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Man pouring specialty cold brew coffee into jar

Should I Brew Specialty Cold Brew at Room Temperature or in the Fridge?

Cold brew specialty coffee in glassAlthough Specialty Coffee cold brew and cold brews in general are known to be one of the easier brews to make, it will still require a fair amount of understanding and techniques to really make the ultimate cold brew.

Should I brew cold brew at room temperature or in the fridge?

Well actually, you can do both, it will all come down to what works best for you in your daily schedule. As cold water extracts the flavours and oils from the grounds slower, it will mean, if you are brewing in the fridge, then even more time will be required, whereas brewing in room temperature will require less time.

It can take up to 12 hours for a specialty cold brew to properly brew at room temperature, therefore, by brewing in the fridge, you are going to require at least an extra 3-5 hours to reach the same extraction.   

If you know you are going to have a long day, or maybe you are seeing a friend straight after work, then 12 hours is most likely going to be too quick, so your better of brewing in the fridge, therefore, when you do finally get home, your cold brew will be perfect. 

For most, they live a 9-5 schedule, so in general brewing at room temperature will be much more simple to fit into your normal routine.

What is Specialty Cold Brew?

I am sure when reading this you already have some idea of what a cold brew is right? Well for many, there is actually a slight confusion between cold brew and iced coffee, many believing they are the same thing, which is actually incorrect.

So what is specialty cold brew? The key word here is ‘brew’. Cold brew requires brewing up to 12 -18 hours, either at room temperature, or in the fridge, using cold water, as well as using a specialty single origin bean (if you are making ‘Specialty’ cold brew that is). 

Cold brew is created by steeping medium to coarse coffee grounds in cold water and is never exposed to heat. (where as iced coffee is created using regular hot coffee brewing methods). Therefore, cold brew ultimately requires time rather than heat to extract the specialty coffee oils and flavours.

Ultimately, specialty cold brew is for those that plan ahead due to the long gradual process of creating it. This will result in an amazing smooth, rich infused coffee, with generally lower acidity levels, which in turn can help those with sensitive digestive systems to enjoy a specialty coffee without the trouble after consumption.

One cold brew and two flat white coffees together

What is the best coffee bean for specialty cold brew?

The specialty coffee market is full of different beans, however, not many roasters in the industry have taken up the challenge to create the perfect single origin bean for cold brew. 

Specialty cold brew can be fantastic, especially in those hot summer months, however, you cannot treat this brew the same as iced coffee for example, there are more restrictions with cold brew, and the coffee bean you choose for your cold brew will either make it or break it.

We know that the taste for coffee can be very subjective, the flavours you like may be different to the flavours we like, therefore there is no right or wrong, it will come down to what is right for you. 

However, we can certainly help you with providing a few options below so you can hopefully have a better understanding, and make a perfect specialty coffee cold brew.

The Coffee We Use

Because brewing needs to be cold, the only way to obviously make a specialty cold brew is the extraction time. Generally the lighter the roast, the longer the extraction time. 

You will also find Light – Medium roast beans to be the best in the specialty coffee market.

If you are one to drink your cold brew black then we recommend a good quality light single origin bean.

Check out our two favourite light roast single origin beans for specialty cold brew.

Coffee Masters is an independent, wholesale coffee company based in the heart of Worcestershire UK.

They offer coffee that’s fair trade, organic and rainforest alliance certified. This particular coffee is from Honduras, Ethiopia and Sumatra and has won 2018 Great Taste Award. 

In regards to its flavour, you will find sweet caramels and chocolate tones with a light citrus acidity.

Superfly Organic coffee is a fresh specialty single origin arabica coffee that is sourced, traded and shipped directly to the consumer from the roaster.

It is Triple certified by Organic, Fairtrade and Rainforest alliance’s, with an impressive SCA cupping score of 83.75.

This Superfly Organic has an amazing aroma and tastes like sweet chocolate with floral notes and plums.

Medium Roast

This style roast will work just as well as light roast, however, you will need to be more careful as you can quickly turn the final outcome to a very bitter and over powering brew (although some may actually prefer this).

Medium roast will begin to have a much more ‘smoky’ flavour than your lighter roasts, and although smoky isn’t exactly a bad flavour, it can quickly over power all the delicate flavours that specialty cold brew has to offer.

Check out our two favourite medium roast single origin beans for specialty coffee cold brew.

Coffee Cruise is a family-owned coffee roaster located in a small and unpolluted area of Lithuania near Vilkaviškis town. It is grown and prepared only by natural and organic methods.

Their Real Nicaraguan coffee is characterised by slight fruitiness, though exquisite palates will soon notice the emerging hints of chocolate and nuts. These coffee beans are becoming more and more popular around the world because of their high quality. 

Nicaraguan coffee is often referred to as a perfect, classical coffee, full of pure taste, rich flavour and good balance.

The first thing you notice when receiving your coffee is the delicious enticing aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans.

Mindful Coffee is about enjoying your coffee and starting your day in a relaxed mindful way. Their ethically sourced organic, fairtrade coffee is the highest quality coffee beans graded at the top ‘specialty’ rating, they use a third party lab to test their coffee proving it is free from harmful mycotoxins.

It is a clean and smooth coffee, with bright acidity, mellow body and a caramel finish. A very sweet espresso, with notes of golden syrup and lemon, leaving you with a unique buttery mouthfeel.

How do I make a cold brew?

The below method will make approximately 4 cups of cold brew coffee.

Ingredients;

  • 4 ounces of whole coffee beans
  • 4 cups of filtered water

What You Will Need;

  • Coffee Grinder, 2 large jars with lids, fine mesh strainer

The Method;

Grind the beans

You will need to freshly grind your beans preferably to a coarse grind. You may need to do this in batches depending the capacity size of your grinder.

Combine Coffee with Water

Now you will need to combine the coffee grind with water in a jar you have.

Stir

Now gentle stir so the water is 100% incorporated with the coffee, the coffee will float which is not a problem, just ensure all the coffee is wet as a result of the water.

Steep the Coffee

The longest part of the process, you will need to cover and and let the coffee brew for up to 12 – 18 hours depending if you brew in the fridge or room temp.

Strain the Coffee

Slowly pour the coffee concentrate through the strainer into the other jar. You may need to strain in batches, but be very careful.

Enjoy

If storing for longer term, you can transfer into an airtight fresh jar or container.

3 Easy Steps to ensure you make the perfect Specialty Cold Brew every time;

  1. Get The Grind Right.
  2. Use Higher Ratio of Coffee to Water.
  3. Strain Slowly.

How long does Cold Brew last after making it?

In short, specialty cold brew coffee that is brewed at home will last up to 2 weeks, if undiluted and stored correctly in the fridge. However, the flavour of your cold brew will degrade after the first week.

If you have cut the concentrate of your specialty cold brew with water, then this will have a much larger effect on the shelf life, and would usually only last for 2-3 days.

Therefore, unlike hot brewed coffee, where the quality of the coffee only really lasts for a few hours, specialty cold brewed coffees quality will last much longer.

Conclusion

Overall, when asking yourself the question, should I brew specialty cold brew at room temperature or in the fridge, it will ultimately come down to what suits you and your daily routine.

The colder the temperature, the longer it will take to brew, either way, the flavour of your brew will not be greatly affected by the different temperature approaches, it will come down to factors such as how strong the roast your using as that can have major flavour effects with your final brew.

Specialty cold brew is a perfect brew if you are looking for your coffee to last longer, and you are looking for something that you can store and re-use for further quality drinks.

If you are one to drink your cold brew black then we recommend a good quality light single origin bean.

Also if you are new to the cold brew scene, we would recommend starting with a lighter roast, as you can quickly over power and ruin the flavours of specialty cold brew by using a darker roast incorrectly.

How do you prefer to store your specialty cold brew?

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