The cold brew method is a great example how highfalutin coffee culture can obscure the best coffee choices for individual coffee lovers. It’s simple, effective, and offers unique advantages over most other kinds of brewing methods. The cold brew method is just what it sounds like—a method for brewing coffee without heat (more on this in a minute). Essentially, you grind up coffee beans, pour water over the beans, wait a day, and filter the beans out.
You might consider investing in a cold brew jug with a built in strainer, but you can use pretty much any clean, glass container for cold brew and then pour the coffee over a filter, cheesecloth, or fine-tooth strainer.
The Big, Health Advantage to Cold Brew Coffee
The average American diet is already highly acidic. Throw in a normal amount of stress, and it’s no wonder that the condition affects about a quarter of the population, to say nothing of the people who experience mild, intermittent episodes of heartburn. Looking for a low-acidity coffee? It’s not just the kind of bean you choose, or whether you drink coffee drinks or cappuccino drinks. The lowest acidity options are consistently produced through the brewing process itself, and cold brew specifically. Heating the water and coffee during the brewing process significantly increases the acidity level of the coffee.
How to Do the Cold Brew Method Right
The cold brew method may sound so simple that there’s no wrong way to do it, but it does share some of the same fundamentals for making great-tasting coffee: You need to use filtered or otherwise purified water, and you need to use high-quality beans. Don’t forget these two golden rules.
From this point, you can experiment with two big variables. 1) The coarseness of the grind and 2) how long you let the coffee brew. As a default, cold brews generally do better with a coarser grind. My local coffee shop recommends a grind somewhere between the drip coffee and French press settings. Just slightly coarser than medium, in other words. On a 1-10 scale, you probably want to start somewhere around 6 or 7. The finer the coffee grind, the faster it will brew and the sharper it will likely taste. A coarser grind will create a fuller, milder brew. Recommended brew times are generally between 12-24 hours.
Our Method and Motivations for Cold Brew
Personally, I’m a huge cold brew fans. I go with a 7 setting or pretty much right at the French press setting, and I still find that the coffee is brewed to my liking in as little as 15-18 hours. I try to avoid the finer, faster, sharper brews, but I like to keep the process well under 24 hours. This allows me to drink the coffee, wash out the glass jug, and set up the cold brew for the next day. This has allowed me to drink great-tasting coffee on an almost daily basis without any appreciable increase in my acid-reflux.