Who doesn't want fresh cold brew on tap at home whenever they want? This is why we were so excited to partner with our favorite local coffee shop, Go Get 'Em Tiger for our Cold Brew bundle. We said "Hey, GGET. Can you curate products and coffee for a cold brew bundle?" And they were, like oh heck yes we can, Joymode.
We were even lucky enough to be able to sit down with GGET co-founder, Charles Babinski, to find out more about the art of cold brew.
Joymode: How does cold brew differ from iced coffee?
Not all iced coffee is cold brew, but all cold brew is iced coffee. Cold brew is made by steeping coarse ground coffee in water for up to a day. The brew that you strain out is highly concentrated and can be diluted to your preference. The flavors in cold brew tend to be more rounded out and smoother than hot brewed iced coffee styles.
It is one in the same but there are other styles of making iced coffee.
Joymode: Does it matter what type of beans are used when making cold brew?
Just like any method where you are brewing coffee, ultimately, that method is going to be a showcase for the beans that you are using. Cold Brew does have a flavor because it’s the method, the filter, through which the beans comes through. If you were to take a fruity and floral Ethiopia and cold brew it you would get a cold brew that was fruity and floral.
It gets complicated because you’re not just talking about the brew style but you’re also talking about the level of concentration and, since what comes out is a higher concentration, it’s up to the person making it to dilute it down. There are some correlations you can make between coffees that work better at higher concentrations and ones that don’t. Certainly coffees with a lot of acidity will taste less pleasant at higher concentrations but they’ll taste great when you dilute them.
Joymode: What's the best way for a busy person to incorporate brewing their own at home?
The advantage of Cold Brew is that in its more concentrated form its more shelf stable. It will lose quality slower when it’s more concentrated. So you always want to hold the concentrate and dilute as you drink it. It keeps fresh in the fridge for up to a week.
The overall prep for cold brew is minimal. So it’s more just timing it with your own life but the prep is minimal, the clean up is easy, and you’ve got coffee for the rest of the week.
Joymode: What are some unique ways to prepare cold brew?
It’s straightforward. You can use different amounts of coffee and different amounts of water but I don’t see strong benefits for unique brewing methods. Simple and straightforward is the way to go.
As far as things you can do with a cold brew concentrate when its out, you can dilute it to whatever your preference is. I think it’s important to pay close attention to what that dilution is like. It’s not just going to be a number cuz you’ll get some variance of extraction from coffee to coffee so you’ll want to get a sense of how dilution affects flavor. The concentrate itself is a great component of a lot of different mix drinks.
Joymode: How is GGET's cold brew different from other coffee houses?
Where we find the value is in using better coffees when we do it, and making sure that we dilute it to the same concentrate every single time. We use a refractometer which is a machine that will measure the concentration of the cold brew so we can dilute it to the same concentration again and again. Our target is the same as our target for the hot coffee.
For cold brew the advantage is that you have this dense, heavy, round richness that people really love and I think that’s one of the reasons that people really love cold brew where as with iced coffee over time you’re losing aromatics. The coffee is losing complexity. There are people who brew hot coffee into iced to have fresh iced coffee, in that you will get some of the qualities that cold brew lacks but it also doesn’t have that heavy rich roundness, and getting a high concentration product is hard.