Why You Need to Ditch Cold Brew and Replace it with This...

Ok ok, I am not hating on cold brew. Cold brew was the hottest craze for a while. Especially under the warm summer sun, at the beach, or even in your backyard, cold brew is refreshing, delicious, and of course, delivers on your daily caffeine needs. A few years ago, grocery store clerks would scratch their heads if you asked them where the cold brew was stocked. Today that is not the case at all. Now it can even be confusing standing in front of the cold brew rack trying to figure out which brand is the best. We personally like Califa Farms Cold Brew, by the way.

A couple years ago, when Cold Brew was getting discovered by the masses some of the coffee snobs on youtube, twitter and various blogs online stuck up their noses and offered another alternative to Cold Brew, and for a good reason.

The alternative was freshly brewed iced coffee. And yes, those are two different drinks.

The best way to make iced coffee is to brew hot coffee over ice. To do this use the same amount of coffee grounds you normally would, except grind the coffee a little finer than normal. If you are using a pour over brewing device that’s perfect, if not this will work just fine with an automatic brewer as well. Before brewing the coffee you are going to use half to two-thirds the amount of water than what’s typical, and you are going to put some ice cubes inside whatever container you are brewing the coffee into. It’s as simple as that!

There’s no reason to add a value judgment on which type of coffee one ought to consume, but for someone who is an aspiring coffee connoisseur, it’s helpful to know the differences. In reality, we aren’t telling you to throw out your Cold Brew habit, but if you haven’t tried brewing and tasting some iced coffee you’re missing out. Here’s why.

The Freshness Factor

Most people would agree that the fresher the ingredients, the more vibrant the flavor. The same is true for coffee. When it comes to Cold Brew, the brewing process requires time. In some ways this can be an advantage. Time is an advantage to many drinks that require fermentation for flavor development, but coffee isn’t (well, shouldn’t be) one of those drinks. Time is an advantage to the Cold Brew process in that a long brew time lends towards a higher viscosity, which we would equate to thickness or a syrupy mouthfeel. Cold Brew is almost creamy in the way it coats your mouth. But time is also a disadvantage to the Cold Brew process because of oxidation. The more time coffee is exposed to oxygen, the more aromatic compounds leave the coffee. We primarily taste through our sense of smell. Cold Brew by nature of the brewing process, will always have a less vibrant flavor.

When it comes to brewing iced coffee, the process favors vibrancy and brightness in the cup. The reason for this is because when fresh coffee is brewed into a bed of ice, the breakdown of the aromatic compounds, which are largely responsible for a vibrant flavor, slows down. This results in the freshness being preserved in the cup.

Recommended Products for Pour Over:
Simple scales
Hario Drip Coffee Decanter
Bonita Variable Temp Kettle

The Extraction Factor

Extraction is a fancy term for describing the process of water taking the flavor from the coffee grounds. Various factors such as brew time, water temperature, grind size and others can all have an effect on the extraction process. One of the biggest differences in Iced Coffee and Cold Brew is the brew time. Iced Coffee lends towards a short brew time, usually shorter than hot black coffee since it requires less water passing through the coffee bed. Cold Brew has by default a very long brew time, anywhere from twelve to twenty-four hours.

The way extraction occurs in both of these methods varies widely. Usually, the Cold Brew method will yield earthy, bitter and sometimes sweet flavors, but it can be flat in comparison to Iced Coffee, which yields bright, vibrant, complex and sweet flavors. The mouthfeel will often be crisp, clean and refreshing.

In the end, no one needs to stop drinking Cold Brew. The thicker creamy texture, and earthy flavors are very favorable, but if you haven’t tried a truly delicious and fresh Iced Coffee, like we said, you’re missing out.


READ MORE: Want Espresso at Home? Consider These Machines First.

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