Cold Brew Close Up (Using the Coffee Sock brew kit).
You can make wonderful cold brew for home. It's super easy to make, refreshing and delicious! I'm going to walk you through making perfect cold brew at home. First thing you need is some way to immerse coffee in a large amount of cold water. There are a number of options. It might be possible to use the Sowden Softbrew. I've heard of people using a French press to make cold brew; however if you use a French press, you'll likely want to add a step where you filter the coffee.
I walked to the Roastery and bought their cold brew kit which is actually produced by CoffeeSock.com.
I realize that not everyone lives near the Roastery. However you can order this online at CoffeeSock.com - it's actually a little cheaper to buy it directly from CoffeeSock. I'm using the 64 mason jar with coffee sock. You'll find that here: http://coffeesock.com/coldbrew/diy-coldbrew-coffee-kit. Scroll down and select the size of mason jar you want and add it to your cart.
When you buy a cold brew kit by CoffeeSock, you get the big jar and a "sock" which looks like this:
You don't necessarily need a special kit. Plan on having a big jar and some kind of "sock" to put the coffee in.
Next, you'll want to pick out some coffee. I chose Starbucks Reserve Rwanda Hingakawa.
You might ask, what coffee works best for cold brew? Very generally speaking, you want to look for a lighter roast to medium roast coffee, with a light body. Many people lean towards African coffees. From the core Starbucks lineup, it's possible that Veranda, Willow, or Ethiopia may work for a cold brew. Of course, what people like in coffee is very subjective. You might have to experiment to find the right coffee for you. I picked the Rwanda Hinakawa because I know that I enjoy the elegant flavors and body that Rwanda coffees often have, and this coffee is described to have honey and citrus notes.
What grind should I use for a cold brew coffee? You'll want to use a coarse grind. Almost universally, if you're brewing coffee by an immersion technique (like a French press is essentially coffee immersed in water for a specified time), you want a coarse grind.
Is there a special recipe? When making cold brew, follow all of the same "four fundamentals of great coffee" that you always would follow.
The four fundamental are as follows:
- Water: Use filtered water, free of impurities.
- Grind: Make sure that you use the right grind for the brew method you decided to use. In this case, use a coarse grind for cold brew. You can ask your local barista to grind your coffee for you in the store. That will make it much easier to be sure you have the perfect grind.
- Proportion: Use two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water.
- Freshness: Make sure coffee is fresh. Look on the back of the bag. If it's expired, toss it out. Flavorlock packaged coffee: (Flavorlock packaging is the industry standard for high quality coffee. Flavorlock plastic packaging is a heavy, durable plastic with a special one-way valve somewhere on it.). If the Flavorlock bag has been opened, use all the coffee within 7 days. Even if the back of the bag shows that the coffee is not near its expiration date, if the bag has been open longer than 7 days, toss out the coffee. Hand scooped coffee, not in Flavorlock bags: If you purchased very fresh coffee NOT in Flavorlock packaging, then pay attention to the date the coffee was roasted. Toss out your coffee if it is older than 15 days from the date of roasting. If you have coffee NOT in Flavorlock plastic bags and you don't know the date it was roasted, toss it out. For fresh coffee scooped from a bin, the ideal time to use that coffee is anywhere from 5 to 15 days from the date of roasting.
A special note as to proportion: I think that the classic recipe - two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water - is best. I do know people who believe in brewing much stronger cold brew, nearly doubling the coffee. From my experience, what you'll end up with is nearly a coffee concentrate that you'll need to cut heavily with water and ice if you you brew it double strength.
Now that you have the 4 fundamentals of great coffee down, you'll need to gather up things you need for your cold brew:
Just a quick mention about the copper coffee scoop shown here: It's a 2 tablespoon scoop sold at the Roastery. It is one of my favorite Roastery-merchandise items. I use mine nearly every day! It's on my list as one of the top 5 things sold at the Roastery.
It's very simple: I have filtered water, freshly ground coffee, a two table spoon coffee scoop, a big mason jar, and a measuring cup (not shown) to measure water.
What are the steps?
Here's what I did. I scooped 10 of the copper scoops of coffee into the coffee sock. In effect, I put 20 tablespoons of coffee into the coffee sock to make 60 ounces of cold brew. Obviously you want to be using the right size sock for your jar. You don't have to use a fancy sock made by CoffeeSock.com, but it did make it easier. I'm recommending Coffee Sock.
Next I measured 60 ounces of water and poured it into my large half-gallon mason jar. In case, you never want to fill the mason jar absolutely full. The coffee sock filled with coffee is going to displace some of the water.
Tie off the end of the sock in your big jar. Put the lid on. And just let it sit for 16 hours.
It's that simple.
One important note is that I followed the four fundamentals of brewing great coffee to the letter. I used fresh coffee. I used filtered water. I used the right grind. I used the right proportion. I've had friends scoff at me that you don't have to be that precise with coffee. Your coffee will taste different and likely won't be as delicious if you choose to use stale coffee, or the wrong grind. The 4 fundamentals really are important!
How long do I brew the cold brew coffee for? The brew time for cold brew is anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. I chose a 16 hour brew time. My understanding is that this is close to the brew time for the Roastery's cold brew. (I'm not exactly sure of the Roastery's brew time). I carefully planned my brew time. I started the cold brew at 6:00 AM, and then that same day, at very close to 10:00 PM, I removed the coffee sock, and the cold brew was perfect!
Here's my finished cold brew - I made this myself and it's perfect!
Enjoy your cold brew! Let me know how yours turns out!
If you want all Starbucks Reserve coffee information, check out this website:
You can also use that site to look at the many Starbucks Reserve tasting cards. I know there is a small subset of customers who avidly collect the Reserve tasting cards. (The Rwanda Hingakawa card is shown in this article). They are the baseball cards of the coffee world.