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!

The beautiful failures of coffee experimentation

This morning I learned the beautiful lesson of messing with a dialed in coffee recipe and the difference that 50 grams of water can make. Let me tell you, it is quite a difference my friends. I have always been told about the subtle balance that is going on in the coffee brewing process and I feel that I have a good understanding of it. It is something that I always keep in the back of my mind as I develop my recipes. Today I was reminded of that balance and how when it’s off it can seriously bite you.

I like to make a French press every morning before work. It is a simple process that my newly awoken brain can handle at 6am while still being challenging enough to help me awake and begin my day as I need. I have been using my 34oz French press which makes more than enough coffee for myself and my wife. Lately I have been thinking about how much I have left over when I leave for work. There is coffee available at my work, so I don’t think to pack the remaining coffee in a container of some kind to continue drinking. Although I really should. As an alternative to this I have been thinking about how I can make enough coffee to drink in the morning for my wife and I, but also not have any left over once I’m done. My first thought was to tweak my French press recipe to produce slightly less coffee. This seemed like a reasonable idea, so I gave it a shot this morning. Today I tried using only 750 grams of water instead of my usual 800 grams. My mistake was still using my usual 45 grams of coffee. This blew my ratio to pieces and the coffee came out bitter and gross. The really sad part is that it was the holiday blend from Victrola Coffee, which is incredibly delicious this year. If you haven’t tried it I suggest grabbing some if you can.

Victrola Coffee being my favorite coffee in all of Seattle I was especially disappointed to create such a travesty using their stuff. If you can hear me Victrola, I’m sorry. Looking back on it I realize that I don’t need to tweak my recipe. What I need to do is to work out a recipe for my other, smaller French press. It is a 12oz size and can easily be two solid full cups of coffee. At least, I’m pretty sure it can. I will have to experiment, but I have a good starting point. This should hopefully provide better results as it is much more appropriate to the situation. Plus, it will be good to have a solid recipe for this smaller French press anyways.

In the end really, this can all be taken care of if I just get a good travel situation going for bringing coffee to work, so that I can continue to enjoy the stuff I make in the morning. But, that will have to be another blog post. Feel free to leave your coffee making experiences in the comments!