What's Up With Cold Brew?
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Yo, it still feels like summer (at least in LA) -- we want cold brew. Yes, I know some places in the country *actually* have seasons. But, for some of you, myself included, you probably want cold brew all year-round. Although, to be fair, it’s pretty much cold-brew weather every day when you live in Los Angeles. And, btw, we’re dropping our favorite cold brew recipe at the bottom if you want to skip all of this entirely.
Anyways, back to cold brew. More and more, our friends, coworkers and people on our social feeds have made cold brew a staple within their daily routine. Some say it’s because of an insane caffeine kick, others love it for being amazingly refreshing, and as the rest of the world has realized, Americans just love their ice.
We want to dive a bit deeper and understand why our culture has adopted cold brew so easily, and has made it one of our go-to choices for coffee drinks. Our take on the rise in cold brew consumption comes down to a few different reasons:
It’s less bitter than hot brewed coffee -- For many people, they take their hot coffee with a bit of cream and sugar to cut the bitterness and give it a taste that satisfies their palate more. However, with cold brew, coffee drinkers are more likely to drink it black -- and they have good reason! When you brew a normal cup of hot coffee, the hot water sparks a reaction that extracts more bitterness and acidity into your cup. For many, this is the process that can create a flavorful, complex cup of coffee; but, for others, it simply translates into one word -- bitter! When you are doing an extraction via a cold brew method, your finished cup has less bitterness and acidity. TLDR; cold brew is smoother and sweeter than hot brewed coffee.
There’s less acidity -- A cup of hot brewed coffee is notorious for causing an instant trip to the bathroom, heartburn, or just a general discomfort in the chest and stomach areas. And, if you haven’t guessed by now, all of those reactions are because of the amount of acidity that’s extracted via hot brewed coffee. While cold brew isn’t perfect, it has significantly lower levels of acidity and gives us that rush of caffeine without all of the side effects that many don’t like. For some, the sometimes uncomfortable side effects of hot coffee deters them from drinking coffee entirely. While we understand this completely, cold brew gives people another great option.
It (mostly) packs a serious caffeine punch -- Time and time again, we hear our friends and coworkers saying they just had a cold brew to justify or explain something. And, now, it’s become a term that evades the need for any additional context. Ex: “You seem cheery this morning!” “Oh, I just had a cold brew.” And, that’s the end of that interaction… you get the point. In order to make cold brew, you need to steep coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time. After 12-24 hours of steeping, you’ve successfully created cold brew concentrate. After you have the concentrate, the possibilities (and levels of caffeine in your cup) become endless. Many people like to cut their cold brew concentrate with water, and then serve it into a cup, add ice, and potentially cream or dairy substitute. Or, some like to cut it directly with a bit of ice and their choice of cream or dairy substitute. For this reason, caffeine levels in cold brew aren’t really standardized and can vary based upon where you get it from. However, more often than not, your cold brew has higher caffeine levels than a normal cup of hot brewed coffee. Many of you love it for that very reason, and I can confidently say I do, too. There’s nothing that quite hits like an afternoon cold brew on a summer’s day. So, remember, if you are making cold brew at home, you have complete control over how amped up you’re trying to get yourself.
Check out our favorite cold brew recipe below. Drink responsibly.
1: Take about 1 cup of medium-coarse coffee grounds and put it in a pitcher/container. We like to use a large french press. But, any sort of pitcher will work!
2: Add 32oz. of water, stir, cover, and leave at room temperature for 12-18 hours. Depending how impatient we are, that time frame varies. :)
3: If you’re using a french press, simply push the filter down and pour into your container. If you’re using a cheesecloth or a cold brew filter, squeeze it and get all of that concentrated goodness out. Some people like to run it through an additional filter, but we don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.
4: For your final steps, the choice is yours. You can dilute with some water or cream, immediately pour over ice, or chill it for later. Our best recommendation is to play around and experiment with your cold brew concentrate until you’ve found something that tastes amazing to you.
Tip: For our coffee grounds, we found that using old coffee beans (even random mis-matched ones together), create a super smooth and flavorful cold brew. Don’t throw away those old beans!
Sam Rahim, Founder