So, by now, you've probably heard comments or read about the benefits of cold brew coffee. Since we make it with cold water instead of hot water, cold brew coffee offers several advantages over the old school hot water coffee brewing methods, including a naturally sweet flavor.
In this article, we'll cover the best ways to get your hands on cold brew, and how it's best served.
What's with the Hype?
Similar to the buzz around wine, this cold-brewed innovation has unlocked countless flavor opportunities with coffee. Before we enjoyed coffee with breakfast, but now, identical to pairing wine and cheese, we can enjoy a cold brew with various desserts and foods due to the expanded flavor profiles that come from cold-brewed coffee beans. But let's talk about some of the other benefits.
For one, cold brew extracts fewer acids than hot brew coffee. If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as acid indigestion or reflux (like me), then you can certainly appreciate this characteristic.
Less acidity also means it requires less sweetener and milk or cream than coffee made with hot water. If you use natural sugar and cream, this means you'll lower your caloric intake, which can help keep the weight off. Or, if you prefer artificial sweeteners and creamer, using less will reduce the number of chemicals and toxins you take in.
Higher Caffeine Content by Volume
Cold-brew coffee typically contains higher amounts of caffeine than a comparable cup of hot brew coffee, which may provide an energy boost before your workout and increase the afterburn effect. Since we make it from concentrate, the ratio of cold brew coffee to water or milk can be adjusted, so one can easily alter the strength for the right amount of kick.
Studies report that it may be more abundant in the minerals and antioxidants that are in regular coffee. These nutrients provide benefits such as UV protection and moisture retention for your skin, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduced risk of Parkinson's Disease and Type II diabetes.
Cold brew coffee has even started appearing in juice bars at gyms and fitness centers, usually iced instead of hot coffee. When you're heading to your favorite coffee shop order that cold brew coffee — going shopping? Add cold brew concentrate or ready to drink(RTD) cold brew coffee to your grocery list.
Want to make it yourself? Prepare your batch with coarsely ground coffee beans from your own kitchen.
At Your Favorite Coffee Shop
Do you plan to head to your favorite coffee shop on a warm day to enjoy a cup of delicious iced coffee for your daily caffeine fix? Nearly all coffee shops also have cold brew coffee on their menu. There are several ways to enjoy cold brew coffee at a coffee shop near you. You can choose from iced coffee, nitro cold-brewed, or even grab a cold brew to go.
Fresh Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
Iced cold brew coffee on a warm or hot day is typically a recipe for refreshment. Cold brew coffee has a taste that is less bitter and more smooth than hot brewed coffee, and sometimes I enjoy it black even over ice, to mix it up. While they probably don't cold brew the full selection of coffee beans on the menu, you can get them to dress it up with a recipe including sugar or other sweeteners, milk, cream, and syrup. If you want a latte with coconut milk, you can go that route. Or you can add some sweetness with flavored syrups, like chocolate syrup and milk for a Mocha Latte.
Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Nitro cold brew coffee is my personal favorite at a coffee shop. Nitro is coffee infused with nitrogen. Similar to carbonated soda, infused with carbon dioxide, nitro shares the same qualities that enhance beverage texture.
Instead of the big fizzy bubbles, you get with carbonated soda, nitro cold brew coffee has many tiny bubbles, giving it an exceptionally smooth and creamy texture.
If you've ever had Guinness beer, you're familiar with the beautiful reverse cascade of nitrogen when it's first poured. You get to enjoy this same beautiful presentation with nitro cold brew coffee! It's pretty fancy and adds an extra dimension to an already fun and refreshing beverage. It may even draw comments or questions from your fellow patrons. You can still add your favorite sweeteners, syrup, and milk to nitro cold brew, but remember that you'll need less since it's already super smooth and less tart.
Grab Cold Brew Coffee To Go
Many coffee shops now offer cold brew coffee to go. Many have single servings already pre-bottled so that you can pop in and out in just a couple of minutes. Some also sell concentrate already brewed, so you can keep it in your fridge to enjoy at your leisure. I've even seen coffee beans roasted explicitly for cold brewing, and of course, you can have those ground in-store or grind them at home.
Cold Brew from Your Local Store
Perhaps you've added cold brew coffee to your grocery list, right along with the orange juice, cheese, and coconut water. It's available in a wide selection of brands, many of which you will surely recognize, and some you may not. It's available in concentrate and ready to serve forms, both cold in the refrigerator and at room temperature on the shelf. No need to spend hours researching them all; you can try out a couple of different selections. I recommend you do just that, so you can decide for yourself which ones suit your taste buds and lifestyle.
Ready to Drink
Ready to go, single-serve cold brew coffee is available in bottles or cans and is quick and easy to grab out of the cooler in the morning. You can enjoy an iced coffee or heat for hot coffee, as basic cold brew or with added flavor. You can find them in sizes ranging from a few ounces up to a gallon, even at most gas stations.
Cold brew coffee is also available as concentrate right at your local grocery store, so that you can mix whatever ratio suits you without having to brew your own at home. No need to learn how to make it or wait hours for it to be ready to serve.
BREW YOUR OWN COLD BREW COFFEE CONCENTRATE AT HOME
If you're feeling creative, there are many fun methods on the menu to brew your own fresh cold brew coffee concentrate right in your kitchen! Some are simple and easy, and some are more involved. The most basic technique doesn't require you to learn any new skills or buy any new equipment or ingredients. Several companies now offer cold brew coffee kits. These typically consist of pre-measured, coarsely ground coffee beans in their little filter packs and easy to follow instructions. Just drop them in a pitcher or jar, add cold water, and wait the specified amount of time. It will need to steep at least a few hours. Slightly less straightforward recipes involve using coarsely ground coffee beans, water, and a glass jar or pitcher. You'll need to strain it using cheesecloth or a coffee filter. If you already own a French press, there is a straightforward procedure you can use to make your own fresh cold brew coffee concentrate with that, as well. You can grind your beans and use filtered water if you want, but that certainly doesn't have to be part of the recipe. Now that cold brewing coffee has caught on; there are many products made specifically to brew and store cold brew coffee at home. These products range from inexpensive and simple to extravagant and creative. I've even seen home nitro cold brew keg kits! As long as you keep your concentrate cold, it will stay fresh for a week or more. Now you can pour a few ounces and ice into cups, add water and whatever else you like, and have iced coffee drinks for you and your friends any time of day.
I love having fresh cold brew concentrate at home. Although it takes hours to brew cold at home, it's a time-saving alternative for me. I can pour, mix, and heat my first cup of coffee for an instant shot of caffeine, which is quicker and easier than hot water methods. No more spilling coffee grounds or messing with a French press first thing in the morning. As I get a couple of cups of hot coffee in me, I can check my email and get my day started without delay. I can also pour it over ice for iced coffee at any time of day. It's always on deck for a recipe or cocktail, too. I'm a southern cook, so I take my BBQ sauce seriously, and all 5 of my recipes include black coffee. As a bartender, my signature drink was a mocha latte martini. The recipe consists of a mixture of iced coffee, 2 ounces of vodka, Kahlua, Bailey's, and Godiva chocolate liqueur shaken over ice. After a few times, I got the ratio of sweetness to strength just right. It's perfect for after-dinner drinks, and always gets positive comments. I still make it for drinks with friends when we're planning on staying up into the wee hours of the morning.
There's no wrong way to enjoy cold brew coffee. With so many choices on the menu, it's hard to pick one, but I think my favorite is to brew it in a Mason jar with fresh ground beans. I like trying creative new things in my spare time, especially recipes. It's always available for iced or hot coffee. I can adjust the ratio of water to cold brew concentrate to alter the taste and caffeine content, no matter the reason I'm using it. I even save the grounds for the compost heap. As a writer and a cook, always having good fresh coffee on-deck is a real benefit, and that's not possible with traditional methods.