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With temperatures climbing into the triple digits, more people are reaching for a cooler version of their morning java. Instead of watered down iced coffee, try something that's cool from the start: cold-brew coffee.
Cold-brew coffee is indicative of its name: coffee grounds are brewed with cold, cool or room temperature water for a period of time (much longer than your average hot brew), and upon completion, served over ice.
"Cold-brew coffee is perfect for summer," says Ross Beamish of Caffé Vita. "It has a remarkably low acid content, maintains a caffeine content similar to traditional hot processes, lasts a long time and is very easy to prepare. It’s surprisingly mild, refreshing, and perfect for a warm day. It also makes a delicious addition to mixed drinks."
Five Ways to Enjoy Cold-Brew Coffee: Ross Beamish
1. Order a cup of cold brew from a coffee shop that makes it
This really is the best introduction, and the most consistent way to try different blends and coffee origins. Cold brew is made in a high volume, multi-filtered basin, usually one trademarked by the Toddy company (you will hear cold brew sometimes referred to as a "Toddy").
A large quantity of medium blend, coarsely ground coffee (5-10 lbs) sits in cold, filtered water and brews from 12-24 hours depending on a variety of factors and variables all carefully calculated by coffee company nerds in quest for the perfect product.
Because of the nature of cold extraction, the absence of heat brings out specific flavors in coffee beans characteristic to their origin in exciting ways. Some single-origin coffees make for a tasty and interesting cold brew. As with hot coffee, people develop their favorite cold-brew origins.
2. Try a Kyoto-style cold-brew drip
This is another cold-brew method, only more specialized (OK, way more specialized). Kyoto-style coffee is produced out of a Japanese crafted "Oji" machine, an impressively eye-catching contraption that looks like something Kevin Costner would have searched out in "Waterworld."
It’s tall, fragile, made of glass bulbs, brass, nylon netting and stained oak. The Oji brews a 6-cup batch (1500 cc) of cold-brew coffee, literally drip by drip -- 48 drips a minute -- to ensure the right time to volume, about seven hours.
Because of the extremely high caffeine content and size of the batches, Kyoto is served in four-ounce servings over ice. This method produces a light body and a deep sweetness that's always highlighted when brewing cold. First timers are always surprised by the smoky or cask flavor, often comparing the brew to flavors of a scotch or whiskey.
3. Make cold brew at home using a French press
Start with a clean, dry French press (6 cup or larger) and add one half pound of coarsely ground coffee. (Conveniently, a French press grind works optimally.) Add 5 cups of cold, filtered water and stir gently. Cover the top of the press with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit (brew) for 8 hours.
After the brew time has completed, plunge the French press as normal. You’ll want to select a vessel to decant the coffee into, a mason jar with a lid works well. Pour the brewed coffee through a mesh strainer into the container and store in the fridge, the brew will keep well for up to a week.
To serve, dilute two parts cold filtered water to one part cold brew and serve on ice. You can dilute the cold brew with milk for a creamier product.
4. Now that you have cold brew in your fridge, make a cold-brew cocktail
Via this recipe adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book:
1.5 oz cognac (Recommended brand: Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
.5 oz Kirschwasser (Recommended brand: Clear Creek)
.5 oz coffee concentrate
.25 oz simple syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with three cherries on a pick.