cold brew

  • Cold Brew Crazy!—Part 1

    Hey coffee lovers!

    This week we're excited to kick off a two part series on a great Summer treat: Cold brew!

    Whether out on the boat for a weekend or just grabbing lunch on a sweltering work day, cold brew is a cool and delicious way to get your coffee fix. But what's the difference between cold brew and iced coffee? Why go through the extra hassle? Turns out, there's a lot of reasons!

    What makes cold brew different?

    The main thing that separates cold brew from iced coffee is concentration. This difference in concentration occurs because of how the two types of cold coffee are brewed. Typically, an iced coffee is simply coffee brewed hot poured over ice. This leads to a pretty standard cup of joe, but cold, instead of hot. This also can lead to the same degree of bitterness, which can be more noticeable in drip brewed coffee after it is cooled.

    Cold brew tends to be much more involved. While there are many cold brewing methods, typically they all involve using, you guessed it, cold water. Because of the way coffee brewing works chemically, it takes much longer to do with colder water. The solution then, is to use either extra pressure, or immersion (or both)! We'll cover some specific brewing methods in our next feature, but tools like presses make the cold brewing process easier. You can also use immersion process like simply letting coffee grounds sit in water overnight (though this requires somewhat frequent stirring and can be harder to get right).

    Concentration equals customizability!

    Because cold brew is produced over a long time (or with a lot of pressure), it also is far more concentrated than normal drip coffee. The nice part about this is that you can always add water to get just the amount of caffeine and flavor you're looking for! This also means that a pitcher of cold brew can go much further than a carafe of coffee, and it'll keep for days so long as it's refrigerated. What's more, despite higher caffeine amounts and a stronger flavor, cold brew lacks that bitterness mentioned above. This makes it smooth and easy to drink, even for those who don't typically favor coffee in the first place!

    Hopefully we've sold you on some of the benefits of cold brew coffee. Join us next week when we dive in to actually brewing it!

    Thanks for reading!

  • Recipe Spotlight: Cold Brew

    Summer can only mean one thing! Cold brew!

     

    We thought you might enjoy a couple of interesting cold brew recipes to beat the Summer heat with!

    Vanilla Almond Swirl

    What you'll need:

    • 3oz Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
    • Almond Milk
    • 2-3 Drops of Vanilla Extract
    • Pinch of Cinnamon
    • Ice

    First add almond milk to taste, being careful not to overpower your coffee! From there, simply drop in the vanilla and stir, then either stir it in, or sprinkle your cinnamon on top! This should create a creamy, slightly spicey twist on your normal cold brew!

    Honey Coffee Blender

    What you'll need

    • 3oz Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
    • 3/4 Cup Frozen Yogurt (We Recommend Classic Flavor, Nonfat)
    • 1/2 Cup of Ice Cubes
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp Honey

    Throw everything into a blender, then blend until you get a smooth, creamy consistency! Blend a few extra servings for an interesting, tasty dessert for your Summer barbecue!

    What's your method of choice for enjoying a cold brew this Summer?

     

  • Crew Comparison: Toddy Cold Brew vs Osaka Cold Brew Dripper

    Cold brew is seeping the nation and it’s not hard to see why. Cold brewing takes the acidic bite out of coffee, leaving you with a deliciously smooth cup. Add a splash of milk and, well, the taste speaks for itself. Cold Brew is definitely a favorite at Seattle Coffee Gear. With the rise of cold brew drinkers, there are bound to be lots of questions like, what cold brewer is right for me?
  • Crew Review: Osaka Coffee Cold Brew Dripper

    How Does It Compare?

    Chemistry 101: First Lesson. How to make cold brew. This retro chemistry set is the Osaka Coffee Cold Brew Dripper. Unlike traditional cold brewers like the renowned Toddy, the Osaka takes a different approach to brewing. Do you know what it is? Hint: The answer is in the name. Give up? It drips water onto the coffee to slowly saturate the grounds. This way, you get more consistent extraction than with immersion methods. The slow-drip style of cold brewing first originated in Japan, and many versions of the ornate drip tower exist in coffee shops the world over.  The Osaka brewer shrinks this technique down for an easy at-home slow drip experience.

    The Osaka Cold Drip Brewer's small footprint saves counter space. The Osaka Cold Drip Brewer's small footprint saves counter space.

    Brew

    Fine-Tuned Control

    Stacked together like a set of Jenga blocks, the Osaka Cold Brew Dripper uses precise control during extraction. An adjustable flow rate spigot is located on the bottom of the reservoir. A quick turn of the dial Let it flow fast or  slow and steady. The faster the flow, the brighter (and less concentrated) your cup will be. And when we say fast, it’s more like a faucet dribbling. If you were aiming for the classic slow drip cold brew taste, we recommend a drip rate around 1 drop per second.

    The Osaka features a spigot to control the water flow. The Osaka features a spigot to control the water flow.

    Clean Cup

    Cold brew lovers value a clean cup of the good, strong stuff. The Osaka has a fine mesh filter made from sturdy stainless steel that’s easy to wash and reuse again and again. While it’ll keep all the coffee silt out of your cup, the mesh filter allows more oils to pass through than a traditional paper filter. As a result, the cup has more body. That said, the slow-drip makes a lighter concentrate than cold brewers like the Toddy. Depending on your taste, you’ll either love or hate this. We gave the Osaka a go with the Crew and it passed the taste test!

    Beauty

    Space Saver

    We love a cold brewer that fits into our cabinets! Some models are big, clunky space hoggers (the Toddy comes to mind). Fortunately, the Osaka Coffee Cold Brew Dripper is only 10.5 inches tall and a whole six inches wide. Better yet, you can take the piece apart to fit into tighter spaces—come on, you can totally make that work!

    The Osaka comes with a carafe, grounds container and water reservoir. The Osaka comes with a carafe, grounds container and water reservoir.

    Size & Materials

    Since the Osaka Coffee Cold Brew Dripper is a small guy, it can only make a couple cups of coffee. It rocks about a 19-ounce chamber and small grounds basket. One of the only cons we hear from coffee connoisseurs is plastic and water. The Osaka features a glass carafe and a plastic water reservoir and grounds chamber, which would make some turn the other way.

    The Osaka features a glass carafe. The Osaka features a glass carafe.

    Conclusion

    If you’re interested in trying a new way to brew, the Osaka Coffee Cold Brew Drip Brewer offers a novel brew profile in an adorably small package. Share your favorite slow-drip recipes in the comments below.

  • Top Three Cold Brew Systems

    The Round Up

    Are you looking for the best cold brew system? Then you’re in the right place—we’ve rounded up our top three favorite cold brew systems: the Toddy Cold Brew System, Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot and the Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew. For those not in the know, cold brew is a popular summer treat that’s best served chilled with a splash of your favorite mixer. Cold brew coffee is incredibly easy to make; simply add medium-coarse ground coffee, water and time! Let it steep in the container until you’re ready to filter it! The process is even easier with these systems purpose-built to reduce coffee oils and silt for a clean, easy drinking cup.

    Staff Pick: Toddy Cold Brew System

    We asked the Crew what their favorite cold brewer was and it was near-unanimous for the Toddy! The Toddy has been our trusty office coffee maker through the hot summer months. A couple of reasons the Toddy comes out on top is due to its reusable felt filter that removes a lot of the oil and silt from our coffee—in fact, we’d say it makes the cleanest cup of cold brew (of our favorites)! The filters require a bit of maintenance; they need to be stored in the fridge and eventually tossed and replaced, but overall the expense is worth a deliciously smooth, clean cup.

    Another reason we adore the Toddy is its size—48-ounces of coffee concentrate, coffee friends! It comes with a filter, the container to steep coffee and a carafe for the final product. The only things we’re missing is a lid for the brew container and a sturdier handle to move the Toddy. It’s small enough for a counter, but it’s the biggest cold brewer on this list, so if space is a consideration, we’ve got something else for you.

    Best Value: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot

    The Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot is one of the best values we’ve seen for a cold brewer (about the price of a bag of coffee). It uses a fine-nylon filter that traps grounds but leaves a little silt and oil—sort of like a French press. However, the filter is easy to pop out and rinse off with water (although it looks a little yellow after a few uses). The Hario is also the perfect size to store in a fridge door, saving you valuable real estate.

    Bonus for tea drinkers—the Hario is super versatile and can brew tea or coffee with cold and hot water! When the cold weather sneaks up, you can use your Hario as an immersion brewer. That’s a win-win in our books!

    Ease Of Use: Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit

    Out of all three, the Cuppow is hands-down the easiest clean! The CoffeeSock Cold Brew Filter is, yep, a sock-like filter made of organic cotton that you can toss in the washing machine or dishwasher. Best of all, you make this cold brew in a mason jar, which is not only on-trend but easy to replace if the unthinkable happens.

    Making coffee in the Cuppow is also a breeze. Add 3 ounces of coffee into the CoffeeSock and use the tie and plastic ring to secure the end and keep the grounds out of your coffee. Then add 21 ounces of water and allow it to steep for 12 to 24 hours. When you’re done, all you have to do is remove the sock and your coffee is ready!

    Conclusion

    We've gathered our top three cold brew systems; the Toddy Cold Brew System, Hario Cold Brew Pot and Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew, and compared their features for you to decide which one is best for you. There are so many coffee makers on the market, but finding the right one doesn't need to be difficult!

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  • Crew Review: Toddy Cold Brew System

    How Does It Compare?

    We're always in the mood for cold brew! The Toddy Cold Brew System is one of our go-to brewers for making the perfect coffee concentrate. The magic of the Toddy is it requires little effort on your part and then does all the hard work (making your coffee) overnight. There are a handful of other cold brewers on the market, but there’s nothing better than the Toddy’s super-sized five-gallon commercial model—yes, five gallons! Both use the same convenient brew methods, but the smaller, counter-size Toddy feels at home in your kitchen whereas the big five-gallon would fit in just fine at a cafe or restaurant. Of course, you could always size up, but be aware that the commercial model uses different filtration system: a combination of a reusable mesh strainer and disposable filters. So when you upgrade, don’t forget your filters (trust us, you’ll soon be on a cold brew train that five gallons won’t be enough)!

    The Toddy Cold Brew System makes about 48-ounces of concentrated coffee. The Toddy Cold Brew System makes about 48-ounces of concentrated coffee.

    Brew

    Brewing with the Toddy Cold Brew System is probably the easiest things we’ve ever done. Measure out your coffee, add water (no waiting for it to boil) and brew for 12 to 24 hours. It makes about 48-ounces of coffee concentrate—the final product—and is designed to hold a pound of ground coffee and 72-ounces of water. Of course, you’re not drinking this coffee in a cup. Since it’s concentrated, you will definitely want to dilute it and that leaves plenty for more. In fact, Toddy estimates it makes about 32 (6-ounces) cups of coffee, depending on how strong you like your coffee. It’s enough coffee that the Crew frequently has a Toddy steeping on the counter to caffeinate the whole office with enough for round two.

    While the coffee steeps for 12 to 24 hours, the rubber stopper keeps the coffee in until it's ready to drink. While the coffee steeps for 12 to 24 hours, the rubber stopper keeps the coffee in until it's ready to drink.

    What makes the Toddy so delicious is its efficient design. Created by Todd Simpson in 1964, the cold brew method removes “67% less acid” than hot brewing methods, according to Toddy’s website. The allure of cold brew is the deliciously smooth taste with less bite from the acids, so it holds up for us! Another important and sometimes forgotten factor in creating the smooth flavor is the Toddy’s filter (definitely don’t forget to put that in the Toddy). The filters are specifically designed for cold brewing to help remove the bitter acids and oils from the coffee. And for all you tea drinkers out there, we have good news for you—the Toddy is perfect for cold brewing tea too!

    Beauty

    One of the features we appreciate about the Toddy Cold Brew System is that it comes with a brew container and glass carafe. Once your brew has steeped for 12 or 24 hours, place it over the glass carafe and release the rubber stopper. The carafe makes it easy to pour a glass and store in the fridge for later—we recommend drinking it within two weeks—and eliminates trying to find the right container. Most importantly, since you can enjoy it for weeks, it stops the extraction process for that just right brew.

    The Toddy comes with a brew container and glass carafe for serving. The Toddy comes with a brew container and glass carafe for serving.

    Unlike paper filters, the Toddy filters can be reused! Toddy recommends changing it out every 10 to 12 uses or after three months. The only catch is you’ll need to clean and store filters in the fridge or freezer. We recommend a good rinse, without soap, and squeeze out the water before storing. We typically toss ours in the butter holder so we can find it for next time.

    While the Toddy’s white, plastic brew container won’t win any fashion awards, the ease-of-use and phenomenally smooth coffee more than makeup for looks! And the glass carafe is a nice touch. There are only a couple of design issues we have and those are 1. It doesn’t have a lid and 2. The handle is flimsy. We all know summer means bugs and it’s a bummer that without the lid, we could end up steeping flies along with our coffee. We usually cover the top with plastic wrap or foil to solve that issue. The handle, however, is too flimsy and we recommend using both hands to move the brewing container.

    The glass carafe makes it easy to pour yourself a glass (or two) of smooth coffee. The glass carafe makes it easy to pour yourself a glass (or two) of smooth coffee.

    Conclusion

    Cold brew is here to stay and we’re in love! The well-designed and affordable Toddy Cold Brew System makes it an easy option to add to your kitchen. And, as we mention above, if you need an upgrade, there’s a five-gallon commercial model available. Hands down, one of the features we appreciate the most is the Toddy’s reusable filters. These filters not only last for 10 to 12 uses (or three months, whichever comes first) but they help trap bitter acids and oils to create a smooth cup of concentrated coffee. And with about 48-ounces of concentrate to mix with, we bet there are plenty of amazing drink recipes out there.

    Want to learn how to make better cold brew? Check out this Coffee On The Brain episode with Amber.

  • Crew Review: Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit

    Mason jars, coffee socks and cold brew coffee. You might be thinking this all sounds like an episode straight from Portlandia. But we assure you, coffee-lovers, it’s no joke! The Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit is just that: a cold brewing mason jar kit with an organic cotton (we heard you laughing) CoffeeSock to brew your coffee grounds in.

    While you might be laughing still, this summer-friendly cold brew is going to knock your socks off (pun intended) with its deliciously smooth flavor.

    Check out our full video below to see how quick and easy it is to use the Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit.

    Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit

    What it comes with:

    • Organic cotton CoffeeSock Cold Brew Filter, created by Cuppow
    • 32-ounce mason jar

    How it works:

    1. If this is your first time using the CoffeeSock, make sure to boil it before you use it.
    2. Take your CoffeeSock and put it inside the mason jar. Fold the open end of the sock over the top of the jar, so it creates a nice opening for coffee grounds.
    3. Add three ounces of coarsely ground coffee into the sock.
    4. Grab 24 ounces of cold water. Add some of your cold water to let the grounds bloom, just like you do with a pour over.
    5. Add the remaining water into the jar.
    6. Close up the CoffeeSock using the built-in tie, so it’s nice and tight to make sure no grounds end up in your coffee.
    7. Stick it in the fridge for 12 hours or up to a day to brew.
    8. When the time is up, take out the CoffeeSock, squeeze it out and pour yourself a cold cup of coffee! (This makes a concentrated cup, so if it’s too strong for your taste, add water or milk. Enjoy!)

    P.S. Go ahead and drink it straight from the mason jar—we’re Seattle Coffee Gear, after all, we won’t judge.

  • Drip vs. Immersion Cold Brew

    We had a request from one of our viewers to do a taste  test comparing a full immersion cold brew and a slow drip cold brew. And you know we can't say no to a cup of coffee! So we brewed up the same coffee with the two different methods to see what the result was!Cold Brew

    What is full immersion cold brew you ask? This is probably the method of cold brew extraction you are most familiar with. It can be as crude as filling up a bucket with coffee and water and letting it sit or you can use something like the Toddy or OXO! (We were really impressed with the OXO, check out our taste test if you haven't already!) So just as the name implies, the coffee and water sit together for a period of time before filtering and then drinking.

    So then what is drip cold brew? Using a slow drip cold brew system is a little more involved, both in the equipment necessary as well as technique involved. Essentially you have your water slowly drip over your coffee grounds. And when we say slowly, we mean it! We are talking about a drip per second. The water slowly saturates the ground coffee, which then drips down through a filter and into your collection container.

    We were curious about how the two methods would change the taste of the coffee. Here is a little spoiler, the taste difference was much more pronounced than we could have imagined! Check out the video below to see the result!

     

    Do you have an idea for a video? Subscribe to our channel before leaving a request in the comment section!

  • Cold Brew Temperature Test

    Cold BrewAs you know, we get tons of questions and requests. And we try to answer as many as we can! Some may call it science, but we just think of it as an excuse to drink more coffee!

    Since summer is right around the corner we started getting a lot of requests around cold brew coffee! This question in particular was interesting to us. The viewer asked us if there is a difference in flavor if you steep your cold brew out at room temperature vs. steeping the cold brew in the refrigerator.  Well, there is really only one way to find out!

    We used the Primula for this experiment. Using the same dosage for both, we steeped one bottle at room temperature for 16 hours and we steeped the other bottle in the refrigerator for 16 hours.

    Watch as Gail gives these two a taste test and compares the methods!

     

  • Crew Review: OXO Cold Brew Maker

    OXO Cold Brew Is that....the sun?! This is a question we are hearing a lot up here in Seattle. And it can only mean one thing, summer is right around the corner! And for us at Seattle Coffee Gear, that means cold brew.

    And to celebrate the magnificent sunshine,  we are taking a look at the newest cold brew coffee maker on the market. The OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker! We all know the OXO products, you might even have their vegetable peeler in a drawer at home. But the OXO Cold Brew Maker won't be slicing any vegetables, and that's a good thing! This cold brew maker sticks to what is does best, brew cold brew!

    The OXO Cold Brew Maker features a rainmaker design that you pour your cold water though. This design allows the grounds to be evenly saturated with water and bloom properly, resulting in a tastier finished product. The glass carafe that catches the final product is constructed out of borosilicate glass, which is extremely durable.  After steeping, all that is needed to be done in order to drink the tasty concentrate is flip the brew release switch and let gravity do the work!

    The cold brew that this brewer yields is concentrated , so diluting 2 oz of the cold stuff with some ice or milk is suggested. You could of course dilute it with hot water if you prefer a hot beverage. The choice is up to you!

    This brewer won our unofficial Cold Brew Taste Test. Be sure to check out that video if you haven't already. Watch this Crew Review below before heading over to our YouTube channel and subscribing!

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