Here in Richmond, VA, we are getting into what could quite possibly be the last week of 80- and 90-degree temperatures as we enter the autumn of 2013. And before we make that time-honored seasonal switch from iced to hot coffee once again, let me cover the topic of cold-pressed coffee.

Cold-pressed coffee or cold-brewed coffee was all the rage in the coffee culture this summer. Coffee is cold brewed when it is ground coarse and steeped in room-temperature (around 72 degrees) water for at least 12 hours. The easiest way to infuse the ground coffee into the water and remove it again is to use a french press. If you don’t have a french press, you can use a pitcher and a fine mesh strainer lined with a regular coffee filter. This method takes a little bit longer, and you have to work in batches, but is just as effective as using a french press.

So, why would someone remove the element of heat from the coffee brewing process and plan a half day in advance for a cup of cold brew? First, the taste. Because heat is not used, cold pressed coffee is much sweeter, smoother, and less bitter than regular coffee. The coffee is much more concentrated, as most recipes call for a 1.5:1 to 2:1 water to coffee ratio. So, it is ideal for iced coffee because it actually kind of needs to be diluted with ice, milk, or cream. Or, if you are a fan of Vietnamese-style iced coffee (who isn’t!?), cold press coffee as a base makes a mean Vietnamese coffee — just add ice and sweetened condensed milk!

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