Cold-brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in room-temperature water for six to twelve hours. This creates a coffee concentrate you mix with cold water or milk. This is unlike iced coffee which is brewed hot and served cold. You chill hot coffee either by pouring it over ice or refrigerating it for a few hours before serving.
According to Bloomberg, when Starbucks debuted cold-brew coffee in its stores in 2015, iced drink sales reportedly surged 20 percent. Cold-brew enthusiasts say it tastes smoother than typical iced coffee, and those who are sensitive to acid believe it is easier to drink than hot coffee.
Pros of Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee is less acidic and less bitter than hot brewed coffee. According to some estimates, “cold-brewed coffee is 67 percent less acidic than hot-brewed.” This is because hot water extracts oily compounds from the grounds that dissolve easily in hot water. These oily compounds are high in acidity which gives hot coffee its bitter taste.
Cold brew coffee offers a more balanced cup with increased sweetness. By reducing the acidity, your palette can experience more of the natural flavors found in coffee beans. It has a smooth, rich texture with a sweet and aromatic finish. No need to add any sugar, it’s sweet enough as it is.
Additionally, some have found cold brew coffee is better for the digestive system. With less acidity, people suffering from acid reflux, heartburn, or other sensitive stomach issues will find comfort with a less acidic drink.
Cold Brew coffee is easy to make and stays fresh for up to two weeks. And it’s versatile and can be conveniently traveled with.
Why Is Cold Brew So Expensive?
Unlike hot coffee, which is quick made from ground coffee beans to a hot mug in a matter of minutes, cold brew is a moving target that requires some planning. Baristas have to start steeping coarsely ground beans in room-temperature water at least six hours before they want to serve it. Once supplies run out, they’re done for the day - there’s no running to the back to make a fresh pot.
This can be a bit tricky, especially in a cafe or food service environment. For example, if the weather is unseasonably warm, or a very large party arrives unexpectedly, a small coffee shop can quickly deplete its pre-made cold-brew concentrate. As a result, cafes often hedge their bets by pricing their cold brew higher than hot coffee, which they have in unlimited supply.
Cold brew will bring variety into your life. Since cold brew has a more balanced taste and higher flavor clarity, experimenting with single origins is like taking a trip to the vineyard. If you're not getting floral scents of arabica from Africa or the chocolaty & nutty flavors of Latin America then you're not drinking coffee. With the many specialty coffee roasters out there, never settle for ordinary coffee when you can buy from specialty roasters.
Kaplan, J. (2016, May 23). Cold Coffee Is Booming in the U.S.