What is cold brew coffee?

One summer morning in Hanoi, I walked into a coffee shop feeling like I was “in search of a new twist to my coffee cup” – I ordered a delicious glass of Cold Brew Coffee. It wasn’t long before I found myself submerged in a new world – the world of cool coffee bliss.

The Cold Brew Coffee experience inspired me to learn more about this type of coffee. From the straightforward brewing process to the variety of flavor variations, how it’s different from traditional Vietnamese iced coffee, and ways to maintain its flavor for longer, and more.

The more I explored, the more I realized that Cold Brew Coffee isn’t just a drink; it’s a passion, a way of life, and a source of endless inspiration.

The journey began with Kim Coffee!

What is cold brew coffee?

Cold Brew Coffee, or iced coffee brewing, is made by steeping ground coffee in room-temperature water for several hours, typically between 12 to 18 hours, or even longer, then filtering out the grounds and chilling the coffee before serving it straight, over ice, or diluted with water.

“Because Cold Brew is steeped in cold water, it tends to be a bit smoother and has a more full-bodied flavor.”

When Starbucks introduced Cold Brew coffee in its German stores in 2015, the sale of iced beverages increased by 20%. Of course, the coffee chain did not invent the concept of cold brewing.

Cold Brew Coffee has long been a specialty of New Orleans, and Blue Bottle and Stumptown began employing this technique in their early years.

Many have expressed the opinion that “The flavor of this coffee is smoother and gentler, lacking the acidity that usually comes with high-temperature brewed coffee.”

The reason is simple:

This is because cold water does not induce the same chemical changes, such as producing acids and the bitter flavors associated with hot coffee.

What is the difference between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew Coffee?

Yes, I have become enchanted with Cold Brew Coffee, but what about Iced Coffee?

That’s a completely different distinction!

Iced Coffee is much simpler and still retains the robustness inherent to coffee.

The difference between Cold Brew Coffee and Iced Coffee lies in their brewing methods and processing, leading to distinct flavors and sensory experiences of the two drinks:

DifferenceIced CoffeeCold Brew Coffee
Preparation methodIced Coffee is regular coffee brewed with hot water, like traditional coffee, and then cooled with ice or ice cubes.Cold Brew Coffee is prepared by soaking extremely even ground coffee beans in cold water for extended periods of time, usually 12 to 18 hours or longer. The coffee is then filtered to remove ground coffee.
Preparation timeIced Coffee is quickly brewed with hot water and then cooled with ice or ice cubes. This preparation time is much shorter than Cold Brew CoffeeThe process of preparing Cold Brew Coffee takes place over a long period of time, usually from 12 to 18 hours, or maybe even longer. This allows the coffee to slowly and delicately extract flavor and caffeine from the beans.
Taste and feelIced Coffee can still bring the rich flavor of coffee, but still retains the sour and bitter feeling caused by chemicals formed during the hot water brewing process.Cold Brew Coffee has a smooth, mellow and non-bitter flavor compared to regular coffee. Because the cold soaking process does not cause chemical changes such as acid production, Cold Brew Coffee usually lacks a sour or bitter feeling. This makes Cold Brew Coffee a suitable choice for those who like a rich flavor that is not too harsh.

Are any special coffee makers needed to make Cold Brew?

When I first encountered Cold Brew Coffee, it was quite a mystery to me.

How is it made? Do you need any special coffee machines?

No, there’s no need for any coffee machine!

In the simplest terms, cold brew coffee means steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for 12-24 hours. You don’t need a coffee maker or any special equipment to get a few servings of smoothly brewed coffee that’s less acidic than hot-brewed coffee.

Best of all, it’s ready to go in the morning. Just stagger to the fridge, grab your pre-made Cold Brew Coffee, pour, and enjoy!

How long can Cold Brew Coffee be stored?

I mentioned earlier how to make Cold Brew coffee, you will have the product right after that right?

The problem is how long will this Cold Brew Coffee product be preserved and what is the best way to preserve it?

Cold Brew Coffee “lasts” longer than regular hot coffee. Longer shelf life is one of the most distinctive qualities of this beverage.

Additionally, the flavor quality of hot coffee begins to decrease 30 minutes after the water touches the ground coffee beans. The same is true for iced coffee because iced coffee is just hot coffee that has been cooled.

Cold Brew keeps much better. It also has greater flavor stability; Some cold incubation methods can last up to 10 days.

So how to preserve it to get such effectiveness?

After preparing a cold ready-to-drink or diluted pre-mixed beverage, you need to store it in a properly sealed container. This prolongs the delicious flavor ingredients and slows down the degradation process.

Immediately after brewing, you should put unused coffee in the refrigerator immediately.

I use glass containers to store Cold Brew Coffee, with glass being the best.

With glass, there are no chemicals to interact with the flavor and glass containers can be sealed more tightly. Glass carafes or coffee presses are both great options for storing in the refrigerator.

How to make Cold Brew Coffee with a special flavor?

Making Cold Brew Coffee with a unique flavor is an exciting way to enjoy this beverage, and indeed, when you meet Cold Brew aficionados, what they’re looking for is that distinctive taste profile.

I have collected numerous methods for preparing Cold Brew Coffee, and each one is special.

However, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that despite the myriad variations of this coffee drink, the factors influencing its flavor remain unchanged.

  1. Select high-quality coffee beans: Choose fresh and high-quality coffee beans to ensure the best flavor. Arabica beans are often preferred for Cold Brew as they tend to have a lighter aroma than Robusta beans.
  2. Blend your own beans: Try mixing different coffee beans to create a unique flavor. For instance, you could blend Arabica with Robusta beans to achieve a Cold Brew with a stronger aroma.
  3. Add spices: Consider adding some spices to your coffee beans before brewing. You could add a bit of cinnamon, vanilla, or cocoa nibs to enhance the richness and appeal of the coffee flavor.
  4. Cold Brew with floral notes: You can use floral scents such as lavender, rose, or orange blossom to create a Cold Brew that is fragrant and soothing.
  5. Brew with a cold brew maker or manually: There are many ways to make Cold Brew, such as using a cold brew maker (a specialized coffee brewing device) or manually steeping coffee beans in cold water overnight. The manual method may make it easier to add spices, as you can incorporate different ingredients while the coffee steeps.
  6. Steeping time: The duration of steeping the coffee beans will affect the flavor of the Cold Brew. Typically, steeping for 12-24 hours yields a smooth and mild coffee flavor.
  7. Serve and enjoy: After the steeping process is complete, strain the coffee beans with a mesh or paper filter to separate the coffee from the grounds. Pour the cold coffee into a glass with ice, add milk (or a mix of regular and coconut milk) if desired. You can also garnish the coffee glass with a slice of orange, lemon, or some roasted nuts to enhance the flavor and aesthetic appeal.

Can Cold Brew Coffee be used to make other drinks such as Latte or Cappuccino?

Cold Brew Coffee is an ingredient to create drinks like Latte or Cappuccino! That’s exactly it!

With German thinking, every time any ingredient in a drink is changed, the flavor will change. Cold Brew Latte and Cold Brew Cappuccino are two special drinks (Latte or Cappuccino) whose main ingredient is Cold Brew Coffee.

1. Cold Brew Latte:

  • Ingredients: Cold Brew Coffee, milk (can be condensed milk, cow’s milk, nut milk, or coconut milk).
  • How to make: Pour desired amount of Cold Brew Coffee into a cup filled with ice, then add milk to your taste. If you want your coffee sweeter, you can add sugar or flavored syrup. Stir well and enjoy.

Related guide: What is Latte? Instructions on how to make latte and make latte art

2. Cold Brew Cappuccino:

  • Ingredients: Cold Brew Coffee, steamed milk, milk foam (created from steamed milk).
  • How to make: Pour the amount of Cold Brew Coffee into a cup filled with ice. Next, add enough steamed milk to fill 1/3 of the cup. Then add milk foam on top (about 1/3 cup). You can also sprinkle a little cocoa powder or cocoa on the surface if you want. Enjoy immediately.

Related guide: What is Cappuccino? How to make delicious cappuccino

But you guys need to pay attention for me, the flavor will be different!

The flavor will change and be different from Cold Brew Coffee and even regular Latte or Cappuccino.

The most notable flavor difference is the acidity level.

When using Cold Brew Coffee to create Cold Brew Latte and Cold Brew Cappuccino, it will lower the amount of Acid and lose its inherent acidity.

What are the benefits of drinking Cold Brew Coffee compared to making regular coffee?

A delicious beverage, beloved by many, certainly owes its success to flavor, but flavor alone is not enough to turn Cold Brew Coffee into a trend!

I want to highlight the health benefits it offers!

As I’ve become passionate about Cold Brew Coffee, I’ve sought to learn more about it. And of course, there’s even more anticipation when you realize that Cold Brew Coffee offers numerous health benefits.

  • It enhances mental alertness: The caffeine in coffee and the increased caffeine content in Cold Brew Coffee make you feel more focused and energized.
  • It supports your mental health: According to a study from the Wiley Online Library, regular caffeine consumption may reduce your risk of mental health conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes: Research on diabetes from Springer Link, in a study of nearly 1,000 individuals, found that people who drink three or more cups of strong coffee a day—sometimes equivalent to just one and a half cups of cold brew—are up to 40% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes!
  • Makes you feel good: Caffeine increases dopamine absorption by binding to adenosine receptors. Whether or not you understand what this means, it stimulates the part of the brain associated with reward and motivation, leading to an overall positive feeling.
  • Provides antioxidants: Antioxidants eliminate free radicals in our bodies. These free radicals accumulate in our cells through regular metabolic processes.
  • Aids in weight loss: Caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant and can delay the normal sensation of hunger for a while. Caffeine triggers a natural increase in epinephrine and norepinephrine, which enhances your metabolism. As the levels of these two hormones rise in your blood, they activate your body to start breaking down stored fat in cells for energy, and the metabolic process speeds up, leading to a quicker than normal breakdown of this fat.
  • Boosts your energy: Caffeine stimulates the increase of two hormones in your body, crucial for feeling energized and powerful: adrenaline and noradrenaline. When you consume caffeine, the production of these hormones naturally increases and may support physical activity.
  • Soothes coffee-related stomach issues: Cold Brew Coffee tends to be less acidic than hot brewed coffee. The process of steeping coffee beans in cold water for an extended period helps to minimize the acid content in Cold Brew. This makes Cold Brew a popular choice for people with sensitive stomachs or prone to digestive disorders. With less acidity, Cold Brew is less likely to irritate the gastric lining and reduce the risk of stomach acid reflux into the esophagus. Therefore, many people report feeling more comfortable and less digestive discomfort after drinking Cold Brew compared to hot coffee.
  • Helps you live longer: If you add up the eight benefits above, why wouldn’t your life be extended?

What are the harmful effects of Cold Brew Coffee on health?

Of course, benefits often come with drawbacks, and Cold Brew Coffee is no exception.

There are a few disadvantages to Cold Brew Coffee that you should be aware of, such as its high cost, its high caffeine content, and the need for an espresso machine. When it comes to health, we should pay attention to caffeine!

Cold Brew Coffee typically has a higher caffeine content than hot brewed coffee due to the longer steeping time. Although it depends on the type of coffee beans used, Cold Brew Coffee can contain up to twice the amount of caffeine compared to regular coffee. This can pose challenges for individuals with high blood pressure or those who are sensitive to caffeine.

Cold Brew Coffee, a distinct beverage, has captured the hearts of many coffee lovers around the world.

My conclusion on Cold Brew coffee – it truly is a splendid blend of delicate flavors and the robust essence of coffee. The coolness that comes from its brewing process makes Cold Brew a perfect choice for hot days or moments when relaxation is desired.

Its smoothness, the lack of need for sugar, and minimal bitterness make Cold Brew approachable for many, even those who aren’t devout coffee enthusiasts. The balanced aroma and taste, sometimes with a hint of sweetness, stimulate a sense of relaxation and intrigue for this unique flavor.

Beneath the layers of melting ice, Cold Brew offers a refreshing, brisk, and cool sensation, ushering us into a new world of coffee experiences. This isn’t just a drink; it’s an exhilarating emotional journey.

With all the benefits and emotions that Cold Brew coffee brings, it’s not hard to see why it has become a popular trend among coffee aficionados. For me, Cold Brew is not just a simple beverage but a treasured “gem” to be savored daily.

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