14 May, 2019
Five questions about cold brewing: it's too embarrassing to ask
When Starbucks launched cold-ground coffee in its stores in 2015, frozen beverage sales would have jumped 20%. The chain did not invent the concept, of course. Cold coffee has long been a delicacy in New Orleans, and Blue Bottle and Stumptown began adopting this technique earlier this year.
However, Starbucks brought cold beer to the general public. Nowadays, most coffee companies, from Dunkin 'Donuts to Devoción, a New York cult café, offer it all year round. Cold-processed beer concentrate is also quite stable and packed iterations abound.
"The United States is becoming a brewing nation," Oliver Strand wrote in the New York Times in June 2017.
Despite widespread availability and appeal, questions weigh on the category. What is the difference between iced coffee and cold brew? And why are they so expensive?
We hear you. Coffee is complicated! Here are five of your burning questions about cold brewing, answer yourself.
Is it different from iced coffee?
Yes! Iced coffee is prepared hot and served cold. You cool the hot coffee by pouring it on ice or refrigerating it a few hours before serving it. Unfortunately, both methods have disadvantages. The first dilutes your coffee a bit and the coffee of several hours never tastes very fresh.
However, cold coffee is prepared by dipping the ground coffee beans coarsely in water at room temperature for six to twelve hours. This creates a coffee concentrate that you mix with cold water or milk.
Cold drinkers say its taste is sweeter than a typical iced coffee, and those who are acid sensitive think it's easier to drink than a hot coffee. (According to some estimates, "cold-brewed coffee is 67% less acid than hot-brewed coffee.")
Why is it so expensive?
Unlike hot coffee, which goes from the whole bean to a hot cup in just a few minutes, cold brewing is a moving target that requires advance planning. Retailers should start soaking coarsely ground beans in room temperature water for at least six hours before serving them. Once the stocks are exhausted, they are ready for the day – there is no race backwards to make a new pot.
It's a tricky business, especially in a model as mercurial as hospitality. Think of the crowd swarming in a beautiful rooftop bar or in the beer garden on a beautiful summer day. The same principle concerns coffees. If the weather is too mild or if very big evenings happen unexpectedly, a small coffee can quickly deplete its brewing concentrate prepared in advance, leaving everyone empty-handed. As a result, retailers often cover themselves by making their cold beer more expensive than the hot coffee they have (relatively) unlimited supply.
Does it have more caffeine than regular coffee?
It depends. Probably not.
"You extract more caffeine when you brew coffee with hot water," writes Anna Brones in TheKitchn. "But cold brewed coffee is usually prepared with a higher coffee / water ratio – we're talking two to two and a half times more – which means it's stronger than it was made with a more conventional coffee. report of the water. "
To further complicate matters, cold-infusion concentrate is usually cut with equal parts of water or milk, "which brings that level of caffeine down," adds Brones. Cold coffee is generally less caffeinated than the same amount of hot coffee, but many factors affect caffeine levels in coffee, including the source or mix of grains, and how they are roasted, ground and brewed.
Can I make a cold beer at home?
Yes! It's easier than you think! Here's VinePair's recipe for a home-made beer brew. Just remember to start soaking your pitch at night before you want to drink it. Then, it remains only to filter, pour and mix equal parts of water or milk. It's easy as Sunday morning, even if it's a Tuesday and you're late for work.
How long does the cold drink concentrate last in the refrigerator?
If you make your own cold-processed beverage concentrate, which we highly recommend, it will stay fresh for 24 to 48 hours. The expiry date of store-bought and packaged cold beer concentrates varies, so be sure to read the labels.