Since graduating, while still drinking coffee for the caffeine, I drink greatly reduced amounts and try to savor my morning beverage of choice. I'm an iced coffee drinker due to the usual constant overheating I faced in the South (and still face during summer or lab days in the North) and so my obsession with anything containing the words iced/cold and coffee began.
I've tried iced coffee at every coffee restaurant/cafe/chain that I've visited. Some are good, some are bad and some are unmemorable. Depending on where I buy iced coffee, I add various degrees of milk/cream and sugar/sweetener/flavor so that I can stomach the bitterness of the coffee as I do not typically like black coffee. Suddenly, as soon as I thought iced coffee was as good as it was going to get, I started noticing small batch cold brew coffee cropping up everywhere -- whether it be in cans in the organic isle or at the farmer's market in Lancaster, PA. At first I had no idea what it was and why it seemed to be gaining traction so I did a little research.
Now bear with me as I am not a food chemist or a coffee brewer/roaster by profession but this is what I found out.
I had always wondered why you can only use coffee grounds once, but can re-steep tea until there is no flavor left in the tea. If you "re-steeped" coffee grounds, you would get a disgusting bitter flavor that was only a shadow of it's previous self. This is due to the beans properties and what we consider coffee (and thus coffee flavor) to be comprised of. This bitterness is the same that is associated with black coffee -- and one of the reasons I always doctor up my coffee -- and is just bound to happen when you heat brew your coffee. Cold brew on the other hand is ground coffee brewed in cold or room temperature water for ~12 hours (typically overnight). The process allows for only the coffee flavor of the bean you want extracted to end up in your final product without the bitterness that comes from leaching out past that flavor. All of this may sound like another way for coffee stores to hike up prices on yet another type of drink, but believe me when I say it's the truth because I can drink cold brew coffee black (as mentioned earlier, this was previously an unspeakable act).
|My OXO Cold Brew System|
|I even started grinding my own beans for superior flavor.|
And now we come to my homemade cold brew. I hate buying coffee every morning just like everyone else -- that money adds up quickly! So I started my journey to the perfect home cold brew system. I started with a Nalgene and coffee filters. This worked well enough but was both messy and time consuming. Not to mention sometimes the final product had a little bit more grit to it than I wanted. Finally I bit the bullet and bought a cold brew system on Amazon (http://goo.gl/iIFyvx). I picked this system because 1) it's OXO and I trust them and 2) it allows the grounds to spread out in the water and thus give the best coffee flavor possible (something I learned from Teavana and their Perfect Tea Maker strategy). It came with a recipe book and it gives me a cold brew coffee concentrate that lasts me a full week. Each morning I dilute a cap's worth with milk (because regardless of brew, I've found out I like a milky coffee) and I'm good to go. Delicious, perfect cold brew. If you are currently a coffee drinker and have grounds, coffee filters and sealable container you should cold brew some coffee tonight for your Monday morning routine. Trust me, you won't regret it!