Sure, you’re familiar with iced coffee here in Singapore – coffee brewed hot and served cold, usually over ice – but cold brewed coffee is a different beast altogether. Here, ground coffee is slowly steeped in room temperature or cold water to produce a sweeter, less acidic cup of joe. And by replacing heat with time, you’re rewarded with loads of flavour without any of the bitterness.
Why is it so popular now? After all, cold brews are anything but new. The caffeine drink took root in Japan after being introduced by Dutch traders in the early 1600s, so we figured: who better to speak with than the coffee gurus over at Dutch Colony Coffee Co.? Here is what we learned.
Generally speaking, there are two ways to make a cold brew:
1) Soaking Method (aka the no-frills way)
•1/3 cup coarsely ground coffee
•1 1/2 cups room temperature or cold water, a strainer, a bowl, a paper coffee filter and a pitcher; or a French press*
1.Place coffee grounds in the pitcher, add the water and stir to combine. Cover tightly and let steep at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
2.Line a fine-mesh strainer with a coffee filter. Slowly and patiently pour the coffee through the strainer into a bowl. Once only grounds are left in the pitcher, discard all grounds.
4.Rinse the pitcher, and pour the strained coffee back into it. Cover and refrigerate.
5.The coffee produced is a concentrate, so you can drink it straight or dilute it with water, milk or flavourings like sugar, vanilla or booze. Serve slightly chilled or over ice.
* A French press streamlines the process – simply plunge after steeping.
2) Drip Method (aka the moo-hah-hah-hah mad-scientist way)
Using the same proportions of coffee and water as above, replace the kitchen items with an ultra-impressive chemistry-lab-style Japanese coffee drip that extracts coffee one drop at a time. If you’re short on cash (a few thousand, for starters) or space at home, you can sample a drip-method cold brew at Dutch Colony Coffee Co. ($6), or take one home at the same price in one of their new takeaway bottles. Otherwise, you can purchase a less expensive, but much smaller, Hario drip from them ($359).
The cold, hard facts:
– Cold brew is also sometimes called “Kyoto coffee” or “Dutch coffee”.
– Steeping can be done in as little as 12 hours, or upwards of 30 hours.
– Cold brews cost more than iced coffees; it takes longer and uses more beans per cup.
– The use of cold water extracts different chemical compounds within the bean structure, imparting more depth to the coffee.
– Ounce for ounce, cold brew has more caffeine than any other coffee, due to the slow extraction process.
– Beware – it’s smooth but potent stuff.