As the last days of Spring tease us daily with its bipolar weather, it can make many of us anxious for those glorious summer days of chasing trails up mountains, racing friends in paddleboards at Lake Estes, and those mornings and afternoons sitting by the river at Kind Coffee with friends, a good book, or just relaxing, listening to the river as it rushes by. With so many iced coffee type drinks readily available, how do you choose? Do you go for a delicious iced latte with a flavor or two or just that rush of caffeine as you pour freshly pulled espresso over cubes of ice? How about that simple, plain yet complex, taste of a good cold brew coffee? Many people think cold coffee is blasphemous. Allow me to enlighten you on its fine history.
First evidence of true cold brewed coffee, coffee made with cold water, comes from Japan. Named Kyoto-style coffee for its popularity in Kyoto, Japan, cold brew has been brewing since the 1600’s, according to earliest documents found thus far. It is possible Dutch traders may have passed the recipe to the Japanese. The traders would have used it as a way to make coffee on the ship.
Cold brew has become artistic over the centuries, evolving from full ground coffee submission for hours to letting a single bead of water pass through the ground at a time. Highly caffeinated and simple to make, cafes all over America quickly adopted the cold brew process. Not only does the process amplify the coffees characteristics, caffeine, and flavors, it also significantly reduces any acidity.
In general, coffee grinds contain carious oils, acids and other aromatic molecules, all characteristics contributing to the coffee beans flavors. The brewing process extracts the characteristics from the grounds making that delicious drink of coffee. The temperature of the brewing process affects the solubility, the ability to dissolve the solubles out of the grounds and into the water, and the volatility, their ability to evaporate into the air.
The solubles dissolves best at an optimal temperature of 195-205F. With more solubles extracted, hot brews tend to be more full-bodied and flavorful, increasing the volatility giving rise to that scent of freshly brewed coffee. However, oxidation and degradation occur rapidly at higher temps, oxidizing the oils causing the coffee to taste sour and degrading the acids creating that bitter taste.
Brewing coffee in cold water, the solubles require longer brew time to effectively extract from the grounds. Due to lower yielding solubles, cold brew is sometimes described as flat if not brewed for the proper time frame. Cold brew tends to be less aromatic due to the decreased volatility. Oxidation and degradation still happen in cold brew, but at a much slower pace, leaving bitterness and acidity at the door. Cold brew takes on a much sweeter, almost floral flavor, completely different from the flavor profile that tends to be found in hot brews.
There are a few different ways to make cold brew coffee. The two most popular processes are Dutch coffee, ice cold water dripped over freshly ground coffee for 3 ½ - 12 hours, and Cold Brew, fresh ground coffee steeped in cold-room temperature water for 12-24 hours.
Proudly brewing cold brew since KIND first opened its doors, come enjoy a cup with us as the weather continues to encourage that cold cup of coffee and spend some time outside in this beautiful and nature filled setting we get to enjoy.