Cold brew coffee has been all the rage for some time now. Wondering what it tastes like? We're going to tell you all about it, including what makes it different from regular iced coffee and how to make the best cold brew at home.
Let's dive right in...
What Does Cold Brew Coffee Taste Like?
Even Dunkin' Donuts has cold brew coffee now—that's how popular this stuff has become. Taste-wise, cold brew is not wholly different from regular hot or iced coffee in that it harnesses the flavors of the particular type of coffee bean it's crafted from.
Super clean, crisp tasting notes are what cold brew is famous for, achieved via a preparation method that uses cold water instead of hot water. This accentuates the natural characteristics of the beans, whether earthy, citrusy or berrylike, while reducing the infusion of bitter, acidic flavors.
So, while cold brew is not in itself a sweet beverage, it's considered sweeter than regular iced or hot coffee for its lack of harsh, biting qualities.
Does Cold Brew Coffee Taste Good?
Coffee lovers who drink it black adore cold brew. Iced coffee made with the hot water method can be muddy and sludgy-tasting without sugar and milk—not the case with cold brew.
Of course, adding sweetener and milk or cream is not uncommon. A splash of soy milk and some sugar in the raw will go down smoothly with the coffee's refreshing flavors.
Is Cold Brew Coffee Stronger Than Normal Coffee?
This really depends on how much ground coffee is used to make a batch of cold brew. Hot water draws more caffeine out of the beans, so between a cold-brewed and hot-brewed cup with an equal amount of ground coffee, the hot-brewed cup will be stronger in terms of caffeine content.
But cold brew is typically made with at least twice the amount of actual coffee, ultimately making a more caffeinated drink. In that sense, it's stronger than normal coffee.
Is It OK to Heat Cold Brew Coffee?
If you have leftover cold brew, it's perfectly fine to heat it up in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. There are also cold brew concentrates on the market that are meant to be mixed with either cold or hot water.
Warming up your cold brew isn't the same as making a cup of coffee with hot water from the start. You're not extracting bitterness and acidity from the beans, so you shouldn't end up with an acrid beverage.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee
Now that you know what makes cold brew special, you can try it at the coffee shop, but we suggest making it yourself at least once. It's easier than you think.
In this video, Todd Carmichael of La Colombe demonstrates a French press method of preparing cold brew. Plan to make it overnight as it needs 12 hours to sit.
Here's a simple way of making cold brew that requires nothing more than a mason jar and a cheesecloth-lined sieve to filter the coffee. You could also use a nut milk bag to accomplish this.
Cold brew is the reigning champ of iced coffee. It's milder with cleaner flavors than hot or regular iced coffee and can be enjoyed black or with vegan milk and sugar. Making your own likely requires no equipment that you don't already have at home, so get ready to taste the best iced coffee you've ever had.