With the launch of our new blend (Blue Blazes: Cold-brew Blend), I wanted to give a brief guide on cold brew for those who are new to brewing the product.
Cold brew is a brewing method that uses cold water and coarse-ground coffee. The cold water is more gentle than hot water so the brewing process is slowed down (it takes about 18-24 hours). The finished product tends to emphasize the base notes in a particular coffee (chocolate, nuts, spice) and tends to de-emphasize the more nuanced notes such as floral and fruit. The process also will mute the acidity and meld the individual flavors in a coffee. Finally, most cold brew can hold up nicely to the addition of cream and sugar. All of my coffees can be used successfully for cold brew, but I find the darker roasts are easier to work with and more forgiving. If you want to try a cold brew with one of my light roasts, go for it, but you will likely go through a few batches before you find the right recipe.
Cold-brew, kept in your fridge, will last about a month before it begins to taste stale. This means, even though it takes more planning to get a batch ready, once you have it, it is much easier to prepare. So, I recommend brewing a large amount at one time since it keeps for so long. Thus, my recipe is for using one whole bag of coffee (12-oz). You can always make less or more by scaling the recipe.
Basic Cold-brew recipe (makes 12 cups)
12 cups cold water (filtered)
12-oz coarse ground coffee (one full bag)
2 one-gallon containers (or larger)
Large fine mesh strainer
*alternately you can use a fine mesh bag or cheesecloth to contain the grounds during the brewing process
Paper coffee filter (optional)
1. Grind coffee just before brewing if possible.
2. Add coffee and 12 cups cold water to a one-gallon container (place a lid or dish towel over the container).
3. Wait 18-24 hours (we like 20 hrs as a good starting point).
4. Strain cold brew liquid using fine mesh strainer into the second one-gallon container (this will likely take a while).
5. If you want a more smooth brew without fine solids at the bottom of your cup, run the cold brew liquid through a coffee filter (you can put the filter in your mesh strainer or any holder that can be suspended over a one-gallon container).
6. Dilute cold brew with cold water to bring the total amount back to 12 cups (about 2-3 cups water). If you find this to be too strong, you can always dilute it with more water.
7. Enjoy! Can be kept in the fridge for one month.
There are also many great cold-brew makers on the market. Follow the manufacturers instructions as each device is different.