Cold brew coffee, a staple of coffee chains where its bitterness is usually nullified by copious amounts of whipped cream and artificial syrups, should not simply be hot coffee over ice. The proper way to make cold brew coffee is to brew it cold. To do so, there is one tried-and-true method that requires patience but ultimately produces a deeply satisfying cup of cold joe.
According to Paul Toscano, chief marketing officer of Joyride Coffee, “For purists like us, cold brew is coffee steeped in cold or room temperature water over a long period of time and never exposed to heat. There are many companies out there selling ‘cold brew’ that has a hot brew stage or uses heat as a major part of the process. In our mind, if you use heat at any point in the process, that really should just be considered iced coffee.”
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Cold brew should sit for approximately 18 to 24 hours. A slow infusion process lowers the acidity of coffee, a byproduct of pouring hot coffee over ice. One basic infusion process can be achieved at home with a large mason jar, a big bowl, a sieve, and either a sheet of muslin or a roll of paper towel.
After grinding your beans coarsely to the consistency of breadcrumbs, sterilize a large mason jar and using a 1:8 coffee-to-water ratio, place your grounds at the bottom of the jar and cover with cold water. Stir the mixture gently and cover for 18 to 24 hours, either in the refrigerator or on the counter.
After the coffee is brewed, strain the mixture into a large bowl through, a sieve to remove the larger grounds. Then wash the sieve and place the muslin or a few sheets of paper towel into the clean sieve, and strain back into the mason jar. You should repeat this process two or three times until there is no residue at the bottom when you finish your pour. If you are unable to sift all the grime out, don’t worry— it will settle on the bottom. Just remember next time to grind your coffee more coarsely.
Cold brew can be served over ice, with milk and sugar. The remaining coffee can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month due to its low acidity, though chances are you’ll enjoy it so much that it won’t make it past a week. Cold brew can also be made strong so it can be mixed with water in order to yield larger quantities. It can also be mixed with boiling water and served hot.
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