There are so many different ways to enjoy coffee and get your morning caffeine boost, but there's a lot of cold brew buzz going around lately as coffee's cold drink variety grows in popularity.
So, what exactly is cold brew and how is it different than hot brewed coffee?
There are a few different things you need to know about cold brew and how it differs from other brewing methods. There are 3 big differences between cold-brew and coffee that has been brewed with heat (regular hot brew coffee and iced coffee):
Cold brew coffee is typically brewed with room temperature water unlike the name may lead you to believe. Cold brew is best with filtered spring water for a super smooth, clean sip.
The ratio of coffee to water is about 3 times higher than that of hot brewing. When making cold brew, you will use way more coffee, and coarser grounds, than if making coffee with hot water. This is because the compounds in coffee do not get extracted at the same rate in cooler water. Coarser grounds ensure that your cold brew will be easier to filter and way less bitter. What you are left with at the end of extraction is technically a cold brew concentrate that may need to be diluted according to your preference, or, if you are buying a cold brew, chances are it's already been diluted.
The brewing time for cold brew coffee is significantly longer. When making cold brew, the grounds are supposed to steep for somewhere between 12-20 hours for optimum extraction.
Because of these key differences in the cold coffee brewing process, the taste of cold brew also varies greatly from that of hot brew.
Cold brew is known for being super smooth with a sweeter, richer taste. This can be attributed to a few different details of the brewing process.
The cooler water temperatures slow down the extraction process and don't fully allow for the beans bitter tannins to be released. This results in a coffee with lower acidity and bitterness- in fact, cold brew coffee is said to have around 66% less acidity than its hot counterpart! This makes for a naturally sweeter beverage and can be easier on your stomach too.
When hot brew coffee is made at around 195-205° F, the acids from the coffee decay into a more bitter compound. Hot coffee has more rich aromas immediately (I can imagine the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through my kitchen), but they will disappear quickly, leaving the coffee more acidic as time goes on. Ever ordered a coffee that's been brewed and sitting on a hot plate for an extended period of time? It is way more acidic and yeah, pretty gross.
Ever felt slightly more buzzed from cold brew coffee than normal?
Well, you aren't crazy. Cold brew coffee can contain 3 times more caffeine by volume than hot brew. This is attributed to the coffee to water ratio during the brewing process, but also due to the fact that caffeine is water-soluble and cold brew steeps for a significantly longer period of time.
All this being said, hot brew coffee surely has its perks too! I think we can all agree that there is a time and place for both, depending on the season and personal preference, but we have really been digging cold brew lately... so much so that we are launching our own line of Oasis Cold Brew made with organic, single-origin coffees! Be on the lookout for our launch announcement and get ready for an awesome cold brew experience!