MrPotter Senior Member Joined: 19 Nov 2012 Posts: 15 Location: California Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Nov 21, 2012, 3:41pm Subject: Cold Brew Coffee
I just recently tried my first cup of cold brewed coffee and really loved it. I'm still trying to understand the process though...I understand that it just "steeps" at room temperature for approximately 12+ hours, but is hot temperature really the only factor that brings out the acidity of the beans in hot brewed coffee? That specific reaction is what I would like to learn more about.
as a newbie myself i hope some of the more knowledgeable members chime in, but here's my $0.02
In my early coffee experience, I have come to realize now, that it is not acidity but bitterness, that I dislike so much, however, both of these "tastes" are part of the profile of the coffee, and when one is out of whack the resulting product is...off
A brewed cup of bitter coffee is due to an unbalance of these profiles, and incomplete extraction of the oils usually due to water that is not hot enough.
Caffeine has very low affinity to the plant matter (on a side note, this is why one is able to decaffeinate tea by up to 80% by throwing away the first bit of water one pours over the tea, without affecting the end product), caffeine is one of the first compounds to be extracted when brewing hot coffee, if however, the water is not hot enough, and the grounds do not have enough time to release their oils, giving you a cup that is off balance. Caffeine is so bitter, in fact, that in laboratory taste tests, is used as a standard for bitterness, but it's not the only reason one tastes bitter in a cup of coffee.
Enter cold brew. The low temperature used prevents caffeine from being rapidly released, and the long exposure allows a lot more of the rounding out characters to leech into the water, and so you end up getting a more rounded up cup. Also, ultimately, hot water is kind of an aggressive approach to extract stuff, and may in fact change some of the chemicals that make up taste. Cold brew is just more gentle.
Personally, I have a love hate relationship with cold brew. It uses entirely too much coffee, I don't have the patience to let coffee sit for however long, and the resulting cup generally fails in comparison to a properly brewed cup of coffee. However, some outstanding fruity beans really, really like cold brew. If you like fruit in your coffee, it's definitely the way to go. But if you end up heating up cold brew coffee, a lot of the benefits of cold brew are then null.
When I want cold coffee I replace half the water by weight with ice in my chemex and proceed.
But of course, at the end of the day it's subjective.
I find that cold brewed coffee to me is kind of a pain to make, but I love drinking it in the summer.
I'm more of an instant gratification kind of guy, and the whole process of letting it steep for 12 hours (or someone recommended 24) just seems like it's more worthwhile for me to go out and buy it than actually make it myself....
Now in terms of acidity, I don't know what to tell you in that regard. To me Cold Brewed coffee, and hot brewed coffee taste much the same to me, but then many have complained I don't have a very sophisticated pallet.
If you enjoy it, more power to you. As with all things, tastes vary. I have tried several different methods of cold brew, for me, even on 110F days, if I am drinking coffee, it is hot, I just don't like the taste of cold coffee. I wish I did, I like Iced Tea and hot tea so I can't really explain why cold coffee does not draw me in. If I let a nice cup of hot coffee cool to less than body temp, I can't drink it YMMV!!!!
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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