Weak Cold Brew?! Unsure of What is Wrong in Process...

I've been having a problem making cold brew over the last few months-it will sound strange, but here we go. I used to make cold brew all the time in my old apartment. I would use filtered tap water, and the recipe from NY Times Cooking (1/3 cup of beans to 12 oz. water), and would make it in my French press. I would usually get a fair amount of pressure when tamping down in the morning, and the cold brew was full-bodied and strong.

I moved in the spring (same city, so I don't think there has been any significant difference in the water quality), but whenever I have tried to make cold brew in the new place, it has turned out watery every time. There has been no pressure when I press down on the French press. I am so confused as to why this issue would pop up after a move-same equipment, similar beans, etc. Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be happening? (Am using coarse grind still, in a burr grinder...)

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5 Comments

Sarah H. August 1, 2019
That is really strange! When you use your French Press with hot water, how does it work? Have you tried mixing the grounds and water in a non-reactive mixing bowl and then pouring it into the French Press? I have been making cold brew for years and explaining to others how to do it and I’ve never heard this one!
 
Elizabeth August 3, 2019
Haven't tried either of those specifically yet, but again, good ideas. Thank you!
 
HalfPint July 31, 2019
I wonder if your cold brew problems have to do with hard water. You know how soap doesn’t lather up well in hard water. I’m wondering if coffee can’t diffuse in the water for the same reason (too much minerals preventing the coffee flavonoids from dissolving). Test with bottled water and see if it’s the water.
 
Elizabeth August 3, 2019
That is a good point-I did think about the water, but it's worth looking into further and experimenting with. Thank you!
 
Lori T. July 31, 2019
Similar beans are not the same, so the results can't really be the same. No matter what method you choose to make your coffee, it's all about the bean in the end. Where it grew, when it was picked, how it was fermented and roasted - all of that comes into play. It may be your new beans can't quite let go of their flavors at the lower temps you are using. Perhaps it will help if you do a hot bloom to start- that is pouring a small amount of hot water over them to get flavor release going. Then pour over your room temp water. Some of the flavors in coffee simply can't be released at low temps, and some coffees are just better at it than others. Even with the same company, the beans change slightly as seasons and the year goes by. So you just have to either find your old brand of beans, or play around with the method, or try a different brand of medium to dark roast beans. Me, I do a hot bloom when I want ice coffee, because I find an all room temp brew too muted.
 
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