Thursday, January 06, 2011

Cold-Brewed Coffee

My Christmas gift from Mark arrived today (on "Little Christmas", as the original date for the feast of the Epiphany was known). Heck, this is the day that the Orthodox Christian churches actually do celebrate Christmas, so technically my gift DID arrive on Christmas. It simply got here on the Orthodox Rite's feast of Christmas, instead of the Roman Rite's designated holiday. :-)

So, what is it? Well, on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me an Hourglass Cold-Brew Coffee Maker. I've been pining after the idea of cold-brewed coffee, ever since an online friend and fellow blogger and coffee-lover posted about it. Here's the part of the article she posted that greatly piqued my interest:

Cold versus Hot

Cold brewing takes time. However, it dissolves through the grounds only certain elements of the coffee. Surprisingly enough, about 90% of the flavor elements and the normal caffeine content come through this way, while only about 15% of the oils and acids will. It WILL change the taste of your coffee, but not the way you might think. It will strongly concentrate those most volatile flavor elements that most people like, making "super-flavor" coffee. The flavor elements you like about a given coffee will probably be up to twice as strong, yet the overall brew will have far less bite and acidity.
The first thing that crossed my mind was, "OooooOOOOoooo! Coffee that tastes like it smells? DO WANT!" You see, the whole reason that the scent of coffee differs from its flavor is the fact that the oils and acids are present in the beverage itself, but they don't contribute to the lovely aroma. And while I like coffee regardless**, the description of the differences between cold-brewed and hot-brewed coffee made it sound like it's just what my tastebuds have always wanted.

Today, my Hourglass arrived and my first batch of cold-brewed coffee is steeping, even as I type. Cold-brewing is S-L-O-W, so it'll be ready tomorrow. IMO, there's no difference between setting up a cold-brew system and leaving it sit overnight, vs. setting up a hot-brewing coffee maker the night before, and setting the timer so it brews at the crack of dawn. Either way, hours in advance, you add the grounds, add the water, and leave the device alone to Do Its Thing.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the results of this little taste experiment. I'll let you know how it turns out. :-)

** I like coffee, provided it doesn't taste burnt to bits from over-roasting, a la the offerings at Starbucks. I greatly prefer mild-to-moderately roasted coffee like that at Dunkin Donuts.

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