THE BENEFITS OF COLD BREW COFFEE
1st benefit : Remember that first time you drank coffee, as a kid, and the taste didn’t quite live up to that amazing smell? Cold-brewing does a lot to close the smell-taste gap. Taste is in the chemistry, and exposing coffee grounds to hot water releases oils that won’t dissolve at lower temperatures. These oils are full of acidic compounds that give coffee its famous bitter bite. But along with that bite comes acid-shock, which anesthetizes the tongue and prevents the taster from perceiving the subtle nuances in coffee’s flavor. Sure, that acid may be nice in a hot cup of coffee, but for iced coffee, it’s a detriment; it doesn’t let you perceive coffee’s luscious fruitiness. Is it any wonder that so many people add so much milk and sugar?
According to a study done by Toddy, cold-brewed coffee is 67 percent less acidic than hot-brewed. Without all that acid, the burnt flavor that plagues hot-brewed coffee is eliminated. Plus, the reduced acid makes it healthier for your stomach and your teeth.
2nd benefit : Cold-brewed iced coffee has big advantages, like, for example, it tastes better. Since cold-brewing produces a low-acid drink, coffee’s other flavors are more readily detected. Those undertones of chocolate, fruit, and nuts jump to the forefront. Matt Lounsbury, director of operations at Stumptown, explained that the coffee shop has just started offering cold-brewed this year because “it’s just a really nice, smooth cup of iced coffee.” Asked about his favorite beans for cold-brewing, he said, “The single origins tend to do really well with cold brew, particularly the Latin American and South American coffees.” Mike White, regional manager for Gimme!, agrees that cold-brewing “produces a much more balanced flavor with increased sweetness.” For cold-brewing he suggests beans “from the Bufcafe COOP in the Butare region of Rwanda. We’ve also had great success with bourbon and caturra from the Asobagri COOP in HueHuetenango, Guatemala,” he said. “It’s important to change it up though; I discover new favorites all the time.” And for good reason: With cold-brewing allowing so many more coffee flavors to shine through, your bean of preference is likely to change regularly.
Additionally, the flavor of cold-brewed coffee won’t change over time. Cold-brewed coffee has never been hot, so its chemistry doesn’t change as it cools. As soon as you filter out the grounds, you’ve got a stable solution. With temperature change comes change in taste, but because cold-brewed coffee eliminates most of that temperature change, flavor is locked in. In other words, your day-old cold-brew won’t taste stale like day-old coffee.
3rd benefit : Another wonder of cold-brewing is the versatility of the product. Because you’re dealing with a more stable solution, you can do almost anything with it. If you like your coffee hot, add boiling water to the more concentrated syrup; you’ll have fresh hot coffee with the taste and low-acid benefits of cold-brewing. If you find that perfect strength cold-brewed mix, but don’t want ice diluting it, freeze the mixture and use coffee ice-cubes. As they melt, the iced-coffee won’t get any weaker. It’s perfect for a picnic or a day on the beach. (But be careful. Ice cubes often pick up taste from the other things in your freezer.) Many recipes don’t call for brewed coffee, because it’s just too acidic, but cold-brewed coffee is perfect for adding the coffee flavour, without the acid. It’s great for baking or marinating, and it’s perfect for a nice cool coffee cocktail.
How long will it be before the giants like Starbucks and Peet’s follow suit? If it becomes a big enough trend they may give it a try.
4th benefit (for the low caffeine/caffeine free lovers): Cold brew coffee contains 30% less caffeine that regular hot brew.