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COLD BREW COFFEE is a misunderstood gem that by rights should be as closely associated with summer as ice cream, lemonade and July.
No, iced coffee isn't the same thing. 'It's cold, it's coffee - so what's the difference?' I hear you ask.
Well, it's in the brewing. Pick up a cold coffee at a generic coffee chain and check the label. Chances are it's got enough sugar in it to turn a nursery full of peaceful toddlers into a jabbering swarm of illegal ravers.
That's because iced coffee is made with espresso so without something to sweeten it it's as bitter as a page of the old testament.
Cold brew is a different beast altogether. It never comes into contact with heat so it retains the sweet and innocent, natural flavor profile coffee has before it starts hanging out with the wrong crowd and gets blasted in an espresso machine. It comes out sweet. Depending on how sweeter tooth you have, you might well find you don't need to sweeten it at all.
Sound good? Good. Here's how it's done with minimum messing about and maximum merriment.
Unless you're in the business of sterilizing crime scenes after the feds are finished, cleaning is a generally a pretty mundane affair. But when you're brewing anything less clean gear is an absolute no, no - soz.
Fresh beans, freshly ground. Repeat that manta, it'll make a difference. Having said that, there's no need to thrash yourself silly if you need to use pre-ground. It'll probably knock 10-20% off the end result. If you can live with that then crack on.
We used 2.6 ounces (75g) of medium ground Columbian here.
Oh, by the way, if you're short of a decent scale then you can grab the last one you'll ever need here.
Since we're talking percentages, one area you can score a few extra points is your water choice. Tap water will work fine, distilled or mineral water will work even better. Yeah, it sounds snobby but try it and you'll be converted quicker than you can say 'is Tom Cruise a Scientologist?'.
We're using 42 ounces (1.2l) of water today.
To avoid unnecessary bitterness, put the coffee in the filter and gradually pour the water through it. It'll get the coffee grounds evenly wet so it all extracts flavor at the same rate.
Now it's a case of waiting. You can let it brew at room temperature if you want. Most people tend to brew it in the refrigerator which just means it's nice and chilled for when you're ready to drink it.
We brewed ours for 24 hours. If you want it stronger you can leave it up to 48 hours but we wouldn't recommend much more or it can start to taste bitter.
So you resisted the temptation of drinking it after an hour or so, yes? Well done. Your brew is gonna be pretty concentrated at this point. So the next pitfall to avoid is just downing it neat like a hopeless drunk in a bus stop.
You might like it with a bit of a punch but we diluted ours a little. As with anything, coffee is all about personal preference so your best bet is going to be experimenting here. You'll hear about 'golden ratios' and things like that but at the end of the day, your golden ratio isn't the same as anyone else's.
Slosh in some water. Slide in some sugar. Jig in some gin. However you drink it, just remember to enjoy it.
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