Why Cold Brew Coffee Tastes Better07:46
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(Gregory Povey/Flickr)
(Gregory Povey/Flickr)

Cold brewed coffee has become a popular alternative to traditional iced coffee, which is brewed hot and then poured over ice.

Cold brewing is a coffee preparation method that can take up to a day, but Boston-area baristas Sal Persico and San Bellino say the results are better.

San’s 'Hot Bloom' Cold Brew

San Bellino (left) and Sal Persico. (Robin Lubbock/Here and Now).
San Bellino (left) and Sal Persico. (Robin Lubbock/Here and Now).

Ingredients:
1 cup hot water (around 205 degrees)
7 cups cool water
1 lb of coffee, coarsely ground

Instructions:
Coarsely grind whole bean coffee and place the grounds in a large container. Heat up a cup of water until it’s about 205 degrees.

Pour the hot water into the coffee, and stir to saturate the grounds. Leave to bloom for 90 seconds.

Pour the remaining cool water over the grounds, seal tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours. Filter the coffee through a cloth or paper filter.

Because you’ll brew a concentrate, you can vary the strength, but it is recommended you dilute one part coffee with 2 parts water.

Sal’s Traditional Cold Brew

[sidebar title="Coffee Vocabulary" width="280" align="right"]

  • Flavor profile: what a particular coffee tastes like.
  • Hot bloom: initially adding hot water to your coffee grounds for around a minute, in order to begin the extraction process, prior to adding the remaining cool or room temperature water.
  • Mids and basses: deeper flavors, for example, chocolaty, nutty or woody.
  • Aroma: the smell of a cup of coffee. A freshly brewed, hot cup of coffee would have a strong aroma. Cold brew is less aromatic because it uses cool or room temperature water.
  • Acidity: bright flavors, for example, citrusy, fruity or tart. A coffee with pleasant acidity is described as “lively.”
  • Vegetal: tasting like green vegetables, or grassy.
  • Steep time: the amount of time your coffee grounds are in contact with the water.

[/sidebar]

Ingredients:
1 lb of coffee, coarsely ground
8 cups of cool water

Instructions:
Coarsely grind your whole bean coffee and place the grounds in a large container. Pour the cool water over the grounds, seal tightly and refrigerate for 22 hours. Filter the coffee through a cloth or paper filter.

Because you’ll brew a concentrate, you can vary the strength, but it is recommended you dilute one part coffee with 2 parts water.

Tips For Cold Brewing

  1. Use coffee that is fresh—the fresher your coffee, the better your cold brew. This is true for any drip method of coffee preparation.
  2. Use light roast coffees. Their flavors are more transparent.
  3. Use a coarse to medium grind.
  4. Steep your coffee in a sealed container to reduce oxidation.
  5. Although a refrigerated steep takes longer, it produces cleaner flavors.
  6. Use a paper or cloth filter when you filter your coffee. It will get all the sediment out and give you cleaner flavors.

Guests

This segment aired on August 26, 2013.

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