When I grew up, we were spoilt for choice with different types of coffee. There was Nescafe Blend 43 or Maxwell House for your standard coffee, and Moccona if you wanted to get really fancy!
Of course, we’ve been lucky in Australia to have experienced a few waves of coffee culture and appreciation, and we are blessed with some amazing coffee pretty much wherever you go now.
Of course, with the weather is warming up, if you’re anything like me then a hot milky coffee doesn’t always seem to hit the spot like it does on a cold day. I’ve never really developed a liking for iced coffee, so I was excited when a barista turned me on to cold drip coffee a few years ago. For those not familiar with cold drip coffee, it looks a little like an episode of Breaking Bad gone wrong. Water is slowly dripped through ground coffee over 24 hours, filtered and served on ice. The result is amazing – sweet and syrupy, and not a hint of the bitterness that is inherent in an espresso. Check out some of your local cafés to see if they are making cold drip coffee and try it.
I’d been meaning to raid the laboratory at work to cobble together my own cold drip set-up, but never quite found the time. Then I stumbled across cold brew coffee, and decided this was much easier for a similar result.
Cold brew coffee is a similar process – ground coffee is immersed in water (rather than dripped through) to extract the coffee flavour. The best part about it (other than drinking it), is that it doesn't need the specialised equipment that cold drip coffee needs. I use a French press (or coffee plunger), but you could just as easily make it in a glass jar. The only downside is that it takes time. Any hot method of making coffee – espresso, pour over or syphon – uses heat and in some cases pressure to extract flavour from the coffee bean. This significantly speeds up the extraction process. Cold brew coffee takes up to 24 hours for the best result. Sounds too long? Don’t worry, you can make a big batch, and it keeps well in the fridge for at least a week. I usually brew up a litre at a time, and store it in some old sealable beer bottles, and I always have some for when I need it.
COLD BREW COFFEE
I use a ratio of 80g coffee to 1000mL water. You should play around with this ratio to get a coffee that you’re happy with – in the same way some people prefer a double shot and others a weak latte. The fresher the roast and grind the better, so if you can, grind your own beans, and if not, buy them freshly ground. Go for a coarser grind than you would for espresso.
Put the ground coffee in your French press, pour in the cold water and gently mix to ensure all of the coffee is wet. Cover and stick it in the fridge. Leave it for 24 hours for maximum extraction, then plunge, and pour into a clean sealable bottle that you can store in the fridge. You might want to pour the cold brew coffee through some filter paper, depending on your French press and how finely you ground the coffee beans. I usually don’t bother – a little bit of sediment doesn’t bother me.
To serve, pour about 100ml over a few ice cubes, sit back and enjoy!