Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: What's the big fuss about cold brew? Let us explain.
Iced coffee in the summer -- it's a given. It's cold, it's refreshing, and for many of us, it is a necessity. But what's the big fuss over cold-brewed coffee?
There are a few things about a cold-brew that have made it into the summer beverage du jour. The first thing most people note about cold-brewed coffee is the lower acidity level. Since the grounds never come into contact with the intense heat of boiling water, the flavor profile of the final brew is different than with drip coffee. Similarly, when hot coffee is rapidly cooled, it creates a slightly bitter taste. One of the major draws of a cold-brewed cup of iced coffee is that it will have a smoother, slightly sweeter flavor.
Finally, a cold brew is pretty much ideal for iced coffee because it is more concentrated than a traditional, hot-brewed cup o' joe; the addition of ice and cold milk or cream will dilute it just enough without watering it down.
Iced coffee is more expensive than hot coffee, and cold brew is even pricier. Yet many people are willing to pay extra because they are intimidated by making it at home.
You're in luck; with only three steps, cold-brewing might be the easiest coffee method out there.
Grind, Soak, Wait
The ratio of coffee grounds to water is pretty debatable; personal tastes will dictate your own. A good place to start is 1/3 cup of ground coffee to 1 1/2 cups of water. After you find the ratio that you like best, you can adjust the size to fit as large a brewing vessel as you want. The type of grind, however, has been universally decided upon: it must be coarsely ground. A smaller grind will result in a cloudier liquid.
Put the coffee in your brewing container and add the water.
Stir to make sure all the grounds have been moistened, then cover and place on the counter or in the fridge over night, for at least 12 hours.
In the morning, strain twice through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve.
Add ice, milk, or your other favorite coffee companions and enjoy.
Note: To make a simple process even simpler, this can all be done right in a French press: Add the coffee and water and put the lid on but do not plunge. In the morning, press, pour, and drink -- easy enough to do without caffeine.
What are your tricks for cold brewing? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by James Ransom