We’ve all heard the term cold brew coffee thrown around before. But do you know what cold brew actually is? What makes it different from iced coffee? Do we need a special cold brew coffee maker to brew it? The term may sound fancy but when it comes down to it, it’s actually quite simple.
In this post, we’ll break it down for you. We’ll take a look at the difference between iced coffee vs. cold brew, the benefits of drinking cold brew, and we’ve also included a recipe on how to make cold brew coffee in a French press.
Iced coffee vs cold brew
Let’s start with the basics. Cold brew coffee is made of three key ingredients: coffee, water, and time. Sounds like any other regular coffee or iced coffee right? Although it is very similar, there is one major difference: the brewing temperature. While iced coffee is brewed with hot water and poured over ice, the cold brew process is a bit different. Instead, the coffee brews at room temperature or with cold water, never coming in contact with heat. It is then diluted and poured over ice.
When heat is removed from the equation, no bitter or burnt tastes are extracted, leaving you with a naturally sweeter and smoother tasting coffee. That’s why when you go to cafes, they automatically add sweeteners and dairy to your iced coffee, covering up any bitter flavors the heat produces. For cold brew, these add-ons aren’t needed.
Does cold brew have more caffeine than iced coffee?
Typically, cold brew coffee contains more caffeine than a hot-brewed. Surprising? Not really.
Cold brew can contain up to twice the amount of caffeine than a hot-brewed cup.
Although you’d think because caffeine is more soluble in higher temperatures and hot coffee or iced coffee would contain more caffeine, there are other variables we need to take into consideration before making any assumptions of which drink takes the cake for the caffeine battle.
Let’s start with the obvious being the amount of coffee used. The cold brew ratio can be anywhere from 2-2.5 times more than hot-brewed or iced coffee- that alone doubles the caffeine content.
Another factor is the brewing time. For cold brew, the coffee grinds are immersed in water for a longer period of time (12-24 hours), again, increasing those caffeine levels. Of course, it’s going to be different depending on how you choose to brew it but more often than not, cold brew will contain more caffeine than iced coffee. Variables like the type of bean and size of grind you use will also affect the levels of caffeine.
In any case, if you’re trying to cut back on your caffeine intake, it’s probably in your best interest to stay clear of cold brew coffee.
Cold Brew Coffee Benefits
Cold brew has many perks. Aside from the high caffeine levels we just learnt about, cold brew is becoming the drink of choice amongst coffee junkies for various health reasons. Cold brew coffee benefits include:
As we’ve already learned, cold brew never comes in contact with heat, so harsh acids and oils from the beans don’t get extracted. This makes it easier on your body and is a great alternative for those who suffer from acid reflux.
Because cold brew is less acidic, it naturally produces a chocolaty and smoother taste. Iced coffee tends to taste bitter and sour as a result of the heat, hence why we often need to add sweeteners and dairy to achieve the creamy and caramelized flavors.
Better for your stomach
When you drink beverages like coffee, with high-acidity, your body becomes disturbed and your stomach turns. Luckily, cold brew coffee consists of more alkaline than acidity which is essential for functioning and healing.
According to Nutritionist, Vicki Edgson, the body functions best when it’s in an alkaline state.
How long does cold brew last for?
If you don’t add water to your concentrate, the concentrate will last up to two weeks in a properly air-tight container in your fridge. If you dilute it, it has a lifespan of about 2-3 days. With that being said, like most things, the fresher it is the better it will taste.
How to make cold brew coffee in a French press
Waiting in line at cafes for a cold brew can be a waste of time and can take quite the toll on your wallet. No worries. We have a solution: follow this simple cold brew coffee recipe! It’s easier than you think and if you’re a coffee aficionado, you probably already have all the equipment you need to make it- no fancy cold brew coffee maker needed. Read on to start learning.
What you’ll need:
Cold brew coffee recipe:
1) Grind your coffee beans using a burr grinder and put them in your French press. The grind should be medium to coarse- about the size of sea salt. Any finer will result in a gritty and cloudy coffee.
2) Using a cold brew ratio of 1:4 coffee to water, pour cold water into the French press in a circular motion.
3) Break up the grinds and give it a stir with a wooden spoon to moisten all the coffee grounds. Never use a metal spoon in a French press as this can scratch or even break the glass beaker.
4) ) Place the lid on the press (don’t press the plunger down) and leave it on the counter for at least 12 hours for proper extraction and no longer that 24 hours. You can also choose to refrigerate it; however, this will slow the brewing process.
5) Once the brewing finishes, press the plunger down and pour into your mug half way. Dilute the concentrate by filling the rest of your mug with cold or room temperature water.
6) This is optional but if you want an even smoother coffee, press the plunger down and pour the liquid through a coffee filter. This will get rid of any remaining residue.
7) You now have a strong cold brew concentrate. It’s time to dilute the concentrate by adding an equal amount of water for each portion.
8) Add ice, any dairy or sweeteners (although you may not need them), and enjoy!
Cold brew coffee tips:
- The less water you add, the stronger your coffee will be.
- You can even make your cold brew hot. Simply add the same amount of hot water to your concentrate. Because the hot water never comes in contact with the grinds directly, no bitter tastes are extracted and instead you get to enjoy the same naturally smooth and floral taste of cold brew but hot.
- Brew it before bed so you have your morning boost ready for you when you wake up.
- Now that you know how to make cold brew in a French press, it’s your turn to give it a try! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.