Summer

  • 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!

  • Cold Brew Crazy!–Part 2

    Last week we discussed the differences between cold brew and iced coffee. This week we're going to talk about the most important part: How to make your own!

    Selecting a coffee roast

    The first part of any coffee brewing process is selecting the right roast. Cold brew is no different! Selecting a roast for cold brew is a little different than drip or press brewing. Cold brewing results in lower acidity in the coffee at the cost of also losing more complex flavors. This means that very delicate light roasts can end up tasting muddy. By the same token, a roast that may seem too acidic as a press or drip brew may taste great as a cold brew!

    Some coffees, such as Kickapoo's Icebreaker or Dogwood's Zamboni are specifically roasted for cold brew. You can also try brewing coffee as a pourover, another brew method that results in lower acidity, to see if you'll enjoy a roast as a cold brew.

    Brew methods!

    There a number of ways to actually brew your cold brew. We love to use custom made cold brewers like the Toddy Cold Brew System or the Osaka Mount Fuji Cold Brew Dripper. Both of these systems make cold brewing an easy process.

    If you want to take a more DIY approach, you can make cold brew using presses and pitchers as well. No matter what you're using, the first step is the grind. You'll want to use a 1:8 ratio of coffee to water for cold brewing, so keep this in mind as you grind your beans. You'll also want to use a coarser grind setting, like you would for a pourover.

    Time to brew

    Depending on your choice of brew method, your next steps will be different. When using a press or pitcher, you'll combine your grounds with water in the container and stir. This is similar to using a Toddy system, except that there are some additional steps for setting up and they recommend that you don't stir (check out the link above for more in the Toddy Cold Brew System). In an Osaka or other drip brew system, you'll typically put grounds in the filter, just like any other drip brewer.

    Once you've added your coffee and your water, you'll want to let your brewer do it's thing! In the case of immersion brewers and presses you'll let the mixture sit on the counter for 8-16 hours, depending on method. You can also place the brew in the refrigerator, though it will take longer due to the lower temperature.

    After letting the coffee sit overnight, it'll be time to strain. It's generally OK if you go a little long on brew time, as this won't affect taste. To strain the coffee, you'll either use a filter to strain out the grounds (immersion), or plunge your press (when using a French or other press). In the case of a specialized cold brewer like a Toddy, follow the instructions provided (the Toddy and the Osaka both drip strain as they brew).

    Once you've strained the coffee it'll be ready to drink! depending on brew method and coffee:water ratio, you may need to dilute your brew. You can do this to taste with water.

    Thanks for joining us for some tips on ways to make (cold brew) coffee you'll love!

  • 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 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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