Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Weekly Grind! Friendly reminder that we will be CLOSED next Monday in honor of Patriots Day. All this chilly weather getting you down? Don't worry, warmer weather is right around the corner, and that means so is cold brew season!
What exactly is Cold Brew?
Though cold brew is becoming increasingly popular, many people are still unsure what the actual difference is between cold brew and iced coffee. Long story short, iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee and subsequently chilling it. Cold brew is created by steeping coffee grounds in cold water overnight.
What difference does that make? Brewing hot pulls more acidity from the beans, and chilling often involves adding ice cubes that then water down the final product. By eliminating that step, cold brew provides a less acidic (aka smoother), stronger final product.
There are a variety of methods and systems out there that you can use to make cold brew at home, and we offer two in-store: the Coffee Sock and the Toddy.
Give me the run down
Cold brewing doesn't have to be complicated. If you have a mason jar and cheese cloth lying around, you're already good to go. However, just like with any other way of brewing coffee, different brewers and methods can give you a variety of results and/or higher quality. Here's the basics between the two methods we have available here at the mill.
Coffee Sock: Got your coffee? Have it ground coarsely? Good. You're ready to get started. Since the sock itself is made of cotton, it's a great reusable filter every time you brew. Make sure to boil it before the first use (and every few weeks to keep it clean). Our recommended ratio is 3-4 ounces of coffee grounds per 32 ounce serving. Once you have that measured, secure the filter around the lip of the jar, put the grounds in the filter, and wet them just enough that the grounds have a chance to bloom. After letting it sit for 30 seconds, add more cold water until the jar is filled, tie the filter off with the provided ring, and pop it in your fridge overnight (check this for full instructions, brewing times, & a handy video). All that's left is to drain the filter the next morning and viola! You've got a batch of cold brew ready to go! Easy, delicious, and doesn't take up much space in your fridge.
Price: Sm (32oz): $14.95; Lrg (64oz): $19.95
Toddy: Unlike the coffee sock, the Toddy will provide you with an intense coffee concentrate, designed to be mixed with water or milk to taste (usually a 1:3 ratio). You'll want a decently coarse grind for this method as well, and you'll be using a full 12 ounces (Head Roaster John Parks says he typically just uses a full pound/16 oz) of coffee grounds to go along with the 1.65 L (about 7 cups) of water. Pop the stopper into the outside bottom of the brewing container, then fit the felt filter snugly on the inside bottom. Pour in a cup of water to the bottom and add 6-8 oz of coffee. Slowly pour three more cups on top of the grounds, making sure there is even coverage. Pour in the other 6-8 oz of grounds. Take five to let it sit, then add the final three cups of water. They recommend lightly pressing on the grounds with a spoon or spatula to make sure all the grounds get wet, but don't stir. Twist and tie off the bags, then leave in the fridge overnight. Once again, drain the next morning into the provided glass container. Then all that's left to do is decide how strong you want your cup to be! This method provides a bigger batch of cold brew, and is good for up to 2 weeks. Full instructions here.
That's all well & good, but what coffee should I use?
That depends on your personal taste. You can experiment to see what coffee works best for you, and which brewing method & amount of steeping time gives you the perfect cup to suit your taste. We typically use our Dark Roast Blend, so if you love grabbing a cold brew at the mill and want to replicate it at home, we'd recommend starting there. This french roasted blend (a combo of beans from each of our three main regions) offers a robust, smooth, and fairly universal cup with a delectable chocolatey finish. We'd also recommend our Double Bourbon Barrel Blend (Sumatran beans aged in bourbon barrels) for those that want something a bit sweeter. Though light roasted, this flavorful brew has a strong bourbon nose and an oaky, vanilla finish.
Have questions for us?
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