Big batch cold brew coffee

large_batch_cold_brew_coffee

That beautiful sight there is a half gallon jar with roughly three pints of cold brew coffee in it. It is the largest batch of cold brew I have ever made. A little while ago my jar I made cold brew in was broken. I took this as an opportunity to get a much bigger jar when I replaced it. Cassidy has recently gotten into making her own kombucha at home and wanted to purchase some jars for making it and storing it. We went to a hardware store down the street and picked up a set of six half gallon jars. This will make it so she can make larger batches of kombucha and I will be able to make cold brew again. And with the bigger jar I can make even more at a given time. It is very exciting.

In my first batch with the jar I did my usual recipe of 50 grams coffee with 800 grams of water. I knew this amount would fit in the jar easily and would give me an idea of much more room I have to work with. Eyeballing it I figured I had room to double my recipe. So, on this latest batch I did 100 grams of coffee with 1600 grams of water. I ground the coffee a little coarser than I normally do. I wanted to make sure the water got through to all of the coffee and this should help that. I still did 24 hours extraction time. I thought I might need to do longer, possibly 36, since it is so much coffee, but I stuck with 24. My thought was I would try doubling the recipe first and see the results before adjusting other aspects.

I set it up so that I would pull it out the next morning before going to work. The picture above is from right after I pulled it out of the fridge and removed the coffee sock at 7am that morning. I tasted it and really liked the results. It came out very tea like in flavor, like the cold version of chemex. I used an Ethiopian coffee from Victrola and the fruity notes really came out well. I think I might experiment with a longer extraction time to see if I can get it a little bolder tasting. This amount of coffee seems like it needs more time to pull out everything. 36 hours seems like the right next step, but will make it harder to schedule and plan out. If I make it in the morning before work one day I can pull it out the next day after work and I should be able to hit the 36 hour mark.

This is really fun for me to be able to make coffee that tastes good in big batches like this. It helps in my work towards my big goal of sourcing my own beans, roasting them, and then making my own cold brew. That would be super cool.

Trying a new coffee and logging my cold brew batches

anchorhead_coffee_leviathan

We went out to the Fremont Solstice events this weekend. While we were out there I saw Anchorhead coffee had a booth. I have seen them out at city events before and had their stuff. I picked up a bottle of their cold brew and also got some of their beans. Their cold brew is smooth and delicious. I hadn’t had it in awhile and it was good to be reminded of how much I like it. This is a first time for me getting beans from them and I’m excited to see what their roasted coffee is like. They had a few choices at their booth and I ended up going with their Leviathan. Blackberry and marshmallow sounds like a great combination in coffee, so it should be very interesting. I really like the packaging too. Not only is it a very clean design it is also super informative in regards to the coffee. As someone who geeks out on varietals/cultivars and process methods it is rad to get so much information about the beans. Having all of that information really helps me when I dissect the flavors of what I’m drinking. Most of the coffees I drink are blends of some kind, but they aren’t usually blends of regions. From my experience most coffees will blend the beans of various farms in a region to get their flavors. I am really interested to see how a South American coffee blends with an African one. I am going to try this one out with my Chemex first, but I bet it will make a great cold brew.

Speaking of cold brew, I am starting to keep a log of each time I make a batch. I am really wanting to take this process to a new level by figuring out something that is really good and super tasty. This will take a lot of trial and error and I need to keep track of what I’ve done. So, I started taking notes each time I do a batch of cold brew. I even makes notes after tasting it for the first time too. Then I enter it into a sheet later to have a digital copy. This way I will have a spreadsheet of every cold brew attempt and in case you’re wondering, yes, the idea of a spreadsheet of cold brew coffee data sounds amazing to me. It will really help me to get my recipe down to something unique and reproducible. I have only done it twice now, but it already feels like I will have better results over time since I won’t be retrying stuff that I don’t like just to see how I feel about it. I am really excited about it.

Cold Brew Coffee – Batch Two!

I have recently begun doing my own cold brew coffee. It has quickly become a weekend tradition in my mind. I make about a quart each time which works to give me coffee in the morning for most of the following week. I have tried drinking it with almond milk, but actually prefer to drink it straight. I don’t drink much of it as it has a much higher caffeine content, but a little bit of cold brew in the morning is a great pick me up.

For this batch I adjusted grind size, the coffee to water ratio (now doing 1:15 coffee to water instead of 1:16), and let it sit for 24 hours. All of these changes had a huge impact. Normally I don’t like to change multiple aspects of a coffee recipe, but I had a good feeling about the brew time and grind size changes not being too detrimental. The grind size change wasn’t drastic and the brew time is something I’ve seen others do for cold brew. It was really the coffee to water ratio that I was testing and I really like how it turned out. Adjusting ratios is something I am thinking about trying out in my other brewing methods as well.

I used the same Victrola coffee from Guatemala that I did in the first batch. With the first batch as a point of comparison I wanted to do the second with the same coffee and see how the recipe changes worked. Overall, the cold brew came out great. It had much more coffee flavor and wasn’t as watery as my first batch. This was something that I would actually share with others, but I would still probably note that I am new to cold brewing coffee.

As I am writing this my third batch of cold brew is almost ready to be tasted. This time I changed the coffee. I’m still using Victrola, but is one of theirs from Kenya. I think the sweeter notes typically found in African coffees will work really well in a cold brew. This time I adjusted grind size again to see how I can get the water to come into contact with as much of the coffee as possible. The results of that will have to be for a future post.

I felt really good about this second batch as it went into the fridge since it was immediately a much richer color after pouring than the first. I could see that the coffee was already permeating the water quite nicely. And as I pulled it out I saw a huge difference from the first. Cold brewing is fast becoming a point of fascination for me in the coffee world. As much as I enjoy a toasty mug of hot coffee there is something unique to cold brewed coffee. It might be that it isn’t as commonly drank by many, which is likely to be partially true, but I also think it is how the cold brewing process brings out wholly different flavors in a coffee and that is really fascinating to me.

I’m off to try batch number three. Let me know if you’ve got any cold brew tips or what your favorite cold brews are in the comments!

My First Cold Brew Coffee

I’ve been making coffee at home for a little over two years now and for the last year I have been getting more and more serious about my coffee making methods as well as my coffee knowledge. One of my favorite ways to drink coffee has been cold brewed coffee. It has a wholly different flavor from hot brewed coffee that showcases the flavor of the coffee in a very unique way.

A couple of my favorite cold brews are from Stumptown and Anchorhead. Both of them have a huge amount of flavor. The Stumptown Grand Cru this year was a cold brew that was super delicious.

As I’ve been working out my own coffee recipes, slowly working out the details of them to find a way that I can make delicious coffee at home I have always had the idea of making my own cold brew. Considering how much I enjoy drinking cold brew I have suspected that making cold brew coffee would become my jam and I would dive deeply into it.

Just recently I finally got going on making my own cold brew at home. I decided to try it out using a cold brew kit from the Coffee Sock Company. They make their own coffee filters from cotton and have these nice simple kits that are a sock filter inside a mason jar of various sizes. I went with the quart size as that should make a good amount of cold brew for me to drink. Depending on how this works out I am thinking about trying out using their cotton filters in my chemex or pour over processes.

Earlier today I got around to using the kit for the first time. On the Coffee Sock website they have lots of instructions and suggestions to get going. I took a look and put together my own recipe for a cold brew process. I am really excited for the results. I used my scale to weigh the beans before grinding and to weigh the water while I poured it as I usually do. It was really weird to be making coffee without boiling water or a timer going while I was pouring it. This is also the first time I made coffee and didn’t drink it immediately afterwards. I sealed it up and placed it in our fridge where it will sit until the morning.

Once I sealed it up I could see the extraction process had already begun turning the water amber. It looked beautiful.

cold brew coffee sitting on my kitchen counter
Just closed my first cold brew coffee using a Coffee Sock kit

Now for an exercise in patience for the next 6-10 hours.

[UPDATE]

I pulled the coffee out of my fridge this morning and it was delicious! Well, delicious for a first time trying something like this out. I used a really good coffee from Victrola. It is their Guatemala Huehuetenango. It is a very chocolaty, nutty blend that works really well for cold brew, I think. I started to think about the adjustments I could make for next time as I always do after brewing coffee. I think I want to experiment with a smaller grind size and brew time. For the next batch I am going to do a 24 hour brew time. This cold brew tastes just a little thin that I think more brewing time will solve. I most likely won’t adjust the grind this time. I don’t like to change more than one thing when adjusting a brew process. Then I know it real effect on the results. But, my hunch is that I will also need to use a little smaller grind size.

Here is a photo of the finished brew when I pulled it out of the fridge.

Finished cold brew coffee on my kitchen counter
My first cold brew after 18 hours of brew time