Blog #3 What Exactly is Cold Brew Coffee?
Cold Brew is huge in the US... it’s everywhere. But here in the UK we’re often asked what cold brew is, and whether it's any different to a standard iced coffee? The simple answer is cold brew is very different to iced coffee in terms of how it's made, how it tastes, and the health benefits. The longer answer we've split up in terms of the coffee, process, and the end result. Check it out below.
The coffee used to make cold brew is exactly the same as that used to brew hot coffee, so you can continue buying coffee from your favourite roaster and just change the way you brew it.
A standard iced coffee is brewed hot and cooled down, usually over ice. The key difference with cold brew is the way you extract the good stuff from your coffee beans. If you want to get nerdy about it (yes please!), it’s all about mass transfer. Drawing out the oils, aromatic compounds, caffeine and other goodies from your coffee beans and into the water. With hot brewing, the heat speeds up the process which means your coffee is ready to drink in a matter of minutes or even seconds. Cold brew doesn’t use heat to extract the good stuff, it uses time! Cold brewing takes between 12-24 hours to properly extract. The longer you brew, the stronger the coffee and the more intense it’ll be. If you want to know how we brew at OddWorks, check out our DIY Guide to Cold Brewing.
The End Result
Cold brew tastes completely different to an iced coffee (a hot coffee or espresso cooled down over ice). It’s a matter of opinion which tastes better, but the moment we tasted cold brew we were desperate to share it with the rest of the UK. We think it’s on another level to standard iced coffee. The slow extraction process means it’s far less bitter and much sweeter than an iced coffee (so it doesn't need sweetening). It’s also less acidic, and often (much) higher in caffeine content.
The most exciting bit for us is that cold brewing really highlights the differences between coffee beans and roast profiles. Light roasted beans that have been naturally processed (rather than wet processed or washed) are naturally fruity and have an almost berry-like taste which makes unbelievable cold brew (Check out our Guest Roast). If you were to use washed, dark roasted beans from Brazil to make your cold brew, it would taste like an entirely different drink (our House Roast for example). The difference is more obvious when you cold brew. Which is why we brew a guest brew alongside our house brew every week, with the best coffee beans in the season. Check out our Guest and House Brews and let us know which one you prefer!