What Does Cold Brew do to Coffee?
Although its origins can be dated back to the 17th century, cold brew officially started as a boutique coffee movement a few years ago. To get your hands on a cup of cold-brewed joe, you had to find a specialist coffee shop. This didn’t last too long. Soon cold brew moved to the big leagues, and all you had to do was visit your nearest Starbucks or Peets to get your fix.
These days, you’ll find cold brew pre-packaged at gas stations and convenience stores worldwide. It’s trendy, so it must be good, right? Kind of. We’ll get to that. Let’s cover the basics first and define what cold brewing is and what it does to coffee.
Cold Brew Defined
Cold brewing coffee means steeping coffee grounds in cool water for a day or so and then filtering it. It is a simple method that does not require a coffee maker or other special equipment. All it takes is time to make good coffee. Besides being relatively straightforward to make at home, cold-brewed coffee is readily available as a concentrate, in a can, in various flavors, spiked, as a carbonated drink, in a cocktail, or as a shot (to mention but a few!)
Does this sound too good to be true? It depends on your definition of what good coffee is.
Cold-brew is an excellent choice for those who enjoy incredibly smooth coffee with low levels of bitterness. However, it’s not ideal for coffee connoisseurs who like percolating their brew to pack a more potent punch or those who enjoy the more delicate notes of coffee flavors and aromas.
You’ll need warm water to draw out the sugars, oils, and acids that give your coffee delicate flavor nuances. So, if you like having coffee with nutty, spicy, fruity undertones, or even a touch of bitterness, it HAS to be brewed hot.
Some Like it Hot
There is a reason why coffee is traditionally made with hot or warm water. The temperature of the water plays a massive role in how the coffee tastes. If it’s too hot, your coffee could be too bitter because super hot water decays the acids in the grounds into bitter compounds.
If the water is too cold but still warm, the coffee could taste sour because the water is not hot enough to dissolve the non-acidic compounds needed to balance the acidity.
So, What Does Cold Brew do to Coffee?
Cold brewing plays by different rules. It uses time instead of heat to draw out flavor and caffeine. The acids that make coffee bitter simply don’t get extracted, so the coffee is significantly smoother.
But, just like cold water doesn’t extract the bitterness, it leaves some of the other subtler flavor profiles behind. In a nutshell, cold brew can’t give you the rounder, deeper flavor, gentle sweetness, crisp acidity, or balance that hot brew can.
Yes, flavors dramatically change when you leave coffee grains to steep for hours, but it’s just not the same as coffee brewed with hot water, no matter how you dress it up!
Hot brewed coffee has a vastly better flavor profile, especially Snapchill™ coffee, which gives you the best of both worlds - the deep, rich coffee that’s been brewed hot but refreshingly cold. Join the Snapchill™ Coffee of the Month Club today.