woman drinking cold brew coffee
Coffee Recipes | Coffee types | Preparing Coffee

What Is Cold Brew Coffee? Myths and Facts

Although today there is an abundance of coffee types to choose from, the most popular choice of coffee remains the hot brewed coffee, while the standard view of a perfect coffee cup is hot or warm. However, you would be surprised to know that the first cups of coffee were probably made with cold or lukewarm water.

Only recently popularized in the US, but stemming from the distant past, the Cold Brewed Coffee is surrounded by a veil of uncertainty on its origin, the preparation methods, ingredients and flavour. Some of the popular false beliefs are that it’s only good to consume Cold Brewed Coffee on its own, that it contains a lot of caffeine, and finally, that it is brewed with ice-cold water. People usually think it’s made from old beans and that it is complicated to make. 

Does Cold Brew have to be served cold? How difficult is it to make? Is it essentially Ice Coffee? Is it a new type of coffee? Is it stronger than regular coffee? Does it have to be made with old coffee beans? Is it better than hot brewed coffees? What is its flavour like? Is it more expensive than hot brewed coffee? I’ll use this opportunity to answer these questions and debunk some of the most popular Cold Brewed Coffee myths.

Before we start breaking the myths, let’s take a look at what Cold Brewed Coffee is.

what is cold brewed coffee, a glass of cold brewed coffee

What Is Cold Brewed Coffee?

Maybe the best way to answer this question is to say what Cold Brew isn’t. The most popular myth is that it is Ice Coffee. Wrong!  Ice Coffee is brewed hot and served cold. It is made by pouring hot coffee over ice, or putting it into the refrigerator to cool, for a couple of hours. The drawback of the first method of preparing coffee is that it dilutes coffee. The second method uses a couple of hours old coffee, which is to say it will not be fresh. 

The brewing method of Cold Brew is completely different. It is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in lukewarm water for 12-24 hours. This is how Cold Brew concentrate is made. It is then mixed with water or milk to make a perfect cup of pleasure.

So, here we face the above-mentioned question of whether it is more difficult to make. The answer is no. It just takes longer, but it’s worth the effort. Why? 

Health Benefits

The most important health benefit of Cold Brewed Coffee is that it is 67% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. Why is this important? The greater acidity in regular, hot brewed coffee can cause heartburn, as well as damage to your teeth and your stomach. The lower acidity of Cold Brew also helps keep your body’s pH levels balanced. Also, if you are accustomed to rushing to the toilet the moment you have taken a sip of your hot coffee, you might find it interesting that Cold Brew doesn’t have this ‘’side-effect’’. 

Flavor

Since Cold Brew is brewed at low temperatures, it doesn’t ‘’burn’’ coffee beans and therefore tastes less bitter and more flavorful. This cuts the need to add sugar, sweeteners or cream, which can be convenient if you want to reduce the calorie intake, making Cold Brew the perfect coffee to drink if you are on a specific diet.

Economy

There’s little or no waste. Although some claim that Cold Brew is more expensive, you might be surprised that you can use Cold Brew concentrate to make hot or cold coffee one cup at a time. The concentrate can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks and not go stale as hot brewed coffee would. Using concentrate helps you adjust the amount of coffee you want to consume. Whether you like strong or weaker coffee, the use of concentrate will help you make differently concentrated cups of coffee during the same preparation process. 

So, if you are making coffee for yourself or your friend, and you and your friend like your coffee differently, it is simple to make just the way each of you two like it by using Cold Brew concentrate.

Hot or Cold

As I mentioned, you can serve Cold Brew cold or hot. Of course, it’s super easy to make iced cold brew coffee – just add cold water and ice to the concentrate and milk, if desired. For hot coffee, you can boil water and add it to your cold brew concentrate. It can be heated in the microwave as well if you’re in a hurry.

Now that we have established what Cold Brewed coffee is, let’s focus on the very subject of the post and test the popular myths by firm facts and truths.

cold brewed coffee can be drunk hot

Myths VS Facts

The fact that it is brewed with cold or room temperature water doesn’t mean that Cold Brewed Coffee has to be drunk cold. Often, it is confused with Ice Coffee, Japanese Iced Coffee, Regular Brewed Coffee with ice, and so on. The real difference and the main peculiarity of Cold Brewed Coffee is its brewing method, where the water temperature in which the extraction of coffee takes place is low – cold or at room temperature. So, yes, it can be drunk warm, especially in winter.

The coffee adorers often make Cold Brew their favourite type of coffee and are prone to jumping to the conclusion that this coffee is better than hot brewed coffee. When drinking either of these two types of coffee, all that matters is whether you enjoy them or not. That is the only criteria when it comes to coffee drinking, in general.

The third most common myth is that Cold Brew has more caffeine than Espresso. Although it is usually made stronger in caffeine, Cold Brew doesn’t have to contain more of it. The truth of the matter is that the level of caffeine, in Cold Brew, as well as in any other type of coffee depends on various factors, such as type of bean used, water-to-coffee ratio, brewing time and roast type.

Do you think that you need ice to make Cold Brew Coffee? Check this out: the water temperature for Cold Brew can range from room temperature to ice cold.

Many hold a firm belief that Cold Brew Coffee can be drunk only on its own. Thank God this isn’t true because this exquisite drink is an irreplaceable ingredient of various cocktails, cake, ice cream. If you want the strong flavour of Cold Brew Coffee, it is better to drink it on its own.

Although some of you might think that the fact that we are debunking myths about Cold Brew should mean it is a new type of coffee, and even though it has gained popularity only within the last decade or so in the US, it goes back as far back as the 17th century when the Dutch reportedly introduced the cold brew process.

There is a belief out there that old beans are used for making Cold Brew. While it is a fact that Cold Brew is more forgiving on old coffee beans, and therefore some use this as a chance to make a coffee from some long-forgotten beans, the Cold Brew does lose its recognizable flavour if too old, stale beans are used in the preparation process.

The last myth I will mention here is: Cold Brewed Coffee is difficult to make. False. Cold Brew is fairly easy to make. There is a difference between the time it takes to make coffee and the simplicity, or complexity of the making process. Cold Brew just needs more time. Easy peasy.

And now that we have all these firm facts and truths, and we know that it isn’t quantum physics, let’s see who first came up with the ingenious idea to make delicious Cold Brew.

Who Invented Cold Brewed Coffee?

When we think of coffee, the first image that comes to mind is a cup of steaming coffee. However, coffee has been enjoyed cold for at least four centuries. In the days before electricity was discovered, and when making a fire required a lot of work, cold-brewing may have even been the first choice in making coffee.

As I have said, Cold Brew is most likely to have originated from the Netherlands. However, many nations have their types of cold-brewed coffee. Thai and Vietnamese have iced coffee and Indian cold coffee. Most of these methods, however, use either hot-brewed coffee (as in Thai and Vietnamese iced coffee) or instant coffee (Indian cold coffee). The first evidence of true cold-brewed coffee, made with cold water, stems from a trade between the Japanese and the Dutch, who would have used it as a way to make coffee that could be carried on their ships, by eliminating the fire hazards traditional brewing methods would create.

The Japanese, who took the recipe from the Dutch popularized the so-called Kyoto-style coffee, and this is the first mention of Cold Brew, although the record before that is not clear. The Japanese evolved the special manner in which the Cold Brew is prepared, and that is brewing coffee drop by drop. Hence, the long-brewing time mentioned above.

Now that we’ve debunked the most popular myths and revealed some truths, you may be wondering – How do we make the Cold Brew today?

it's time for cold brewed coffee

How to Make Cold-Brewed Coffee

As I said, the Cold Brew is relatively easy to make, although you’ll need a bit of patience to enjoy this exquisitely tasting coffee.

You’ll need:

Coarsely ground coffee beans – If you buy your coffee beans at the store, you can use the self-service area to grind the beans. You can also grind the beans at home if you have a personal grinder.

Coldwater – Use 3 cups of filtered water for optimal flavor.

A large mason jar, although any large container will do.

  1. Pour 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans into the jar. Add one and a half cups of cold water. Stir to make sure all the grounds are damp and then add the remaining one and a half cups of water. 
  2. Put the lid on the jar and place it in your refrigerator. Allow the coffee to steep for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how strong you want the cold brew to be. The longer it steeps, the stronger your coffee will be.
  3. Set your strainer over the large bowl and place a coffee filter, a cloth or a thin dish towel in the strainer. Pour the coffee mixture through the filter to catch the grounds. Rinse your jar out, and transfer the cold coffee back into the jar for storage.
  4. To serve, fill a cup with ice and add cold brew concentrate and water. The ratio to use will depend on how strong you like your coffee, especially if you’re also adding milk, which will dilute the coffee even more.

If you are using the French press, the process is as follows:

  1. Add ground coffee into your French press and add water. Place the plunger lid on top and press it down 1 to 2 inches to ensure coffee grounds are fully submerged but don’t press it down. Let the coffee steep at room temperature for 16 to 18 hours. You can place the French press in your fridge or leave it out at room temperature. 
  2. Press the plunger down and transfer concentrate into an airtight jar. You can strain the coffee through a coffee filter or mesh cloth in a small strainer. Keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  3. To serve, fill a glass or a cup with ice and add cold brew concentrate and water. The ratio to use will depend on how strong you like your coffee, just like in the previous method.

A very important factor in making the Cold Brew is the type of coffee you use. This will affect the quality of the concentrate, and consequently the flavour of the coffee.

One of the best coffees to brew your Cold Brew with is Ascend Breakfast Blend, Light Roast – 12oz. The golden rule for drinking your Cold Brew is to brew it with coffee beans that have been roasted only shortly before brewing to enjoy the perfect coffee cup. This light roast is organic coffee with a medium body and smoothness that will make your spirit ascend!

cold brewed coffee best beans

Where to buy the best coffee for cold brewing?

The key to the perfect coffee cup lies in whole bean, freshly roasted coffee. Quality coffee for home brewing is difficult to find and people often reach for an ‘’instant’’ coffee drinking experience. 205 degrees coffee offers you freshly roasted coffee shipped to your door only a few hours after the process of roasting.

This means you will have premium quality coffee shipped exactly to your door, with no need to go out or visit cafes and pay crazy prices for just one cup of coffee. Instead, brew your perfect coffee at home at completely reasonable prices.

At 205 degrees, we are dedicated to bringing you the perfect coffee drinking experience with our premium, whole bean, micro-roasted coffee. It all started with a simple question: How to make a perfect cup of coffee?

Ever since then, we have been developing the richness and flavour of our coffee beans, always dedicated to our customers’ experience. 

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