“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drank.” — Sir James Mackintosh (18th century philosopher)
Coffee. To many people it is just some drink best enjoyed after a fine meal. To some, it symbolizes an overpriced, trendy beverage consumed by uppity youngsters. To others yet, coffee is simply not a factor in their daily lives. For many, like me, coffee is something much deeper. There is no perfect time for consumption, there is no symbolism involved, and the monetary value stems directly from the quality of the bean and/or brew. Coffee is our passion and we are the beverage world’s version of foodies.
I became very interested in coffee a number of years ago, exploring different origins, roasts, brew methods, and other aspects of the scientific side of coffee. All of these things spurned me to investigate various aspects of the coffee business and this was a large part of the dreams we held in moving to Florida. For the past 7 years or so, I’ve roasted my own coffee and over the past six months I have been really interested in the fine art of cold brew coffee. I find particular satisfaction in finding great cups of coffee on our adventures across this fine land of ours. Coffee, to me, isn’t just something I enjoy, it is somehow a part of me.
During our Spring vacation this year we saw a bunch of family that we hadn’t seen in awhile. Most of these folks asked if I was still roasting coffee and about the coffee stuff that I used to talk about. In those moments I realized that something that I greatly enjoyed and have been deeply passionate about for a long time had become something I didn’t even really think about any longer. I just drank passable coffee that may or may not be made from mermaid tears and called it a day. To be transparent, I was ashamed at this realization, preferring to divert the conversation to something, almost anything else.
If you’re a follower on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed a severe spike in coffee related pictures and postings in April of 2014 and forward. I returned to something that I am deeply passionate about. Something that love researching, investigating, talking about, and perfecting various processes. In the past six months, I’ve tried various brew methods, settling on a simple pour over method as my preferred hot cup of coffee method. I’ve also been crafting the perfect cup of cold brew coffee. You see, living in the great state of Florida it is on the warmish side for much of the year. More often than not, I prefer to drink a nice iced coffee of sorts and as such I’ve tried most every iteration that is offered on the open market.
I’ve determined that most run of the mill places have absolutely putrid cold/iced coffee and I’ve actually thrown away several cups this year. I have had some bad coffee in my time, but I’ve never thrown away coffee until this year. Call me a coffee snob, but I just expect a drinkable cup for which I’m trading hard earned cash. Some of these places have great, freshly roasted hot coffee. They have all the things needed to garner the perfect cup of cold brew coffee but somehow drop the ball. If you’re one of those places and willing to listen, I’m more than willing to teach you. I give you the perfect cup set up:
This isn’t the prettiest set up, but it creates what I’ve determined to be the perfect cup of cold brew coffee. There are a couple of secrets to the perfect cup, but mainly your goal is not just brewing a concentrated form of regular coffee, but brewing a great cup of cold brewed coffee. The main thing: You’re not just brewing hot coffee and cooling it down. Have you ever brewed a pot of coffee and stuck the leftovers in the refrigerator overnight? Yeah, I have. The result is an okay cup of coffee, but not really great past the the first day. The secret that I have found is to utilize a hybrid method of using one part hot water and five parts cold water or ice. Using the hot water to bloom the grounds for about a minute to a minute and a half allows the tasty and beneficial portions of hot brewed coffee to impart their characteristics into the brew. Finishing off with cold water and/or ice stops that brew process and then the coffee is allowed to brew for anywhere between 12-24 hours. This brew process lends the ideal characteristics from cold brewed coffee, mainly low acidity and smoothness, but also some of the flavor characteristics of the particular bean shine when brewed this way. If there is real interest, I’d be glad to share the exact process that I use to brew my perfect cup of cold coffee.
I realize for most people, this is probably way too involved and to those folks I’d be glad to sell them a refillable growler on a weekly basis.
All this to say…I’m back! I’m not really sure why I felt the need to write a really lengthy post about brewing cold coffee, but I will say that this is just the first of many in kind posts. As I move forward on some things, I’ll be laying some great stuff down here. The focus of this site has been varied over the years, but I’m reclaiming it as mine. This place originally started out as “The Misadventures of a Beautiful Letdown”….I’m going back there.
If you’re local, stop on by, I’d love to serve you a nice cold cup of coffee from my kegerator. Can’t beat the price and you’ll be my customer for life.