Was that Cold Brew Really Worth the Effort?
Have you, like me, spent those hot days wanting your coffee hit but not absolutely loved the idea of a hot drink? I’d had cold brew coffees from the usual high-street baristas whilst shopping or travelling but it had never crossed my mind to give it ago myself. “It must be a whole different process,” I caught myself thinking and, “I’m not buying more equipment or coffee related apparatus...”
A few weeks ago, I was playing football with my two boys and it was hot to say the least! We'd been playing for about an hour and they emptied my tanks. It was about 3pm and I needed the aforementioned hit and I decided the usual Moka pot coffee wasn’t even an option. I’d take a look online and try to figure out if there was any way this cold brew thing could be done. I dreaded what was to come but needed some cold caffeine.
A simple search online quickly brought up pages that offered things like, “The easiest recipe for cold brew coffee.” Exactly what I wanted: hassle free, simple recipe and minimal effort. I chose a link called How to Make Cold Brew Coffee - Simply Recipes by Emma Christensen. I read through the ingredients and the method and wow; I had been so very wrong about the whole process. I'd have to wait until tomorrow to taste it but I knew it would be worth it.
I want to share with you the method that I discovered that day and a few little tips that I’ve discovered in the process. I challenge you not to fall in love with this exceptionally easy method and great tasting cold brew coffee...
The first thing you’re obviously going to need is a good coffee. I had this in abundance. Being a regular Green Beret Coffee Company drinker, I had a few different bags in my cupboard and the one I selected after careful consideration was Safety Catch Off. Why did I choose this particular coffee? Well to make a good Cold Brew requires a coarse grind and all my other bags were of a fine grind as I usually brew in a Moka pot. Using a coarse grind not only allows for better straining later, it also makes the brew taste less bitter. My Safety Catch Off was whole bean giving me the perfect opportunity to get this right.
Next was the ratios. This was the part I was most worried about as I assumed it would be all weighing, measuring and coffee shop magic. I was so wrong. One cup of coffee (whole bean) to four cups of water. It really was that simple!
Now a little tip I found along the way, when you mix the ingredients, find a container that strikes a balance between giving the coffee as much surface area to brew with the coffee as possible, and not using a bowl that will upset your better half as it takes up 75% of the fridge. Lessons learnt from experience.
So what now?
Nothing. That’s it! Just give the coffee a stir to ensure its all mixed in with the water, cover with foil or film and put it in the fridge.
Give the coffee a minimum of 12 hours to steep (the term used for coffee sitting the water and extracting oils, caffeine and, most importantly, all that great taste) but I’ve found 18 is the magic number.
You are going to be tempted to stir the coffee but trust me, DON’T DO IT. This could cause the coffee to sink mid brew and in turn, really compromise your chances of getting an amazing cold brew as your end result.
So, at this point I want to congratulate you. 18 hours is a long time to wait for something but some of the finest Scotches in the world take decades to produce so with that in mind, I hope you haven’t cracked early because you are about to go through what I consider the trickiest part.
Extracting the coffee from the bean can be a little bit messy if you don’t plan ahead but using the coarse grind is about to pay off in the straining phase. For this you can use anything from cheese cloth to a flour sack or from a sieve to a French press and its incredibly simple but has the potential to go wrong if your bean isn’t course enough. However, I have been known to use my Aeropress to filter out any extra coffee that may have gotten through as the French press is my strainer of choice and I am a bit of a perfectionist.
That is, it! Delicious tasting cold brew served over ice with a splash of milk (if that’s your thing).
Making cold brew really is that easy. Just Keep to those few simple steps and you can’t go wrong. I did however promise you a few tips and here they are:
Don’t over think it. Have fun with it and try different blends of coffee versus steep time to find which flavours work best for you. In the whisky tasting world, they say, “the best whisky is the whisky you like, served the way you like it.” And that is true when it comes to great coffee.
I'd advise you add a little water to your Cold brew as well as your ice as the cold brewing method makes the coffee highly caffeinated.
As ever with good coffee, the fresher the bean the better the flavour.
My favourite GBCC coffees to use for Cold brew are Safety Catch Off, Commando blend and Mercenary. Remember, taste is subjective so try your own and post a picture to the Green Beret Coffee Company Instagram page @GreenBeretCoffeeCo and let me know what you think. What worked for you?
Be safe and enjoy.
This blog post was written especially for GBCC by brand ambassador and avid coffee drinker, Jolly Green JTAC. To connect with this master of the cold brew and all things JTAC find him on the 'gram: @jollygreenjtac