Cold brewed coffee is a process of brewing coffee using room temperature water (20 degrees celsius) or cold (refrigerated) water. Typically, we use 10-12 gms of coffee powder, immerse it in 150-200 ml hot water and a decoction is ready in 2-4 minutes. By using the cold brew method, we let the coffee grounds steep in water for much longer - varying anywhere between 8-24 hours depending on what your preferred coffee brand suggests. However, there's no rule for the coffee to be brewed in a certain proportion to water or to be steeped for so many hours.
Every coffee can be brewed cold but altering parameters would vary the taste profile at the end of the process. Hence, all coffee brands would always mention proportions they think suit best with their coffee blend.
So once you buy a blend, how you brew it is totally in your hands. You may experiment altering proportions of coffee to water and the steeping time.
Choosing Grind Size
Since we're brewing coffee for several hours, the coffee grind size should definitely be coarse. Typically, call for coarsely ground coffee powder when ordering coffee online or purchasing off the shelf. In most cases, you'd get a consistent grind size from a burr grinder.
Why This Is Important:
(Assume you're brewing coffee for 16 hours)
It is important to get your grind size right because if the size is too small, in 16 hours it might over-extract. Not just that, when you filter, the fine particles would escape from your filter and show in your cup. Also, the coffee would be cloudy. This cloudy coffee when stored in your refrigerator would allow the particles to settle down at the base of your container bottle and create mud. What happens if there's mud? The coffee is still brewing and the coffee powder is still in contact with water. This will not only over extract and change the profile of coffee but will also decrease its shelf life.
Cold brew coffee has the highest amounts of caffeine any cup of coffee could have. This is possibly because water is interacting with coffee grounds for over so many hours hence lending all the possible caffeine. While it is a good healthy pre-workout drink to have, it can also have consequences if consumed too much during the day. However, everyone responds differently. It is highly recommended to have a glass of water minutes before having your cup of coffee to avoid dehydration.
How To Brew (Bili hu) Cold Brew Blend:
Taste profile: Dark chocolate and nuts
Low acidity, full, rich bodied, flavourful cup.
1. Take 100g coffee powder and add 1.5 litres of water. Can be altered depending on how strong you want it.
2. Cover and leave it undisturbed for 16-18 hrs. Bitterness and strength would increase with time.
3. Use steel strainer and a layer of muslin cloth to strain. Do not stir or use force while straining. You can simply use a cold brew maker if you have one.
4. Store it in the refrigerator in a closed lid glass bottle or flask.
5. Use within the next 10 days.
6. When serving, add ice cubes, milk and sweetener to taste.
7. Try serving with fresh herbs or experiment for mocktails and cocktails!
How It Tastes Different From Hot Brew:
Typically when coffee is brewed at temperatures ranging from 93-98 degrees celsius, the acidity gets highlighted in the cup to a certain extent. However, in a cold brew method, the coffee grounds are not exposed to high temperatures hence the acidity is much lesser in comparison and we are more likely to achieve a smooth, rounded cup. If the brew is too concentrated, it is recommended you cut it with water (preferable ice cubes) and have it chilled.
About the author: Bharat is a retail designer by profession from MIT Institute of Design, Pune, Maharashtra. He was introduced to the coffee world in 2011 when he got to work on a project for the Coffee Board of India. Since then he’s researched, studied and learned more about coffee - from crop to cup. To share his learnings with the world and connect with like-minded people looking out for good coffee, he founded Bili hu - a brand that focuses on bringing to the customer some of the finest coffees produced in Indian estates.