Cold Brew Coffee

Techniques, Recipes & Cocktails for Coffee’s Hottest Trend

Keith Parkins
Mar 13, 2018 · 6 min read
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Cold Brew Coffee — Chloë Callow

So, cold brew coffee. It’s considered by some to be the ultimate hipster accessory. — Chloë Callow

My first encounter with cold brew coffee was Sex and Beans.

A coffee shop had closed and was to re-open as Sex and Beans. I spent the afternoon with advisers to the project who were experimenting with cold brew coffee.

Roasted coffee beans (not sure if cracked or ground) steeped in cold water for 16 hours.

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cold brew coffee at Eden Square

I tried, lovely aroma, but OMG it was strong. Watered down, it tasted awful.

More experimentation was the order of the day.

The intention was not to serve as coffee, rather to use as a base for cocktails, which seemed to me a waste of good coffee.

Sex and Beans did not last a season. It did not open until late May or early June, it had already closed by September.

FCB kiosk last summer experimented with cold brew. Steeped for several hours. At first with their espresso blend. I suggested try their single origin, at the time if my memory serves me correct a Kenyan. Excellent served cold from the fridge.

My most impressive encounter with cold brew was the cold brew towers in the speciality coffee shops in Athens. In Tailor Made, could could pass as a work of art.

In The Underdog, what was served as cold brew, was strictly speaking not, a pour over, bottled, chilled, then served from the bottle, to be poured in glass with a single large ice cube. It was excellent.

Cold brew is the opposite of hot brew, coffee extracted by cold water not hot water as with an espresso or filter coffee.

Not to be confused with an espresso rapidly cooled to provide an ice cold coffee, as for example with a freddo cappuccino.

Nor should it be confused with nitro cold brew hyped by Caffeine, served from a can or on tap. Disgusting, nothing more than a gimmick. Not something a speciality coffee shop that cares about reputation serves.

Cold Brew Coffee looks at what is cold brew coffee, different methods of brewing, with a recipes of what to do with your cold brew coffee.

Author of Cold Brew Coffee is Chloë Callow, editor of Caffeine, which I have to admit immediately put me off. Caffeine has that awful gushing patronising style of the in-flight reading on a Thomson/tui package holiday flight. Much to my relief Cold Brew Coffee does not a adopt this same gushing patronising style, which is to insult the reader’s intelligence.

Cold brew the latest trend, coolest thing to be seen drinking, since the latest fad. Or simply a different method of brewing coffee, resulting in a different drink.

I have yet to see shelves in coffee shops groaning with dark-filled jars of cold brew coffee, as claimed by Chloë Callow.

The information content of Cold Brew Coffee is relatively low, and half the book is padded out with recipes. Easily read in an afternoon sitting in the garden.

Mention is made of cascara. But this is something different again, it is an infusion of the dried fruit, not from roasted beans.

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Chocolate bitters / Emma Dibben

The main plus, the attractive drawings by Emma Dibben.

I was reminded of Coffee, the style is very similar. They form a useful companion pair, if not looking for any great depth, something that can be easily browsed.

My second experience of cold brew coffee was at Krema where they were experimenting with cold brew coffee.

Would I like to try?

I was brought a small frosted glass, a cold brewed Kenyan coffee.

To say the least, very unusual, an acquired taste. Nothing like coffee. I expected something bitter. Not so, a fruity taste. Almost like an alcoholic drink without the alcohol.

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cold drip coffee in Zorbas

My third experience of cold brew coffee, more of an encounter, was Zorbas, a coffee shop within a bakery, where they had several different brew methods, including cold drip where the water drips literally drop by drop onto the coffee, percolates through a filter to a container or jug below. I did not try the cold brew coffee.

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FCB coffee kiosk cold brew coffee

My fourth experience, cold brew coffee off FCB coffee kiosk at Guildford Station.

They were making with their own in-house blend. I suggested use their guest Kenyan single origin.

When I next passed by, I found they had heeded my advice and it was excellent.

One of the advantages of cold brew coffee, is that it is easily brewed in the home.

There are two basic methods, soaking in cold water for several hours or cold drip. Everything is a variant on these two methods.

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cold brew coffee immersion
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cold brew coffee immersion

Ground coffee left to steep in cold water for several hours, then filtered.

A variant, which is what Krema tried last year, the ground coffee is contained within a filter.

Cupsmith suggest use a cafetiere. Grind courser than you would when using a cafetiere, leave to steep for twelve hours, not four minutes as would with hot water, then press down the plunger.

Though I would not follow the advice of Cupsmith, when brewed, store in the fridge for two weeks. One week maximum. And why even keep that long, are you not making the cold brew to drink?

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cold brew coffee cold drip
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cold brew coffee cold drip

The cold water drips, one drop at a time, one drop once every two minutes, to percolate through the coffee, then through a filter to a container below.

Cold drip tower, as with a Japanese syphon, looks impressive, science lab comes to coffee shop or kitchen table.

Needs vigilance to ensure dripping at correct rate.

Real Fresh Coffee shows a container, that drips into the container with the ground coffee, that percolates through to the jug below. Function is the same, not as elegant as the cold drip tower.

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Japanese iced coffee
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Japanese iced coffee

Japanese iced coffee, is not, as the name implies, cold brew coffee.

V60 or similar, used to brew the coffee, which drips straight into ice. Half the water used to brew as the other half is in the ice.

Beginning of this year, Cold Brew Coffee was remaindered for the cost of a cappuccino.

Chloë Callow is no longer with Caffeine.

Musings on all things coffee and occasionally tea

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