More on Coffee Brewing

I’ve been playing with cold brewing and changing the technique and recipe slightly with each batch. Here are some of the things you can control when brewing coffee:

  • Grind (Turkish – Coarse)
  • Grinding Method (Burr, Chop, Pound, Roller Grind)
  • Roast (Cinnamon – Spanish)
  • Species (Arabica vs. Robusta)
  • Bean Source and Freshness
  • Water Quality (Hardness, Purification Method, etc)
  • Method (Drip, Pressurized Percolation, Boiling, Steeping)
  • Pressure (Drip – Espresso)
  • Brew Temperature (Ice Cold – Boiling)
  • Water to Grind ratio
  • Equipment quality, cleanliness
  • Brewing Duration
  • Agitation During Brewing
  • Repetition (Brew, Filter, Replace Coffee, Repeat)
  • Filtering
  • Dilution
  • Preparation (Milk, Sugar, etc)

I’ve been changing one or two with each batch and recording the results. Some of these factors, especially Roast, Species, and Grind will make a big, noticeable change to your cup of coffee with any of the traditional hot brewing methods. What I’ve found with cold brewing is that almost none of them matter! I can’t tell the difference between the cheapest store brand crap and single-estate Kona once it’s been cold brewed. Duration is one of the few exceptions – if your goal is to brew coffee without extracting the bitter flavor I don’t recommend going past 12 hours.

Next I’ll be looking at Repetition, inspired by Black Blood of the Earth.

A Cold Brew

My first experiment with cold brewing coffee is complete.  And by complete I mean I drank the whole thing immediately. My research led me to believe this giant Mason jar was going to last several days. Don’t believe everything you read online.

I used Eight O’Clock Coffee. I buy two kinds of coffee – locally roasted, fair-trade, certified-organic, shade-grown co-op beans, and whatever crap is on sale at Food Lion. When I decided to try cold brewing I had Eight O’Clock on hand.

The method is simple – put 1 cup of ground coffee and 2 cups of water in a jar, wait, filter, cut with water, drink.

I used a coarse grind because I read online that would give the best results. I also read you should use the absolute finest grind possible. And that the grind really doesn’t matter much.

This is COLD brewing – so I did it COLD. A lot of blogs say to set it on the counter over-night, and then to refrigerate the finished product. I did the whole thing in the fridge.

I also read that agitation isn’t a big factor – this is a set-it-and-forget-it type thing. I couldn’t forget it. I checked on it about 30 times. Every time I opened the refrigerator I turned the bottle upside-down or swirled it around. I really wanted to be a part of the process.

After about 30 hours I ran it through the French press, which got maybe 95% of the grinds out. Then I ran it through one of those gold coffee filter baskets, then through paper coffee filters twice.

The first thing I did was smell it. There’s clearly something different here. Fresh brewed coffee smells good. Freshly ground coffee beans smell AMAZING. This smells like the burr grinder. I’m excited.

Now for the real test. This is Eight O’Clock Coffee? There’s no bite. No bitter edge. And I swear I taste chocolate. This. Changes. Everything.

Jar #2 is in the refrigerator now. I changed one thing – instead of water I used crushed ice.

Fact or Fiction?

Here are three headlines. Which story is fake?

Italian court convicts 6 seismologists of manslaughter for failing to predict earthquake

Indiana town stops safe-sex education in nursing home citing abstinence-only education policy

Parents in southern California suing school system to stop yoga classes

Click here and here to see the real stories. The other one is an episode of Parks and Rec.

Phones – Now Smart!

Before there were smartphones and before there were feature phones there were just phones. They were simple, and they worked. There were flip phones, which had a certain appeal, and there were candy-bars, which I preferred.

To call my wife I would mash the 2 key for a second to activate the speed dial. (1 was reserved and not available for speed dials.) A few seconds later the phone started ringing.

Now to call my wife I simply:

  • Hit the Home button
  • Slide to Unlock (patented!)
  • Punch in a code
  • Press Home again
  • Press Phone
  • Press Favorites
  • Select Chrissy

Smart!