What is cold brew coffee?
Cold brew coffee, as the name implies, is a brew method that relies on cold (or room temperature) water to extract the flavorful sugars, oils, and minerals from coffee over a long period of time. “Slow drip” coffee (as opposed to “immersion” coffee) is a method of cold brewing that does this by slowly dripping cold/room temperature water over a bed of coffee grinds, saturating them, and dripping a concentrate through a filter at the bottom. This concentrate can be diluted with water, or mixed with milk/cream/sugar at whatever ratio your palate prefers.
Cold brew has become especially popular in recent years. It’s cold extraction process will leave your brew with less than ⅓ the acidity of traditionally brewed hot coffee, making it smoother to the taste, easier on your stomach, better for your teeth, and granting it a longer shelf life (1-3 weeks, depending on conditions). Slow drip in particular has become a very popular method of cold brewing in Japan, Korea, and Denmark. The final product tends to be a smoother and “cleaner” brew than immersion cold brew, and is best for parsing out the nuanced, fruity and floral flavor notes in a coffee.
What will you need to make cold brew coffee?
There is a growing number of slow-drip brewers on the market. Pick yours based on price, size, and feature-set.
Unlike all other brew methods, slow-drip requires filters on top of the coffee, rather than the bottom. This filter is meant to catch the water droplets and spread them evenly across the top of the bed of coffee rather than letting the drops bore through the center of your grinds. You can use dedicated “Yama” or "Aeropress" branded filters, or cut circles out of any other kind of paper filter
To yield a 1:1 concentrate, start with 1 cup (0.25 liters) of coffee and 4 cups (1 liter) of water.
Filtered water is ideal.
Adding ice to the water before you begin dripping will chill the water, slowing the brewing process and can yield a more complex cup of coffee. Placing the brewer in a refrigerator will achieve similar results.
How do you make cold brew coffee?
Grind your coffee on a medium course setting and place it in the coffee basket.
Place your filter on top of the bed of grinds and wet it evenly.
Set your nozzle to release one drop per second. If, after the brew, your coffee tastes too sour, slow the drip rate down, if it tastes too bitter, speed it up. Check your brewer regularly to ensure that the coffee is evenly saturated with no dry spots.
Once your coffee has brewed and you are left with a concentrate in your container, dilute it at a 1:1 ratio with water, or mix it with milk/cream/sugar at whatever ratio your palate prefers.
What kind of brewer is best for you?
The Osaka is ideal for personal use at a manageable price point. The brewer features a carafe made of shatter-resistant, borosilicate glass, a cylindrical coffee basket for even extraction, and a water nozzle with an adjustable drip rate for added control over your brew.
The DKINZ is the cutting edge of slow-dripper technology. The model by Brewki features a high-precision adjustable drip nozzle, a counter-weight mechanism within the water chamber that ensures a constant drip-rate over the duration of the brew, and its sleek, minimalistic design will compliment nearly any kitchen. It is *awesome*. Just be prepared to pay.
The Yama towers are the most iconic slow-drippers in the world and have set the standard by which all other brewers are judged. Its precision leveled, hand-crafted, bamboo frame towers over your counter to support three stunning pieces of glass, made to hold your water, grinds, and concentrate. It’s water nozzle allows for precise and consistent drip rates, and its large size is ideal for crafting coffee for a crowd. Yama sells both 8-cup (personal) and 25-cup (commercial) models.