Cold brew coffee. When I hear the mention my tastes buds begin to salivate in anticipation of this wonderful nectar from heaven (I am sure it’s there but I haven’t actually asked).  Welcome to our third installment in the Brewstructions series. Let me give you a quick why and then we’ll move to the how.

Background and Science

Why is cold brew coffee so much smoother than hot brewed coffee even after it’s put over ice?  Why are the flavors so much more vibrant especially on the origin side of things?  And why can I leave a pitcher/cup of cold brew out for hours or even days and it still tastes greats?  Well, it all comes down to the way that the chemical reactions happen in coffee when brewed with cold vs. hot water.  Obviously hot brewing is substantially faster, minutes at most compared to hours or days even for cold brew.

Many of the compounds in coffee are affected less by cold water as far as the chemical reaction and change into other volatile compounds than they are by heat.  Heat has a way of speeding up reactions and breaking big things into little ones. Colder temperatures, on the other hand, can be a slower reaction and can be substantially less violent and move larger molecules out of that beautiful bean. This produces a smoother, more robust taste.  For more information check out this link that explains it in even more depth, and in a very understandable way.

The Work Part

But enough of the science. Let’s get to the how. This process is so delicate and specific that one wrong move can destroy an entire batch and cause a large uncontrolled explosion the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since the last supervolcano erupted.  Ok, that’s the exact opposite of the truth. Everything I just wrote about a catastrophic event was just really cool writing.  It’s not complicated. Ok, now to get serious.

There are only a couple of things that you really need to know to make great cold brew concentrate.  Yep, I said concentrate. You’ll get a reeeaaaaalllllllyy strong coffee that you can dilute to your preference with half and half, water, or any other additive/beverage you choose, including lemonade (more on that later). Please don’t make it gross though, that would be just wrong.

Instructions for Cold Brew Coffee
  1. Use cold filtered water and keep the ratio of 4:1 (i.e. 4 cups water and 1 cup coarsely ground coffee).
  2. Fill the container with the correct amount of water and then pour in the coffee
  3. Give it a quick stir to make sure it is all wet and then seal the container and place it on the counter for 12-36 hours depending completely on how powerful you want your concentrate.

You will have to experiment with the time and slight tweaks to the ratio are fine as well. Make it your own. If you want a fruitier, more refreshing version try our Finca Santa Teresa from Panama. If you plan on adding milk or cream then you may want to try something like our Costa Rica. Whatever you choose, enjoy this wonderful beverage and find your Hidden River.

Thanks to Demi DeHerrera and Unsplash for the photo up top!