Cold Brew Coffee
Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, with billions of cups consumed each year. When you hear the word coffee, you would probably picture a cup of hot drink that keeps people awake, but nowadays people have become more experimental and have adapted to other ways of enjoying coffee, whether hot, iced, or cold brewed.
When I started drinking cold brew coffee, I personally have decided to stick to drinking coffee this way as I find it to have a smoother effect on my body with a lot of benefits as well. So what exactly is cold brew coffee?
What is Cold Brew?
Cold brew coffee gets its name from how it was prepared, and not because of its cold temperature when served, like iced coffee. Cold brew may be served either hot or cold, but its brewing process uses cold water. Surprisingly, the preparation of cold brew has been around for as early as the 17th century, and shared by different regions across the globe.
History of Cold Brew
Cold brew was first introduced by the Dutch and the Japanese way back in the 1600s, when Europeans travelled to Asia for trade. Dutch traders wanted to bring coffee to their long sea voyages, but there was one problem – the classic way of hot brewing might set their wooden ships on fire. Amazingly, the Dutch were able to find another way of getting their caffeine fix on-board – by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for hours. And it worked!
When the Dutch traders arrived in Kyoto, the Japanese, who are also known for their intricate tea brewing traditions, adopted this new way of brewing coffee. Since then, the Kyoto-style coffee has become known and enjoyed by people all over the world.
How Cold Brew Is Made
Cold brew coffee preparation isn’t difficult. The procedure is quite similar to a filtering process; water is simply poured into the coffee drop by drop (also known as bead-by-bead method) and steeped for 12 to 24 hours. All you need is pure, cold water and a container where you can keep the coffee grounds submerged, but you have to make sure to use an airtight container to keep your coffee from turning stale and to retain its flavor.
A Taste of Cold Brew
Coffee folks generally find the taste of cold brew coffee smoother and sweeter and perfect for those who prefer their coffee milder and less bitter. Submerging the coffee grounds for a longer time usually brings out a stronger flavor, so if you want a milder taste of coffee, you can take out your cold brew after less than 24 hours.
Cold Brew vs. Hot Brew
Some people stick to hot brew instead, as it is the standard way of preparing coffee and doesn’t take a long time. Deciding whether to drink hot brew or cold brew depends on your health precautions and taste preference.
Hot Brew - Easier To Prepare
Hot brew only takes up to 10 minutes to prepare; all you need is hot water to steep in your coffee grounds. Hot brew brings out a richer and warmer aromatic taste (which is why it is a likelier choice for pairing with breakfast food). However, it is not as easy on your digestive system compared to cold brew.
Cold Brew – For Better Health
Cold brew is a better choice for people with digestive or heartburn issues due to its lower acidity. It is also less bitter than hot brew since cold water does not fully release the tannins in coffee, which are chemical compounds that give coffee its bitter taste.
You might find hot brew to be a better choice if you’re in a hurry, but if you prefer a healthier (and sweeter) lifestyle, cold brew would be more beneficial to you.
What is the Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?
Some folks interchange the term cold brew and iced coffee, but these two are actually different. While cold brew refers to the temperature used in the preparation process, iced coffee refers to the temperature when the drink is served.
Preparation of iced coffee is simply brewing coffee with hot water and adding ice cubes to cool it down. If you’re outside and can’t find any coffee shop nearby, you can also get instant iced coffee in vending machines or groceries.
Cold brew may take a longer time to prepare than iced coffee, but it is more versatile as you can enjoy it served cold, and you can also heat it up as well and retain its taste and health benefits.
Why is Cold Brew Coffee Better?
I find cold brew to be a better choice than hot brew or iced coffee. Cold brew requires more time to prepare, but I find it less time consuming for the whole week as I only need to prepare it at the start of the week, wait for up to 24 hours, and enjoy my coffee for up to 2 weeks. Hot brew and iced coffee need to be prepared daily, and not as healthy as cold brew!
Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee
Coffee in general has a lot of good benefits for your body, but you can control the release of certain compounds and oils in your coffee with cold brew.
Similar Caffeine Content
Cold brew and hot brew both have the same amounts of caffeine, but if you prefer to have less caffeine in your cold brew, you can just as easily dilute it with more water.
Cold brew is less acidic compared to hot brew since the colder temperature of the water seals in the oils in the coffee beans, which make coffee acidic. If you are frequently suffering from acid reflux or indigestion, cold brew might be a friendlier alternative to your digestive system.
Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are the culprits in cell damage and oxidative stress. Cold brew coffee is loaded with antioxidants that help to fight off oxidative stress and cell degeneration that may cause harmful effects on your body.
Most people find coffee to be a real mood booster as it helps improve their mood. Caffeine plays a huge role in brain function and attentiveness, which is why most people feel more energized after having their caffeine fix in the morning. If you have a busy week ahead, you can whip up your batch of cold brew for the whole week.
Cold brew also helps to boost your metabolism due to its caffeine content. You burn calories faster if you have a fast metabolism, and caffeine is known to increase your metabolism by more than 10%.
Helps You Live longer
Studies show that people who drank more coffee had lower risks of heart problems, stroke, and respiratory disease, as well as diabetes. Cold brew coffee also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that lower your risk of getting infections and injuries, plus antioxidants that can ward off cell damage. Living with an overall good health condition helps people to have a longer life span.
Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
In addition to caffeine, cold brew coffee is also made up of magnesium and phenolic compounds that help to lower blood pressure, therefore lowering your risk of heart disease. As a safety precaution, people with uncontrolled high blood pressure should still need to regulate their caffeine intake.
Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
Cold brew coffee also helps to reduce the risk of having Type 2 diabetes, which occurs when you have high blood sugar levels, and helps the gut peptides, which are digestive system hormones that help to keep your blood sugar stable.
Super Low Maintenance Brewing
Lastly, it’s just very easy to prepare! What I like about cold brew is that you can just prepare it during the weekend and have it on the go throughout the rest of your work week. However, you can make it at any time of the week and only need to wait for 24 hours and still have fresh cold brewed coffee for 2 weeks.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee: Step By Step
Method 1: Using a French Press
If you’re not familiar, the French press resembles a glass tumbler and comes with a plunger used to help push down the coffee grounds. Here’s how to cold brew with a French press:
- Pour out your coffee grounds into the French press and add water
- Stir in the coffee grounds until fully submerged
- Cover the French press with the plunger (but make sure not to press it just yet!) and put in the refrigerator
- After 12 to 24 hours, you can take out your cold brew. Press the plunger to filter out your coffee grounds, and pour it out into a separate container
Figuring out how many scoops of coffee and ounces of water you should use depends on the size of your French press. If you’re using a smaller size (equivalent to 3 cups put together), 3 to 4 tablespoons of coffee with 10 ounces of water is enough, but for a larger French press, 1 measuring cup of coffee with 47 ounces of water should do the trick.
Method 2: Using a Mason Jar
Some folks find it too costly to buy a French press. Fortunately, you can use a half-gallon mason jar as an alternative:
- Scoop in your coffee grounds into the mason jar
- Pour in cold water
- Cover with a cheesecloth and secure with a band
- Once ready, strain your coffee through the cheesecloth into your favorite coffee mug
For a half-gallon mason jar, you can use approximately 11 tablespoons of coffee with 32 ounces of water. Don’t forget to add in your favorite milk, sugar, and creamer!
In conclusion, cold brew coffee is a healthier alternative to hot brew or iced coffee that you can drink in your favorite coffee shop or prepare in the comforts of your own home. Cold brew also brings out special flavors in the coffee beans that make it fruitier and tastier, which makes your coffee more enjoyable!