Alright folks, here we go.....we delve into the world of Cold Brew, because you have asked. First my thoughts: I am not a fan. Period. This is for many reasons....mostly however is that I am a fan of hot drinks, not cold. I love you for loving cold coffee but I am not taken by this love.
Coffee for me is HOT. So with immersion or cold drip coffee methods you are making a product that will be in the future mixed with hot water in some ratio to make your 'fresh' coffee. Trouble is, for me, that even at a conservative 3:1 hot to cold re-constitution rate, the cup is simply not hot enough to 'nurse'. If the prepared hot cup were to be enjoyed right away, it might work, but for me there is not enough heat. Simple math: 25% of the mix is cold to begin with, particularly if, as you should be doing, the concentrate is kept refrigerated. That's 40 degrees being mixed with 3 parts boiling water, so it averages just 169 degrees or so. OK to enjoy right away MAYBE but certainly not to enjoy with the newspaper for more than a few minutes. Now if you like your coffee HOT, like my Dad, (we used to say he could drink boiling water), this is just not going to work.
...But with that said, here we go:
Immersion or Cold Drip?
- Immersion is similar to a french press, in fact you can simply use a large french press to accomplish the brew or use a large mixing bowl. In any case, filtration at the end is important and it may take up to three efforts (one through a sieve and then two through a traditional filter), to get a nice clean product for future use.
- Cold Drip is similar but you apparatus is more significant. Whatever is used, there is a small petcock or valve at the end of the journey that will simply DRIP by DRIP allow the steeping coffee to fill the vessel.
How to store it?
This is a big deal - find a container with a TIGHT lid. The nice thing about cold brew is the lack of bitter bite in the cup....but this can be erased if alot of oxygen is allowed to interact. So find a good vessel that matches the amount of concentrate you will be making regularly and has a tight lid.
Calculations? How much coffee?
No consensus here, unfortunately. I have used, for a modest concentrate, 5 ounces dry freshly ground, (coarse), coffee to 24 ounces cold water. I would not think going weaker is smart....remember you are making a concentrate so you can always adjust the final drink proportions to suit, but if you don't make a deep enough concentrate you can't overcome that after its steeped. When ready to make your final drink, try a 3:1 ration of hot or cold water to the concentrate and go from there.
What kind of coffee varietal to use?
Lots of ideas here for sure. The wonderful thing, (yes I can see wonder in things I don't like !), about cold brew is that the process, in either method though moreso in Immersion, enhances the known qualities of the coffee used, so a single origin coffee is often the more enjoyable.
This argument can be weakened somewhat the more that milk is introduced to the drink....it would appear that the coffee when done with cold brew doesn't hold up quite like when its brewed traditionally. That said, here are our suggestions for cold brew, but again, your coffee is YOUR COFFEE so experiment !
- Moka Java if you will be adding milk to the ultimate coffee product, hot or cold
- India Monsooned if alone, or perhaps also with milk…this coffee is naturally low in PH type acidity so it may water down a bit with the milk but its earthy profile is truly unique and that is the whole idea with cold brew.
- Ethiopia Harrar as a crazy fruity varietal…since immersion brings out the characteristics that are known but in a deep concentrate form which should translate well in the final cup.