This summer we’ve been asked a lot about cold brewing. At the Coffee Exchange, our iced coffee is always cold brewed, so (especially in light of this month’s RI Food Fight Iced Coffee Challenge) we thought it might be useful to explain what “cold brew” is, and why we do it.
The two key differences between hot and cold brewing are Time and Temperature.
Hot brewing is quick. High temperatures excite many of the compounds in the coffee, giving you a short window to extract the desired flavors. Some of these compounds (acids in particular) are only soluble at high temperatures, and lend to some of the more unique, sharper and acidic flavors you may be familiar with.
Cold brewing increases the brewing time significantly. At room temperature (or below) some of the aforementioned compounds will not be introduced to your cup. This brewing process takes your total time from minutes to hours, but results in a much more rounded, smooth, and chocolatey flavor profile, with much less acidity.
Cold brewed coffee also uses a lower ratio of water to coffee. With this reduced ratio, cold brew batches yield a much more concentrated coffee that can be diluted to the desired strength. Another benefit is that cold brew concentrate has a longer shelf life. Refrigerated, cold brew concentrate can last upwards of a week without diminishing quality.
The Coffee Exchange features two types of cold brew.
Our primary iced coffee is brewed daily using the Toddy Cold Brew system, yielding several gallons over the 24-hour brewing process. This iced coffee is stored as a concentrate, and cut 50/50 to be served on tap, on demand.
One of the most striking cold-brew methods is the “Tower Drip.” Displayed by the entrance of the café this coffee is served either
neat or on the rocks. This coffee comes undiluted, more equivalent to
an iced espresso, it is jam-packed with smooth, strong flavor.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming guide with suggestions for cold brewing at home. In the meantime stock up with an Iced Coffee Growler! If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to shoot us an email at MailOrder@thecoffeeexchange.com or ask any of our staff in store.