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How to Roast, Brew and Enjoy Cold Brew Coffee

By Daniel Parodi on

Cold Brewed Coffee. I remember falling in love with my first cold coffee drink decades ago while on a business trip to Tokyo — long before anyone was selling packaged “cold coffee” in the states. Yes, even before Starbucks launched Frappuccino. What struck me was that it tasted so unfamiliar at that time.

Decidedly different from “iced” coffee (pouring your morning leftovers over ice), cold brew is the process of using cold water to tease out the rich flavor and aroma of coffee without the same acidity that is extracted when using hot water. The result is a highly concentrated coffee flavoring that can be added to anything.

Slow and Cold. The trick to good cold brew is a long extraction time (up to 24 hours) and cool, room temperature water. We are not necessarily partial to any of the popular brewers available, but the Toddy system has been around and proven for a very long time. We also like the simple Mason jar technique with a stainless steel mesh strainer to filter out the grounds after brewing.

In almost all systems, you’ll end up with very fine coffee grounds settling at the bottom of the container, even after you do the straining. You can carefully pour off the coffee liquid and try to leave the grounds behind, or just give it a vigorous shake and let it all incorporate, as we do. It stays fresh in the fridge for a few weeks.

Our Recipe. In whatever cold brew system you use, we recommend 15% coffee to water ratio, by weight (e.g. 1,000g of water, 150g of coarsely ground coffee).

We often brew a highly concentrated form by using a 50% coffee to water ratio. We find this concentrate is better for the things we like to make with it (keep reading).

Now What? If you’ve never cold brewed coffee, you are in for a real treat. Use it in food recipes (tiramisu, chocolate-coffee cake…any recipe that calls for added coffee). You’ll be amazed! Or, follow our enthusiastic recommendation and use the concentrated version for…

Affogatos. Oh man. Where to begin? First, affogato means “drowned” in Italian. In the dessert context, it means gelato or ice cream “drowned” in espresso. Ah...but espresso melts the ice cream! I can almost promise that you’ve never had an affogato as good as one with top shelf ice cream or gelato, drowned with concentrated, cold-brewed coffee from beans you’ve freshly roasted. Game. Changer.

Afternoon Pick-Me-Up. Around here, someone usually springs to action by 3:00pm and starts mixing up coffee drinks for the office. Our preferred blend is a tall glass of oatmilk, a few tablespoons of “cold brewed espresso” (concentrate), a couple teaspoons of simple syrup, and ice. It’s all a matter of taste, so use whatever concentration you prefer, along with your choice of “dairy” and sweetener.

Roasting for Cold Brew. We urge you to experiment, but we tend to roast a little darker for cold brewing, appreciating the added “punch” it brings to whatever we are concocting. Being the light-roast snobs that we are, this means dropping just before 2nd crack. Accordingly, we choose coffees that lend themselves to that style (Ethiopia naturals, Sumatras, Central Americans, and even decafs).

If you’ve never had cold brewed coffee before, you’ve never had coffee like it.

Happy (almost) Summer!

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