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Secrets Of Cold Brew Coffee

On the face of it, cold brewing your coffee sounds pretty easy. Grind some beans. Add some water. Wait. Strain. Drink. Simple, right?

Not quite. In practice, the creation of a delicious carafe of cold brew takes more than a little finesse, and those who take the plunge often end up with a pick-me-up that only brings them down. But your own cold brew doesn’t have to end up trading taste for trouble. You’ve got our five Kohana Golden Rules on your side:

Rule 1: No skimping. Cold brew coffee comes without coffee’s usual complement of acids and oils, which need hot water to dissolve into your java. These components desensitize your taste buds and cover up a coffee’s true flavor—you don’t taste the bean so much as you taste its bitterness. With cold brew, your coffee’s true flavors shine through, which makes good quality beans a must.

Rule 2: Get coarse. Your drip coffee may benefit from a fine grind, but use one here and you’ll end up with a fairly foul and bitter cold brew. Why? The finer the grind, the more of its contents will extract into your water and the faster they’ll do it. You want a slower, gentler process that stops before coffee’s harsher elements surface. A coarse grind gives you one.

Rule 3: Watch the Water.  There are all kinds of recipes for cold brew and a variety of different water-to-beans ratios among them. That’s confusing. And problematic—too much water lands you in bland, too little and you’re pouring an over-caffeinated batch of nuclear sludge. A general rule thumb is one gallon to one pound or fractions thereof. But we recommend exploring recipes and ratios until you find the one that works for you.

Rule 4: Set the clock. Time does the brewing here and while it’s generally on your side, you can certainly cold brew for too long or too little. You want the sweet spot where you’ve steeped long enough to extract your bean’s delicious essence but not so long that the bitter dregs get pulled out, too. 14-16 hours is a good median time, but experimentation will guide you best.

Rule 5: Dilute it right. Cold brew is really a coffee concentrate. That’s good because you used a lot of beans to make it. But bad because now you’ll have to add water, and that’s playing with flavor fire. Some simply double their cold brew with an equal quantity of water. Others use a 2:1 water-to-cold brew ratio. It’s all about how strong you like yours. Just remember: if you’re using your cold brew for iced coffee, don’t dilute it at all. Your ice cubes will take care of that when you serve it.

Now, of course, you can always have the perfect cold brew anytime by using our own cold brew concentrate- we've done the heavy lifting for you. But these pro tips from our own kitchen will help you slowly “cook” up some worthy cold brew in yours. It may take awhile to get right, but time spent in the pursuit of a perfectly balanced state—in coffee and in life—is always well spent.

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