Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cold Brew Coffee: Attempt # 1

My fiancee was complaining about coffee withdrawal. And one thing we share is a love for good coffee. But doctor's orders. But I half remember that there is a way to make less acidic coffee. And a bit of research revealed cold brew coffee.

The basic premise is the acids and oils are extracted from the coffee bean by the hot water in the brewing process. But cold water will still extract the coffee flavor, without the acids and oils. It just takes a little longer. Like hours instead of minutes. Now, you could buy the Toddy system (created by a guy named Tod) that does this. But that just seems silly. So I figured I'd use my french press for this. Because that is what a french press does, allow ground coffee to soak in water. And I could sacrifice use of my french press for a day. After all, it is going for a good cause.

1. Grind coffee on coarse (i.e. French Press style) for 6 cups worth. I was using Agate Pass Blend from Grounds for Change (a medium-roast bean)
2. Add 1/3 of the ground coffee to the French Press. Add water and ensure that the ground coffee is soaking (i.e. not clumping). Wait 5 minutes
3. Repeat (2). Wait 5 minutes and repeat again with the remainder of the coffee and fill the French Press beaker. If needed, mix gently to ensure the coffee is soaking.
4. Cover press and set aside at room temperature. Time 8:38 AM.
5. Time 10:30 PM. Use French press to separate out the grounds. Pour coffee concentrate into Lexan bottle. Yields 700 ml of concentrate. Refridgerate (for storage. If this was morning, I would have a cup and store the remainder.)

First batch of cold brew coffee

The next morning I made myself two test cups of coffee. The first cup was done at 1 part coffee to 2 parts water (that had been brought to a boil.)

Cold brew coffee 1 to 2

It was ok. Like normal drip coffee (which I find to be weak).

So next I tried again, at 1 part coffee to 1 part water.

Cold brew 1 to 1

Well, this did taste ok. But a bit cold. Next time I should heat up the coffee concentrate first, to make it warmer.

Trial #2


So, after delivering batch #1, try again. This time I set the grinder on a setting halfway between what I use for drip and what I use for French Press.

Brew from 6:00 PM to 7:15 AM. Since it is a finer grind, pour the concentrate through a filter to strain out the silt. This time I filled the French Press up a bit higher so it yielded 800 ml of concentrate.

Prepare at 1 to 1, first microwaving the concentrate before adding the hot water.

It is a decent cup of coffee. Very smooth. Not as flavorful as I would like, but that is probably because of the oils and acids not being in the coffee.

Supposedly, cold brewing coffee yields 1/3 the acidity of drip coffee and people whose stomachs are affected by drip coffee can take this. Hopefully the customer is happy.
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