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Cold brew coffee

Coffee is a valuable, necessary resource in my toolkit. I’ve been trying to work on increasing my water intake, and substituting tea. Yet, I start my day with a cup of coffee or two.

In my explorations of the world of coffee, my interest in making and hacking also has inspired me to research new ways to brew and consume coffee. This research led me to the wonderful world of cold brew coffee.

Cold brew coffee, also called cold water extraction or cold pressing, this includes the process of steeping coffee grounds in water at cool temperatures for an extended period of time.

The coffee beans are usually course-ground and soaked in water for 12 hours or more. The water and steeping grounds are usually kept out and at room temperature, is normally kept at room temperature, but sometimes it is chilled. The grounds are filtered out of the water after they have been steeped using a paper coffee filter, a fine metal sieve, or a French press. The result is a coffee concentrate that is often diluted with water or milk, and is served hot, over ice, or blended with ice and other ingredients such as chocolate.

My recipe

I’ve used a lot of strategies for making cold brew. I started with a giant tea bag and an Aeropress. The process was a bit messy and I always ended up with grinds in the final product.

My current everyday tool is the OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Maker. It’s a bit expensive, but IMHO it’s totally worth it. The unit holds the water and coffee grounds while steeping. It then drains into a glass carafe for refrigeration.

My brew recipe includes three cups of coffee and 40 ounces of water. I typically fill it at night (around 6 PM) and drain it in the morning (around 6 AM) so it has 12 hours to steep.

I’ve found that a medium grind works well as you steep. Many of the sources online suggest a fine grind. I don’t think this works well.

The choice of beans is totally up to you. When I first started, I used espresso (or super dark) beans. I think this makes the final product much too strong. I have been experimenting with some lighter/medium roasts and sometimes including small amounts of flavored (hazelnut, caramel, toasted almond) roasts works well. It’s all about experimenting.

Please be warned that the elixir that comes out is concentrated coffee. It will still taste great…but it’ll be super strong.

From this point, you have a couple of options for how you consume it.

  • Add equal parts water to dilute it. Add ice, milk/cream, sweetener for a great iced coffee
  • Dilute with water and heat the coffee for a strong, smooth cup of go juice
  • Add a spash of the concentrate to your coffee for some extra zip, or to top off your cup
  • Add a splash to adult (alcohol) drinks for a buzz to go with your buzz

Originally published at W. Ian O’Byrne.

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