| By Savannah Phillips |
Cold brew coffee has been around in various forms for many years. An article in the Guardian titled “Coffee: how cold-brew became the hot new thing,” noted that the origin likely began with Dutch traders in the 1600s, who developed it as a way of producing large quantities of portable coffee, which they would later heat up or serve cold.
The current surge in popularity of cold brew coffee has taken off over the past five years and now it’s pretty much found everywhere. If you’re not very familiar with how cold brew is made, it’s simply coarsely-ground coffee that is steeped in water at room temperature or in cold water for 12 to 24 hours. This is not to be confused with iced coffee, as that is brewed hot coffee or espresso and poured over ice to rapidly chill. The main reason why so many people enjoy cold brew is that this method produces a very smooth and easy-to-drink coffee, has very low acidity, and nicely showcases the coffees typically chosen for this brewing method, which tend to have chocolaty, malty, and caramelly flavor characteristics.
If you’re a big fan of cold brew, it’s actually very easy to make at home and requires no fancy or expensive coffee brewers or espresso makers. The easiest way is to make it is in a French Press, which I do often and have provided simple instructions for you to follow to make “cowboy cold brew” coffee at home.
French Press Cowboy Cold Brew Instructions
In order to make cold brew cowboy style in a French Press you will need:
- Freshly roasted coffee beans (less than three weeks old)
- A French Press
- Coffee grinder (we highly recommend a burr grinder)
- Coffee scale
- Filtered water
- Paper coffee filters (optional)
Weigh out desired amount of coffee and grind it at the same coarse setting as you would for making a normal pot of French Press coffee. We recommend starting out with a 1to1 ratio of coffee to water and then later dilute with water for the desired strength level.
Choose a medium roast coffee that is lower in acidity. We created our own Cold Brew Blend with a flavor profile ideal for brewing using this method, but our México Oaxaca, Colombia Santa Marta and our Guatemala San Martin are all really great options to use for cold brew as well.
Add coffee grounds to the French Press and add cold or room temperature filtered water, filling it to the top ring of the French Press. Place the lid, but do not press down on the plunger and set in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. We have found after making a considerable amount of cold brew, that letting it sit for 18 hours is ideal to yield the best taste.
Remove from the fridge, press down on the plunger to filter the grounds to the bottom and then immediately pour the coffee into a new pitcher. We also recommend avoiding to pour out the last little bit of liquid, as it tends to have more sediment (think of the process of decanting wine). Also, if you want to be extra sure that you have removed excess sediment, you can strain the coffee again through a traditional paper coffee filter. The reason you want to remove as much sediment as possible is that the sediment will continue to steep in the coffee, and after time, will cause the coffee to become over extracted and result in unpleasant bitter and sour flavors.
Serve and enjoy! We recommend drinking it within two to three days. After that, the flavor and freshness will begin to dramatically decline.
Photo by: Dennis Tang
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A Level-Two Certified Barista, native Northwesterner turned So-Cal girl, Savannah is also addicted to yoga, hiking, meditation and long drives up Coast Highway 101. She doesn’t remember ever not loving coffee. Even as a child, when most other kids typically hate the taste, it was something she craved, which looking back, was unquestionably an early prediction of a career devoted to specialty coffee.