cold brew

  • Using Your Summer Leftovers

    We’ve all been there, sometimes your eyes are bigger than your stomach when it comes to coffee. Who wants to miss out on that natural Ethiopian? Do you really want to wait until next year for your favorite seasonal blend to come back? And maybe there’s something experimental and awesome you just have to try. But here you are, with loads of coffee that is losing its freshness. So what’s the solution? We’ve got a couple in mind!

    Batch Brewing

    The first way to use that leftover coffee is to brew it! Batch brewing means brewing a large batch of coffee at once. While there are some delicious and easy to use ways to brew a large amount of hot coffee at once, you probably don’t need a commercial drip brewer for everyday use. Considering that, cold coffee batch brewing is the way to go!

     

    With a Toddy Cold Brewer you can brew quite a lot of cold brew concentrate at once. From there you can refrigerate it for up to two weeks and have delicious cold brew every day. You could also batch cold brew lots of coffee and bottle it for your friends! One of the ways that you can really squeeze every last bean out of a bagged roast is to blend singles and blends yourself before brewing. Look for coffees with notes that will compliment each other, like chocolatey Colombians and rich berry tasting Ethiopian coffee. 

     

    Blending coffee like this is a fun way to experiment, and you may find you like it even with the freshest of the fresh roasts! For some ideas for preserving that coffee, read on!

    Coffee Preservation

    If you don’t want to brew it all at once, there’s always preserving it. While your mileage may vary with the existing freshness of the coffee, an airtight container can do wonders for freshness. Coffee stored like this can taste close to how it does right after opening it for months, giving you more time to enjoy it. 

     

    You can also freeze coffee to get a little more freshness. While this may not do much for coffee already at the end of its life, setting some aside to freeze from a fresh bag is a great idea. One thing to note, however, is that some drinkers might taste a difference in flavor with a frozen coffee, but not everyone will.

     

    Let us know if you have any tips for using your coffee leftovers!

  • Hot-Blooming Cold Brew

    If you’re here at the Seattle Coffee Gear blog we’re betting you know a thing or two about cold brewed coffee. This method of brewing has become incredibly popular over the last decade or so, and with good reason. Cold brewing coffee leads to fantastic extraction of flavor notes by slowly brewing coffee with the simplicity of overnight saturation. Did you know that you can tease even more flavors out of your cold brew with a neat trick? Follow along to find out!

    The Bloom

    If you’re a pour over drinker you’re familiar with the bloom. This is the part of the pour over process where you add water to your grounds, often around 1:1, to start the extraction and release gas from the grounds. You’ll see the grounds bubble as those gasses are released. This is an important step that is one of the reasons brewing pour over results in more distinct, smooth flavors than an old drip brewer.

    Cold brewed coffee already eliminates a lot of the bitterness that can come with coffee by nature of its slow-brew process. To get an even smoother, more complex flavor, you can bloom your cold brew coffee as well!

    How-To

    To do this, you’ll need to heat up some water to brew temp. For the very best flavor, you’ll want filtered water heated to 195-205 degrees fahrenheit. Once you have this water heated, add the hot water to your coffee grounds at a ratio of 1:1. You’ll want to let the coffee bloom for around a minute, which will release those gasses and flavors mentioned above. From there, simply add the rest of your room-temp or cold water and set your cold brew to saturate overnight!

    The resulting coffee will be smoother and more flavorful than your typical batch cold brewing. This technique works especially well for naturals and honeys that have a stronger flavor. If you think about this, it makes sense that brews that work best as pour over will also perform better using this method. It should be noted that this method of hot blooming your cold brew can add a very minimal amount of acidity to your coffee, but it’s something most coffee drinkers won’t even notice. It’s just something to keep in mind if you specifically need to keep your acids as low as possible.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, Hot blooming your grounds before you set your cold brew to steep can add flavor and depth to your caffeine concentrate. Give it a try and see how you like it, and let us know how it goes!

  • Iced Coffee Vs. Cold Brew

    It’s that time of year where we pull out our cold brewers and ice cube trays for some cool coffee treats. Staying caffeinated and cool isn’t so hard, but you might be wondering what the real difference is between iced coffee and cold brew. We’ve got your back, with an explanation of each method right here!

    Iced Coffee

    Iced Coffee is as simple as it sounds. You start with brewed coffee and simply add ice. The trick is in the way you add the ice without diluting the coffee too much, because simply brewing over ice will lead to lukewarm coffee as the ice melts. On the other hand, using cool water with a pour over or press won’t cause the coffee to bond with the water effectively unless allowed to steep (see the cold brew section!). There are a few ways you can mitigate this, and they offer varying flavors. 

    First, you can just brew coffee over ice. The trick here is adjusting your water to coffee ratio to account for the melting ice in the coffee. This also means that your flavor profile will differ a bit because you’re really brewing a concentrate that is being instantly diluted. Some machines, like the Breville Precision Brewer, have brew settings that help with this.

    The other option is to brew coffee in a glass carafe, then remove it from heat and let it sit until it reaches room temperature. This can feel counterintuitive, but when removed from heat, coffee can cool quickly enough that you won’t lose its freshness in the process. Then you simply pour the lukewarm coffee over ice, and it will melt slower than if you brew over the ice. 

    Both methods can lead to tasty iced coffee, so it’s worth experimenting with both, and with different coffee ratios and recipes to find what works for you!

    Cold Brew

    Over the past decade, cold brew has risen to prominence as a fantastic way to drink cold coffee. And there’s a reason for that! As noted above, cooler water takes longer to bond with coffee molecules. You can achieve this with colder water by giving it a longer steep time. There are some fantastic brewers that help you do this, such as the Toddy Cold Brew System. Systems like this use a filter and valve to allow coffee to steep for a long time (such as overnight) and then be drained from the brewer. The result is ready to drink cold brew, or cold brew concentrate that can be diluted with water, depending on the ratio of water to coffee used. Some simple, grab n’ go options that brew for portability are brew bottles like those that Primula offers. 

    Other cold brewing methods include brewers like the Bruer Slow Drip Cold Brewer.This brewer emulates the slow drip cold brewing method that’s popular in Japan. By modulating flow rate, you can get different flavors as the cold water slowly drips through the grounds.

     

    No matter what kind of cold coffee method you use, the principles of each are simple. Iced Coffee refers to hot brewed coffee cooled down to room temp and then poured over ice. Cold brew methods refer to coffee that is actually brewed slowly with room temperature water. Both offer unique flavor profiles and are delicious with a splash of milk or cream. Give both methods a try this cold coffee season!

  • Video Roundup 4/3/20

    Hey out there!

    It's a weird time right now, with many of us working from home we decided to do some special content. All of your favorites from SCG will be checking in from home, but this week we've got a mix!

    First up, I (Pat) ran through my at home brewing set up, and how I brew each morning!

    Next, Allie gave us her own tour of her setup.

    Finally, we've got a look at the Brewista Cold Pro Jr. with Ariel.

    That's all for now, join us next week for more home coffee content!

  • 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.

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