Hello, my name is Christina and I’m a coffee snob.
I wasn’t always this way, though. It’s only been the past couple of years that my coffee snobby-ness has gone to a completely new level. I actually didn’t drink coffee/caffeine for about five years after college and still don’t drink it crazy often now, but (in my mind) I know good coffee/espresso when I taste it.
One of the reasons for my snobby-ness is that my North Park neighborhood is quickly becoming not only the biggest beer neighborhood in San Diego, but also a big coffee neighborhood. And, we’re talking good coffee. While we do have one of THOSE popular coffee shops that sell the mochachoco frappalatte type drinks, we have more than a handful of craft coffee shops within a three block radius of one another.
I’m generally a cappuccino gal, but my husband is a cold brew fanatic and has quickly turned me onto the coffee drink that’s the current rage in these parts.
Now, don’t confuse cold brew with iced coffee; cold brew is far superior. While iced coffee is pretty much just pouring hot coffee over ice, cold brew is slightly more time-consuming and uses no heat at all to brew the coffee. The result is a fantastically smooth and refreshing coffee drink with less acidity and bitterness than hot coffee or iced coffee. Case in point, I would never be able to drink a cup of regular ol’ hot coffee because of all the acidity, but could totally drink a cup of cold brew.
I’ve been wanting to make cold brew at home, so my husband doesn’t have to go out and buy it all the time and when I went online to research some recipes, I found that there were lots of differing opinions about the best way to make cold brew. Because I love to recipe test and my dream job would be to work at America’s Test Kitchen, I decided to do my own home experiment and have my husband do a blind taste test to determine which method was the best.
Most recipes were in agreement about how long the coffee should brew and the ratio of grounds to water, but the size of the grounds (coarse or fine) and type of beans (medium roast or dark roast) were up for debate. My four different cold brew batches were 1) fine grounds/medium roast, 2) fine grounds/dark roast, 3) coarse grounds/medium roast and 4) coarse grounds/dark roast.
AND THE WINNER WAS….
Coarse grounds/medium roast!
Fine grounds/dark roast took second and the other two were a distant third and fourth place. The winner was really smooth while the others had quite a bit of bitterness to them which wasn’t super refreshing or something I’d be able to enjoy an entire cup of. What did I do with the non-winning cold brew? I made coffee ice cubes! Yup, just put that extra cold brew in an ice tray to add to future cold brew. The bonus of coffee ice cubes is that when they melt, they won’t water down your drink! Win!
Have you tried cold brew, yet? What are your thoughts?
Cold Brew Coffee
Yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of concentrate
2/3 cup medium-roast coarse coffee grounds (the size you would use if you were brewing coffee in a french press)
3 cups filtered water
NOTE: You’ll also need a jar with an airtight lid large enough to steep your grounds, a strainer and some cheese cloth.
- Place coffee grounds in a large pitcher or jar.
- Slowly add the water to your container.
- Stir gently with a non-metallic spoon (the handle of a wooden spoon works really well) to make sure all of the grounds get soaked in the water. Let sit five minutes, then gently stir again.
- Top the container with a lid and set aside in a cool, dark place (room temperature is what I did) for 24 hours.
- After the coffee grounds have steeped for 24 hours, line a strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and strain your cold brew.
- The liquid you have left is your concentrate! Pour in a new, clean container and store it in the fridge.
- How you enjoy your cold brew is up to you, but I like it over ice with some half and half.