OK so as the title suggests, this post is about cold brewed coffee. If you’re wanting to know how to make iced coffee at home, or if you’re wondering about the process of making cold brew coffee, then you may find this of interest.
For me personally, the only iced coffee I’ve had previously is homemade frappe which I’ve done in the past with instant coffee, and frappe served in cafe’s and bars. So when it comes to experiencing iced coffee along the lines of iced tea, just as it comes but cold, this is a new one for me.
Although I want to have the experience of trying everything there is when it comes to coffee, and I do love trying new things; the thought of drinking cold brew coffee repulses me slightly, as does the idea of chilled soup or warm fruit… (pineapple or sultanas in any hot food is just wrong in my opinion!)
OK there is an exception to this, Frappe is great; but that’s kind of different, it’s like coffee flavoured milkshake 😉 – but here we’re talking about brewing coffee cold, so the impression I get is cold black coffee, which just doesn’t seem right somehow.
So I started to look into the idea of cold brewed coffee, very reluctantly, and there are a couple of things I discovered.
1: Although it is cold brew, it doesn’t need to be drank iced, as it’s concentrated, so you can add hot water.
2: Brewing the coffee cold supposedly provides a different taste to hot brewed coffee, due to less acidity being created during the brewing process.
Like I said I do like to try things, so yes I will try the cold brewed coffee cold, I’ll even try it over ice as I’ve seen some people suggesting, but I’m fairly certain I’ll prefer it hot. The coffee to water ratio seems quite high, so I’m expecting this to be a fairly concentrated result, depending I assume on how long I leave it to brew for, as it states from 8 hours to 24 hours. If it’s as concentrated as it seems, then cold brew coffee would have an obvious benefit in addition to the alleged taste benefit: convenience, as it would be very convenient to get up in the morning and just get the cold brew from the fridge and dilute with hot water!
The brewer I’ve been sent to test is the Hario Mizudashi 600ml, and I’m testing it with my latest Pact Coffee. Once I’ve tried it, the other interesting thing will be trying it with various different coffees and seeing what difference it makes to the resulting coffee if it’s cold brewed as opposed to other hot brew methods.
Anyway, watch this space, I’ll try the coffee tomorrow, and the post will continue…
Update, next day…
Cold: It’s not a particularly bad taste actually, but if I wanted a cold drink I wouldn’t really think of reaching for iced coffee as it is, I.e. just iced cold brew coffee. But, I can see it being interesting as a mixer for whiskey, vodka or rum, but I thought better of trying that at 8 AM ;-). I am going to try this, but I’ll do it after wine o clock.
Warm: Again it’s quite pleasant, not at all bad, but a bit too smooth for me. As I had read, the acidity and bitterness is toned down a lot, and it’s very smooth, but for my taste it’s too smooth. It reminds me quite a bit of the smooth taste of Swedish egg coffee. This isn’t to say that you won’t like it though, we’re all different when it comes to taste, for instance I like the taste of 85% dark chocolate, and neat whiskey, I love Marmite, marmalade and sprouts (not all together though, that would be weird) so I certainly don’t have the same taste as everyone ;-).
One thing that doesn’t really impress me is how concentrated the coffee was after about 19 hours brew time, given the amount of coffee used, I would have expected it to be more concentrated than this, and I’d say that in terms of amount of coffee used per cup of coffee, this would appear to be the least economical process I’ve tried.
That being said, I am going to look up some brew guides, try it slightly differently and do it again, and I will try it as a mixer too and see how it tastes – I’m assuming that mixing it with milk & blended ice to make a frappe with it would be very nice in the summer.
The more I think about cold brew, the more it makes sense to drink as an iced coffee drink rather than as a drink to add hot water to, especially seeing as the resulting brew isn’t as concentrated as I’d imagined it would be with the ratio of coffee to water. It might be nice with a slice of lemon or even lime, or with a sprig of mint (of which we usually have tonnes of growing in the garden). Maybe it would make an interesting cocktail with white rum ice and Mint, a coffee Mojito? I’ll try one or seven of them and then let you know what I think 😉
The other question though when it comes to making iced coffee drinks, is couldn’t you just use regular instant coffee or make Aeropress concentrated coffee or make an espresso and then water it down with ice cold water, and the answer to this is yes you could, but I’m guessing that the reason people would want to use a dedicated cold brew system such as the Hario Mizudashi, is for the particularly smooth taste that it produces, that you might want if you’re making iced coffee drinks.
So in conclusion, the Hario Mizudashi isn’t going to replace my Aeropress, my V60 or my cafetiere as my favourite brewing methods, but it certainly does interest me when it comes to making iced coffee drinks, and I’m going to experiment with various iced coffee recipes and see what tastes great for when we start having some nice weather (hopefully) in a few months!
3 days later…
OK so I left it in the fridge for a few days, and tried it again this morning – and the taste is a lot stronger, I can imagine that tasting like this, poured over ice on a hot day, this would be very nice! I’m in South Manchester though in the North West of England, and it’s January, so that’s not gonna happen any time soon ;-).
I added hot water, made an aeropress coffee and did some taste testing – and again it just highlights the fact that a big part of my enjoyment of coffee comes from the bitterness and acidity, that cold brew doesn’t give you.
My wife doesn’t drink coffee, and I rudely interrupted her drinking her cup of tea this morning by asking her (very nicely) to try the cold brew. Amazingly she said she quite liked it… I then asked her to taste my Aeropress coffee, and she looked like she was about to throw up. She agreed that the reason she hates normal coffee but could bare cold brew, is its lack of bitterness and acidity.
So it just goes to show how people have completely different tastes. If you like a really smooth coffee without the kick of bitterness, then give cold brew a whirl.