Now that the weather is finally warming up here in the northeast, many coffee drinkers are making the transition to their favorite beverage served up cold. We're not talking about dessert-oriented frappachinos and their various cousins. This is about cold brew coffee. But there are many misconceptions about cold brew and its difference from iced coffee.
Cold brew is great simply served cold from the refrigerator or over ice. Or if you're looking for something more "adult", add a bit of rum or tequila or irish cream for a great cocktail.
Cold vs. Iced
Cold brew is typically brewed without any heat or hot water. Think of it as something similar to making iced tea that you place outside on your deck to soak in the sun. Time is what makes it great. Same with cold brew coffee. We take specially ground coffee, place it in something that resembles a tea bag and let it soak in cold water for 12-24 hours.
Iced coffee is commonly a double-strength hot brewed coffee that is poured over ice. It is typically medium in body and of course over time becomes diluted further by the melting ice in the glass.
What's the buzz?
Cold brew, in comparison, is a fuller body drink that can be sweeter and more balanced. It also is much higher in caffeine. Why? The longer coffee sits in water during the brewing process, the more caffeine that makes its way to the cup - so after 12-24 hours you've got a potent cold brew drink. Thus, espresso is frequently mistaken as a higher caffeine drink, which it is not because the water is pushed through the coffee grounds within 20-30 seconds.
There are lots of home cold brew machines on the market today. We like the Toddy Cold Brew System available on Amazon - in fact House Cup (and other large coffee companies) use their commercial equipment to produce our cold brew offerings for sale.