Have you ever wondered if it is possible to brew coffee with cold water? The answer is yes, and this method is called cold brew.
The taste of cold coffee is significantly different from a traditional hot one because of the brewing temperature. When exposed to hot water, ground coffee gives out acids first, then sugars, and finally bitter substances. Upon contact with low-temperature water, the ground coffee provides a different chemical profile compared to traditional brewing methods. Also, coffee beans contain some components that are soluble only in hot water such as caffeine, oils, and fatty acids. This explains why a bitter rather than sour taste dominates in a cold brew.
In hot coffee, even its bitter taste is different because it is given by substances that are formed when chlorogenic acid present in ground coffee is heated. If coffee is made with cold water, the degradation products of chlorogenic acid have nowhere to come from. Still, only some of the tannins with an astringent taste are extracted into water. The taste of this coffee differs even from a tepid americano and may seem barely perceptible.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
There are several ways of how to make a cold brew. According to the first method, you should cover ground coffee with cold boiled water and let it infuse for several hours in a warm room. Then, filter it thoroughly. For brewing cold coffee in another way, you’ll need a special coffee pot.
This utensil consists of several parts. In its upper bulb, there is cold water or ice cubes that drip down as they melt. In its middle compartment, which is often equipped with a filter, there is ground coffee. The bottom section is for a ready beverage. You may notice this tool in third-wave coffee houses.
Which Kind of Coffee to Use
The best option is light- or medium-roasted arabica, which is coarse-ground. Thanks to this grinding degree, the extraction process will last longer. Besides, the beverage made of finely-ground coffee is difficult to filter, and it turns out to be muddy. Robusta is not suitable for the cold brew method because it adds unpleasant bitterness to the drink.
It should be kept in mind that due to prolonged extraction, cold-brewed coffee may contain more caffeine than an espresso or pour-over coffee. This drink shouldn’t be abused but can be used as a basic component for cold coffee drinks along with other ingredients such as ice, fruit juices, or soda.