The Science Behind Making Cold Brew Coffee


Making cold brew coffee has a certain degree of science behind it. It is not just your simple everyday way of making this caffeinated drink. People should not settle for only buying cold brew coffee, as the process behind making it yourself is so enjoyable. Also, you might not want to deal with its steep price tag. Fortunately for everyone, there is a pretty simple way to make it on your own.

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To get some perspective let’s start with cold brew’s cousin, hot brew coffee. When making regular hot coffee, you are pouring hot to boiling water over coffee grounds. The liquid then extracts all the oils, sugars, minerals, and proteins and gives you a delicious and energizing drink in a couple of minutes. On the other hand, to make cold brew coffee, you usually employ a method known as immersion brewing. This means that you are taking coffee grounds and soaking them in cold water for about a day. The processes that occur during a cold brew are similar to the process of hot brewing, but they happen over an extended period.

Because of the difference in brewing speed, the amounts of the compounds extracted change and the taste of the drink is different. Using the hot brewing method, you extract more acids from the beans and this, in turn, gives you a brighter, more floral flavor. Due to the high temperature of the water, more steam rises, and this steam carries more compounds within it. This is what gives hot coffee its characteristic fragrance. When using the cold brew method, fewer acids are extracted, and this is why that kind of coffee has a sweeter taste to it. The compounds within the cold brew also mix for longer, and the flavors become “muddled” because of that. The drink becomes smoother and sweeter as a result.

Another side-effect of a hot brew is that the coffee turns rancid quicker. Since the process is accelerated and more acids are extracted, the coffee quickly starts to taste more like acid and less like coffee. The slow brewed drink, on the other hand, has a longer shelf life.

There are many specific ways and specialized gadgets that might help you make cold brew coffee, but they usually only help with the preparation and clean-up phases of the process. There is no need for intricate gear or gadgets if you want to make a cup of sweet and smooth cold brew coffee.

These are the things you do need in no particular order – a kitchen scale, coarse coffee grounds, cold and filtered water, a container to pour the coffee into, some kind of stirrer, and a filter (this can be a standard coffee filter, a pillowcase or a fine mesh).

Now the process itself is divided into six steps. First, you need to measure out coffee and water. You use a ratio of eight to one. This means that for every two cups of water you need about four tablespoons of coffee. Next, you mix the water and coffee and stir until all the grounds are wet. The third step is to cover the container and leave the mixture to rest for about 20 hours. In the fourth step, you need to separate the grounds from the liquid. The fifth step is the best, because this is when you get to drink the coffee iced with some milk and sugar if you like. In the final step, you need to store your brew in the fridge. Coffee made this way keeps up to 14 days.

There are other tips and tricks you can use, but this is the basis from which you can start your caffeine filled journey.

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