measured brews were a 15%, a 21% and a 35% brew ratio, fairly fine grind (equivalent Ditting 6) with a 24 hour contact time in the fridge. After contact time, the brews were Aeropressed to separate the grounds, then grounds dried in a 215F oven to determine extraction. I also have done multiple extraction measurements where I fully evaporate the produced beverage to confirm transfer of all solids, and duplicated the 21% brew ratio and evaporated the results to re-confirm that the dried grounds method is still sound.

The results were:

15% brew ratio, 17.2% extraction, 3.6% strength.
21% brew ratio, 16.4% extraction, 5.1% strength.
35% brew ratio, 14% extraction, 10% strength.

I did drink the results too. The coffee was self-roasted Panama to Full City, nice slightly fruity (apple) moderate brightness, some malt and nutty tones, with a slight nutmeg finish and medium body - when brewed normal temperature.

When brewed cold, the fruit and any potential brightness was completely absent. The malty flavors and nutshell essence became more evident with the higher brew ratio. 15% brew ratio had very muted brightness, but the 35% underextracted brew was somewhat pungent, sour (definitely not bitter) with a very 'off' flavor profile and creeping tones of molasses and pecan. Interesting was that the 35% brew ratio SPENT GROUNDS were very nicely fragrant after dehydration - meaning it still had stuff in it that just wasn't extracted.

The best of all of these was by far the 15% brew ratio. Cold brewing doesn't seem to be able to exceed much more than 17% extraction. The produced concentrate is about double strength of normal coffee and works well for coffee drinks.

I since went on with the 15% brew ratio method, and brewed six or seven different coffees that I had on hand, from *$s Pike Place, a Guat I had (Caribou IIRC), even Dunkin' Donuts and some Eight o Clock Columbia. These SHOULD have tasted significantly different, but the varietal character was pretty much wiped out (or never extracted) by cold brewing it, and they all became very similar in flavor profile, almost to the point of being indistinguishable.

As always with coffee, YMMV - just sharing what I've found. I've finished looking at cold brewing and figure I spend way too much time roasting, perfecting coffee brewing, and tasting coffee to leave chunks of the varietal character behind when I have so many other choices in methods to brew excellent coffee. Cold brewing is a great way to take something like a blueberry-like experience of an Ethiopia Harar or Yirg - and end up with something that tastes like very nicely brewed but low complexity Colombia.

BTW - if I need concentrated coffee for some recipe, I produce a nice 5% strength coffee using 22.5g of coffee and 125g of water brewed in an inverted Aeropress with 1-to 1 1/2 minute contact time and 200-205F water. I just put it in a sealed container and it goes into the fridge as is. The varietal character is all there, and is WONDERFUL on ice cream, or used in a diluted iced coffee drink. It appears to store as well as cold brewed coffee but if kept sealed in the fridge, will still contain a ton of the varietal character even several days later (which will NOT be present in the cold brewed coffee). I can also use it as a pre-brewed "semi-instant" by making it the night before, diluting with the proper amount of hot water the next morning. I've stored the hot brewed concentrate right next to the cold brew, and have played the "blind taste test" game with several people - they can hardly believe they are the same coffee. One is smooth and nutty and fairly nondistinct, the other has all kinds of flavor tones and character - and you can guess which one is which."
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Senior Member

Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,683
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Mar 21, 2014, 5:57pm
Subject: Re: Cold Brew

Cold Brew
We did some research and found that nearly everyone who didn't have a cold-dripper -- including some serious coffee mavens -- thought they were a huge waste of money; while everyone who had one -- including some equally serious coffee mavens -- thought they were great.  

The Yama certainly looks cool.  Thursday was a great day on the market for Linda and me, so we figured what the heck and ordered a Yama 1L (aka 32oz aka 6 - 8 cup) cold drip tower through Amazon.  I'll talk about it here and/or H-B while I'm getting it under control, and post a review here once it's performing up to its potential.  

FWIW, I've also heard that a 15% brew ratio is pretty good, so that's where we'll start.  

Kombucha is its own animal.  I don't think you can compare coffee made with kombucha to coffee made without, and talk about much besides the kombucha.  Since the conversation immediately switched to "real" coffee, this thread is officially declared HIJACKED.

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Senior Member

Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,600
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: CC1
Grinder: Baratza
Posted Fri Mar 21, 2014, 6:16pm
Subject: Re: Cold Brew

I actually made some cold brew in jars other day. Ball Pint jars, water, then ground some beans up and put the grounds in. Let it steep overnight then stuck in fridge, filtered out the grinds by ghetto rigging a filter over a large container kinda like pour over lol, and did that for each jar with a fresh filter. Forget the ratios, wrote it down somewhere but damn it came out good and refreshing.
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Senior Member
Joined: 2 Jan 2010
Posts: 149
Location: california
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: stovetop pots,aeropress
Grinder: skerton, SoloGrind
Drip: melitta cone, chemex
Posted Fri Mar 21, 2014, 8:24pm
Subject: Re: Cold Brew

Thanks for the tip about using a nut milk bag.  I didn't know such a thing existed until I looked it up. Doesn't it get discolored/stained permanently?  For the prices that came up for it, I'd want to get more than a couple uses out of it.  I'd think it should last as long as a coffee sock.

The topic of cold brew comes up frequently enough on coffeegeek and is easily found with the search link or with google.  I know I've posted my method 3-5 times since I joined.  I am in the group who thinks that buying cold brewers are a waste of money when all you need is a big jar.

Your ratio of 1:5 coffee to water sounds weak for my taste.  Cold brew tends to mute flavors and acidity, so if you're going to add milk all you taste is milk.  But each to his own, if that's the ratio you like no one's going to say you're wrong.
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Senior Member

Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Mar 22, 2014, 7:29am
Subject: Re: Cold Brew

arrrmand Said:

I haven't seen much talk about this ... After doing some research, it seems like this isn't something that's too popular.

Posted March 19, 2014 link

Where did you do your research?  Searching "cold brew" in this subsection of the forum ( 'Machines and Brewing Methods") yields 12,000 hits.  There are 200 in 'Coffee Recipes'.  Not to stifle you, please contribute.  But this has been well-published here and elesewhere and opinions and advice abound for your and everyone else's benefit.

wabbitt Said:

The topic of cold brew comes up frequently enough on coffeegeek and is easily found with the search link or with google.  I know I've posted my method 3-5 times since I joined.

Posted March 21, 2014 link

Sorry wabbit.  din't mean to run over you.  Didn't see the wabbit.
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