It’s the latest way to enjoy a caffeine fix and a super refreshing drink for summer. But if you’re still quietly getting your head around the difference between a flat white and a latte, why would you want to go there?
We’re not here to mess with your morning cup of joe, just to explain what all the fuss is about. And to let you know that it’s pretty darn simple to brew up at home.
Isn’t cold brew just normal coffee but cold?
Not exactly. This isn’t hot coffee poured over ice – that’s iced coffee. To make cold brew you steep (that’s kitchen speak for soak in liquid) ground coffee beans in cold water for a while before straining and diluting it.
It also tastes different to regular coffee. Brewing the beans in cold water instead of piping hot liquid does something to the flavour. It’s smoother, sweeter and less bitter.
If you wanted to get geeky about it you’d say that it brings out the subtle characteristics of the bean. Here’s a fun experiment – try a regular cup of coffee made with the same beans to test out the taste theory. Or not. Whatever. Just trust us that it’s not the same taste as a hot cup of the good stuff.
Do try this at home
You’ll see cold brew coffee chalked up on the menus of big name coffee chains and independent cafes. You can also buy it bottled at the supermarket. But – here’s the exciting bit – it’s actually pretty easy to make your own at home. And it’s cheaper too.
No fancy equipment or hipster beard required. All you need is some ground coffee beans (more on this later), a large container with a lid and something to strain the liquid through. Oh, and a bit of patience ‘cause cold brew’s most certainly ain’t instant.
Spoon the ground coffee into a sterilised container and top up with cold water. Use roughly 1oz of coffee for every cup of water. Give it a stir, put the lid on and then forget about it for 12 – 24 hours depending on how strong you want the end result. Strain the liquid through coffee filter paper or fine cloth to take out the grounds and – ta-da! – you just made cold brew.
If you’re after a step-by-step guide for your first attempt, this recipe walks you through each stage. It’s got pictures and everything.
Cold brew’s done. What next?
Once it’s ready, top up with water to dilute and enjoy. Serve over ice if you like it really chilled.
Knock up a batch at the weekend and you’ll have delicious coffee waiting for you in the fridge come Monday morning (it’ll keep for up to 2 weeks) ready to pour into a travel mug before you head off.
Don’t fancy a cold one? It tastes great heated up too. You can even pop some in a cocktail if you’re feeling wild.
Give it a go – we guarantee it’s just the summer caffeine hit you’ve bean (ahem) looking for.