Mis-adventures in Cold Brewing

Ball Jars with Cold Brew CoffeeGiven that we talk about food we have to be critical at times. This time you can criticize me while I experiment.

We purchased a few mason jars awhile back and I decided to re-purpose them for something I’ve been reading about: Cold Coffee brewing also known as “cold brew”. I did this because I enjoy my coffee to be cold in the summer time and when I found out that it had a less acidic and more concentrate flavor I thought it would be interesting to attempt. I’m sure I could have gone with the regular pour over onto ice cubes and satisfied any cold coffee urges but I thought it would be a fun adventure.

Experimenting with Cold Brew

Being an experiment, and as a guy who generally learns by “doing” rather than hearing, my expectation was for it to turn out terrible. I used Cuvee Coffee beans and before I get to the end I’ll say I do think the beans are really good and it was almost impossible for me to mess things up too much. The good news is that I didn’t, but there are places I could definitely improve like the grind and not using ball jars at all, ever.

I started with 60grams of beans, twice my normal amount of beans, to 500ml of poland springs water.  I did this because I watched the “tested” video where he used the Toddy and he mentions to double your coffee to water.

I think.

I might have totally mis-heard him say that however and just “read” about it somewhere probably applying to vinegar cleaning out your drain.  This is it after grinding it (poorly) down.

Picture of Cold Brew Coffee Ball Jar

The next morning I poured the concentrate into another jar. To not get the grinds in my new jar I used a ceramic pour over to filter it out. The picture below illustrates this. It took a good 30 minutes to drain down for some reason. I’m not really sure why as this has happened a few times. An annoyance to be sure, but probably avoidable with more research and knowledge.

Coffee Draining in Pour Over

Cold Brew Coffee with Pour Over

As you can see it kind of changes color from a really dark to a lighter look like tea. Actually I lie. I cut it with water halfway though (1:1 ratio) so the color change is because of that. After tasting it I really didn’t like it.  It was too watery in flavor. I ended up just drinking the concentrate without water and preferred it that way, but the strength was not there meaning I might not have added enough beans. I don’t think I needed a lot more. Maybe 4-5 more grams of coffee.

After that is the cleanup because some grinds inevitably get stuck in the jar. It totally sucks to clean this out unless you let it dry out. There are a few grinds left in the jar but not much. I won’t do this often/at all so my kitchen drain shouldn’t hate me too much.

Coffee Grinds in Ball Jar

Cold Brew Results

Final Verdict: Despite the taste being ok a few things made this experiment not worthwhile. The cleanup is an issue then the time invested to wait to get a single cup through the filtering another. My terrible grind of beans with a blade grinder also didn’t help.  Given how there are other options like the toddy and a french press just stuck in a fridge I probably should never try this via the ball jars again. Honestly, however,  it was fun to do it and mess it up.

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Writer for Collingswoodfoodies.com. You can find him on Google+ here +Jamie Blanchard