Going by coffee trends, the cold brew movement is one of the more recent ones to go mainstream. Acclaimed for its palatable and clean finish in Instagram-friendly glass bottles, cold brew coffee is offered year-round at commercial Starbucks chains to minimalist neighbourhood cafes.
For many coffee drinkers, a bottle of chilly cold brew is a refreshing caffeinated pick-me-up in the scorching Malaysian weather.
What’s The Difference Between Cold Brew Coffee And Iced Coffee?
While cold brew is essentially cold coffee, it’s not the same as iced coffee. What separates the two lies in the brewing process. Iced coffee is hot coffee served cold over ice or after refrigeration. Conversely, cold brew coffee is intentionally engineered to serve cold. This is done by steeping coarsely-grounded coffee beans in cold water for 12 to 24 hours.
This process brings out the complexity of the coffee beans while reducing the overall acidity of the brew. The result is a silkier and less bitter coffee concoction that is mixed with cold water or fresh milk.
Why Is Cold Brew Coffee More Expensive Than Regular Coffee?
You’ve most likely noticed that cold brew coffee is more expensive than its caffeinated counterparts, and there are several reasons for that. For one thing, making cold brew coffee is a time-consuming endeavour. There are no shortcuts.
While an iced coffee can be made rather quickly by chilling freshly brewed coffee with ice, cold brewing is a delicate process that takes hours. What’s more, because there’s no heat involved, you need more coffee grounds to extract the flavours.
Thankfully, the brewing process is not as complicated as it is time-consuming. You just need patience and a handful of items.
Before You Brew, You Need To First Prepare The Beans
Pick Your Preferred Roast
Light or dark roast? As a general rule of thumb, the darker the roast, the more intense the flavour. While light roast beans are milder, they have higher caffeine levels. If you’re not sure where to start, you can grab a bag of beans from your cafe. Most baristas are happy to tell you the roast they use and explain its flavour profiles, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Make Sure To Grind The Beans Coarsely
A fine grind can slip through the sieve during the filter process, leaving you with a batch of grainy and gritty brew. To avoid this, ensure you grind the beans coarsely. Once again, if you’re not confident about this step, kindly request your local friendly baristas to grind the beans like how they would for their own brew.
Here’s How To Make Cold Brew
American chef Joshua Weissman uses two brewing methods, both are simple enough to replicate at home. So simple he calls it “The Easiest Cold Brew Ever”. With fewer than five steps in each method, we agree.
For both methods, you’ll need either a coffee sock or a pour-over dripper with filter paper, a Mason jar, and a measuring cup. Of course, freshly ground coffee beans of your choice.
Your brew ratio—that is the coffee to water proportions—largely depends on personal taste and preference. The general consensus is that a 1:5 proportion of coffee and water creates a well-balanced brew.
How Long Does Cold Brew Last In The Fridge?
Now that you know how to make cold brew, it’s equally important to know how to store it. The good news is that cold brew coffee lasts longer than regular coffee. Its longer shelf life is why cafes would usually make big batches and store them for weeks.
Generally, you should consume cold brew within the first week after production. It can last for as long as two weeks if bottled, but the taste is prone to becoming stale. Any longer than two weeks, you risk mould and other nasty things appearing in your concoction. Yuck.
Finally, never store your finished cold brew at room temperature.
Kickstart Your Day With A Delicious Homemade Cold Brew Coffee
For many people, coffee is an essential commodity. It’s what they need to kickstart a busy day, before an important meeting, or when hitting pressing deadlines. While regular store-bought cold brew coffee is convenient, it can be heavy on the wallet and the fact that you can’t tailor the taste to your liking can be a bummer as well.
Now that you know how to make cold brew, why not give it a try? It’s an economical way to stay caffeinated without compromising on taste and quality. But hey, if you prefer your cuppa in the presence of relaxing lo-fi music and tasteful furniture at these cafes, that’s great too!