Chris’ Cold Brew Chronicles, Part II

OK, so how did I go from “wanting cold brew”, to becoming a part of the cold brew “culture”. Easy. I made mistakes.

Internet research led me to a LOT of suggestions, and I took what I perceived as the easiest, cheapest route for trials. I’m not usually a “cheapest” guy, more of “best value”, but hey, for a trial run or five, why not?

Hop onto Amazon, buy a “nut bag” (as if I’m not already a nut bag of various types), took some autodrip ground coffee, soaked for 12 hours and voila! Mediocre homemade cold brew. I did use filtered water, so that counts a “craft”, right?

Wrong. Life is too short for mediocre coffee. Stepped up my game. Kept the nut bag, kept the filtered water, and ground the dark coffee from beans to “coarse grind”. Steeped for 12 hours. Results? Much more satisfying cold brew. Brewed five or six batches like this, and then tripped over — you guessed it — a gadget. Or more specifically, two gadgets and over-the-top materials.

I knew inherently that part of good cold brewing had to be fresh coffee. And freshly ground. So, I searched the Interweb for small batch roasters near me and found — the fabulous — Oceana Coffee, in Tequesta, Florida (also available on your preference of high-tech wobbly wonk here). I’d heard a bit of it, but was intrigued by a) proximity b) they roast their own c) in small batches d) have a cafe in addition to the roast house and finally e) had rave reviews. Oh, and a roast-their-own decaf (apologies to any coffee snobs who don’t consider decaf “real” coffee. Part of my routine).

Oceana is AWESOME. Reasonably price whole bean coffees, roasted in house, including a Guatemalan (now something else) water-process decaf. In checking today, they advertise 12 individually-sourced coffees, plus K-cups (I’m not recommending that, but hey — if its your thing). If you’d like the Cafe, its homey, great goods, wide selection of just-roasted beans, and good wi-fi — I’d say priced like a Starbucks but with a much better product.

So, I figured I’d start with the (then) Mayan Decaf. They’d be happy to grind it for me, but I’d already scored one of my newfangled gadgets on Ebay — a conical coffee grinder. New. $15. So on the well steeped advice of others, into the nut bag (see, I said it again), brew for 12 hours, and… I have to say, for a first batch, damned respectable cold brew.

A few of Oceana’s Top Offerings

Now brewing this way makes a bunch of at-strength coffee, and you need a preferably-impervious container to make it (like don’t try the same plastic pitcher you brew iced tea in… bad idea). So now that I have a grinder, and am thinking the nut bag (more laughs) is not the be-all, end-all method of cold brewing, I took a chance and bought two returnable cold brew systems — BodyBrew and Blue Bottle. The BodyBrew arrived first, and I thought I’d give it a five-batch tryout then try the Blue Bottle the same. Short story… I never tried the BlueBottle. It’s headed to Hawaii where my daughter and her husband might enjoy it. I liked the BodyBrew system so well I didn’t want to try the other system. Sure it was an extra $15, but I think the quality is there.

So how does BodyBrew work and what makes it great… well, that would be Cold Brew Chronicles part III. Stay tuned!