Cold brew coffee is the new thing. Revolution might be too strong a word, but more and more coffee lovers are switching to the cold alternative, preferring it for a variety of reasons over their usual hot cup of joe. Growing in popularity since the mid-2010s, cold brew coffee (not to be mistaken with your iced latte or frappuccino) is becoming a staple option for many coffee aficionados. Let’s take a closer look at just how cold brew is shaking up the industry, as well as spilling the beans on the possible benefits of chilling out your daily cup.
A Brief History
In market terms, cold brew coffee seems to have suddenly come out of left field. But in actual fact the process has been under development for some time – maybe not rattling test tubes in a laboratory but certainly in the back of any forward-thinking barista’s mind. In fact, in some areas, cold brew has been available for years – in Japan, it has been made for centuries and is known as Kyoto coffee. In the West, cold brew is hot on the heels of the flat white and the aeropress as the new big thing. It has been making its mark in the coffee world, especially in the summertime and amongst the hipper coffee bars in town.
How It’s Made
Making cold brew coffee is not a quick process, and for this reason, it’s best made in bigger batches. You’ll need some basic equipment, and luckily there is a big range available on the market to help with the process. You’ll need to choose your favourite coffee beans, grind them and leave to soak overnight. This will leave you with a potent concentrate, which of course can be diluted to your taste. But you can get creative with your choice of coffee, as we’ll see below….
With myriad different blends available there is something for every discerning coffee lover’s palate. Whether you like your brew fruity, rich or with hints of delicious chocolate and nuts, a cold brew is a great way to explore nuances and intricacies which a hot cup may disguise. Due to the nature of it’s preparation, cold brew is less acidic than regular coffee, which means that discerning coffee lovers will detect a different or more nuanced profile from their choice of blend, without sacrificing the strength or boldness of flavour.
Much research has been put into cold brewing since its emergence on to the scene. Initial tests way back in 2007 showed that cold brew could be a contributing factor to cholesterol levels – prompting some serious rethinking about the process and product. Happily, less than a decade later this hard work paid off, and now a cup of cold brew, when prepared properly is actually much better for your cholesterol levels than a traditional espresso. It should be noted that some studies still show that hot coffee contains more natural antioxidants than cold brew – but common sense dictates that with any coffee, hot or cold, a moderate intake is advisable. That said, we mentioned before that acidity levels are much lower in cold brew coffee, so it is naturally gentler on the stomach, again, provided you choose your brew and method carefully.
Relish the fact that you can enjoy your delicious cup of cold brew coffee whilst simultaneously saving the Earth (or at least reducing your carbon footprint). With virtually no wastage during the brewing process (use those grounds in the garden!) and the fact that cold brew systems don’t use filters, you’re definitely leaning towards the green end of the spectrum. Of course, if you’re buying coffee, hot or cold, from an outlet make sure you take your own reusable cup.
OK, we understand that the most convenient way to get a cup of joe is to rock up to your local coffee shop and buy there. But if you take some time and make a big batch of cold brew at home you’ll be able to enjoy your coffee without worrying about breaking the bank or lightening your wallet. The average Australian spends almost $700 a year on barista-made coffee from cafes – so those costs do add up.
While cold brew coffee may not replace its hot counterpart, it’s becoming a staple of the market and has proven it isn’t just a fad. Much the same way that small bath craft beer has taken off, more and more people are seeking out new artisanal ways to enjoy their food and drink, and coffee is no different. Exciting flavours, refreshing yet strong and rich, cold brew coffee is set to make waves in the summer and all year round. With health benefits aplenty, less cost and easy home brewing why not chill out with a cold brew yourself?