With the long, hot summer days approaching, you might be tempted to reach for an iced coffee, but if you’ve never tried cold brew coffee before, then here are some interesting facts about cold brew coffee you should know! Cold brew is different from iced coffee in that cold brew has been steeped in room temperature water for approximately 24 hours before it’s served. If you haven’t tried it before, it makes the perfect summertime drink and these interesting facts about cold brew coffee will help you enjoy it even more.
1. No Heat
One of the most obvious facts about cold brew coffee is that it is cold! No heating elements ever get introduced into the process of cold brewing coffee, ever! Cold brew (or cold press) is simply the method of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for at least 12 hours, but it can be up to 24 hours. The coffee grounds are then filtered out and the liquid concentrate that remains is served straight up or diluted (depending on how you like your coffee).
2. Unclear Origins
Traditional coffee as we know it was first discovered in Ethiopia (East Africa) and Yemen (Southern Arabia), when the earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking appeared in the middle of the 15th century. However, cold brew coffee’s origins are still unclear. Some sources state that the cold variety came from an ancient Peruvian process and some state that it was introduced by Dutch traders from Indonesia in the 1600s into Japan! Either way the process of brewing coffee cold has been around for centuries, so it's nothing new.
3. Tastes Sweeter
Cold brew coffee actually tastes a lot sweeter than traditional hot-brewed coffee because cold brew has approximately 67% less acidity than hot-brewed coffee (making it easier to drink if you have a sensitive stomach). Cold brew can be just as full-bodied and smooth as the hot variety though. Some people still drink their cold brew with a sugar syrup, and it works well with milk too.
4. Less Caffeine Content
Not that we always want less caffeine, however cold-brew coffee typically contains 20% less caffeine than the traditional hot-brewed variety. This fact does depend on a number of factors though: the grind, steep time, coffee to water ratio and the amount of soluble caffeine in the bean. It’s typical that most brewing methods don’t extract all the caffeine from the beans, but cold brew coffee traditionally extracts more caffeine than when it's heated.
5. Toddy Cold Brew System
The Toddy System is a particular brewing method inspired by Mr. Todd Simpson in 1964. He since patented ‘The Toddy’ system to extract the natural flavors of coffee, leaving behind the undesirable bitter acids and oils which traditional hot-brewing coffee methods leave in. The Toddy system is an exclusive method that baristas have been using for years (Seattle’s Best, Barnie's and others), to develop their iced cold coffees and teas, giving them that coffee concentrate that lasts for weeks. You can purchase one of these systems for $39.50 from toddycafe.com.
6. Many Uses
The cold brew liquid concentrate that is left-over after brewing can be used to make coffee ice-cream, coffee ice-cubes (to make your regular iced coffee taste better), coffee-infused brownies and other sweet treats like coffee fudge. Even coffee smoothies taste pretty good if you mix some of the concentrate with a banana, soy milk and yoghurt.
7. Different Flavor Profile
Cold brew coffee allows for a different flavor profile to appear and this will be one of the first things you'll notice when you sample a cold brew coffee. Although arabica coffee beans are used and ground when preparing this type of coffee, because it’s produced cold, the oils and acid that accompany hot coffees are actually softened. The result is a much smoother, stronger flavor profile that enhances the fruity, vanilla and milk chocolate notes of the bean.
Even if you like a good cup of hot coffee, the cold brewed variety might just give you a wonderful variation to fall in love with this summer. Have you tried cold brew coffee before? If so, what did you like about it?