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Old 06-30-14, 04:04 PM   #1
Garfield Cat
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Cold Brewed Coffee

I tried posting this in Foo but no response so here goes:

I am trying the cold brew method on coffee beans that I buy at a Whole Foods store. French press. But I was wondering if the water really needs to be "cold". I haven't seen any variations on water temperatures. It seems to me that room temperature water or even slightly elevated is still ok and would shorten the time to get at the same results. Or at least, so close that one might find it difficult to tell the difference.

The other thing is that cold brewers say that you get the coffee flavor without the bitterness. But when I see the recipes online, it says to add a sweetener of some sort. Well, doesn't that smooth out the bitterness?

Any experience with this?
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Old 06-30-14, 07:18 PM   #2
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It's really a matter of taste. Though, to clarify, the recommended amount of time for cold brew is 8 hours - often overnight in the fridge.
I use hot water (hot as the tap will make it), and then immediately put it in the fridge. This is for a couple reasons. I prefer a little more acidity in my brew, given by a increased water temperature (It should be said that this method produces a drink that is still a lot more mild in acidity than traditional preparation). I also prefer more generous amounts of caffeine, whose liberation from the bean is dependent on both brew time and water temperature - this method producing something that is more like or traditional prep. Take it out, plunge, drink.

Cold water, used to brew french press in a cold fridge overnight tends to produce a weaker, more watery substance that , while still delicious, will not light a fire under your ass as one would expect a french press to do.

Cheers!
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Old 07-01-14, 10:51 AM   #3
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Lamp-Shade, you may want to read up a little bit on the possible contaminates in hot tap water.
Why you shouldn't use hot tap water for drinking or cooking | Vancouver Sun

As for the OP, I've never been able to duplicate cold brewed coffee that I've purchased. But I left it sit on the counter in the french press most of the day and it tasted pretty good.
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Old 07-01-14, 11:47 AM   #4
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So there are a seemingly a million variations to cold brewing (and anything else coffee related). I like a light roast (1cup) with filtered tap water in a French press (I believe 32oz). I let it brew for 12 hours, plunge, and pour into another container (I'll brew 2 or 3 nights in a row).

No sweetener for me, just some almond milk or half and half. This is very different from my hot coffee preference of a dark roast which I always drink black.
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Old 07-01-14, 05:14 PM   #5
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Ok, here's what a micro beer brewer says:

[The idea of a cold brew is interesting to me. From what I know about beer, I have an idea of why cold brewing makes a less bitter cup of coffee. At least for cereals, using hot water to extract out the sugars also extracts out tannins and other flavor compounds that contribute to a harsh bitterness or astringency. Using colder water will extract out fewer tannins, but also less sugar, meaning it takes longer. With that in mind, it shouldn’t matter if you use room temperature water or actually cold water. The solubility of bitter compounds is minuscule in water at room temperature. Going colder won’t do a whole lot. I have a feeling that people brew in the refrigerator to prevent the coffee from staling while they extract it out of the beans. This is of course going off the assumption that coffee beans are in some way similar to malted barley. I would hope that there are more similarities that differences.

As far as adding sweetener, I think what they mean is cold brewed coffee has a lower concentration of bitter compounds. Adding sweetener will absolutely smooth out the perceived bitterness, but that’s more of a balancing of flavors as opposed to a removal of flavors.

I’ll do a little bit of research when I get home. There has to be some sort of association of coffee science out there.]
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Old 07-01-14, 05:23 PM   #6
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The cafe I work at does their cold brew with room temp water and leaves it to brew at room temp. No big difference in taste compared to when I brew in the fridge. Taste differences come from the actual beans used.
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