Cold Brew - What is it? and my top four recommendations

COLD BREW

Coffee on its own has come along way over the past ten or 15 years and so too has cold brew. Right in the heart of summer (and yes, London is actually having a summer this year) Cold brew is not only coffee-of-the-moment, but it might actually be here to stay. Here’s why: it’s refreshing, portable and delicious (providing it’s made well)!

I remember about 8 years ago when I was working at Flatwhite (one of London’s original artisan cafés in Soho who paved the way for the industry) bought a delicate Hario slow dripper. It was placed on a high shelf that no one could reach nor did anyone dare to touch it for fear of breaking such a beautiful but “complicated” piece of equipment.  There was zero room to move in the cafe as it was. But the cold brew wasn’t very popular and it was never really encouraged either, because no one knew anything about cold brew.

Fast forward to now, and there are so many cold brews available. Take it to the gym or to a picnic, or mix it in a cocktail... Some cafes make their own very tasty cold brew and sell it at their individual shops and some have expanded it on a larger scale as a new line of product offering. I'm going to tell you which ones of these are consistently good. 

DSC_2303.JPG

If you are to know anything about cold brew, you must know that it actually takes quite some time to prepare.  Brewing coffee in cold or room-temperature water gives a different quality to the flavour because it is less soluble than brewing in hot water. So by increasing the time at which you are “extracting” or “brewing”, you can maximise the solubility of the coffee grounds.

When you extract coffee using hot water, it oxidises and degrades much more and faster. So when using a cold brew method, which is slow, you’ll often find that acidity and bitterness is also very low.

There are two main methods people usually use. One is the “Toddy” System, where coffee is steeped in water for a long period of time. But if left too long, it reminds me of leaving a teabag in the water for ages and sometimes you can get that dry, tannin taste in your mouth. But as long as it’s filtered well it can be really delicious.  Sandows London Cold Brew has an excellent, effective (but secret) filtration system. There’s an art to that too! (An interview with them at the top of this page or via thegirlinthecafe.co.uk). Sandows London has just released a canned nitro cold brew which is debuting today at Netil Market so get out, work up a sweat and go check it out! 

For enquires about this bespoke copper dripper, direct message me and I will pass on contact details & approximate price.

For enquires about this bespoke copper dripper, direct message me and I will pass on contact details & approximate price.

In my experience of making it professionally for over 4 years in cafes, slow drip coffee tastes really delicate with many filtering processes and you can have quite a bit of control over the strength through dose and brew time. I had a beautiful bespoke cold drip coffee maker made for me, which I love, however generally slow drip cold brew is time consuming and the problem is that you don’t get a high enough yield to make it scalable, unless you have multiple devices going at the same time (like San Francisco’s Bluebottle Cafes).

For variety here are FOUR interesting and reliable cold brews you can buy ready-made I would recommend;

 

 

SANDOWS COLD BREW

Sandows were the first in the UK to really get cold brew on the map. When cafes were starting to produce cold brew in small amounts, Sandows was the first to really scale it up – with the help of an unprecedented large crowd-funded backing. Their bottle, branding and ethos is sleek and their product is always high quality and consistently tasty. Not only available in indie cafes, but also now at M&S – Making high-quality, fresh cold brew truly accessible. It's great in a G&T too...

Sandows also have a nitro version in selected cafés around London (Grind cafes) where Nitrogen is pumped into the cold brew replacing oxygen making it look more like a Guinness beer, than a glass of coffee. This has probably been the most innovative and dynamic addition to the cold brew and coffee market so far!

Around £3 per 200ml bottle (they also do a cool give box with two bottles which ships worldwide now). www.sandows.com

 

HER CONCENTRATED COLD BREW

For something stronger I’ve been drinking HER Concentrated cold brew. The ratio is 1 part coffee to 2 parts water, which can be hot or cold. This is novel and probably for the ultra efficient (read lazy), people on-the-go, or even offices and I love it. I’ve been using it in my baking, trying it with Ugly drinks (naturally flavoured sparkling water), or over ice or over ice cream - my favourite! It’s a perfect little surprise for after dinner desert or a hot day treat. For an affogato you need a very concentrated brew for it to mimic that of an espresso, and this works well. Plus I really like the dark, medicinal look of the glass bottle – if you like your fridge to look like an Aesop counter, this is for you. Another little trick I like to do is freeze them in cubes and add them to my Negroni... bring on summer! They're available from HER Haggerston and now Selfridges! 

120ml (makes approx. 2 coffees) £4.50
480ml (makes approx. 8 coffees) £12.00

her-haggerston.com

 

MINOR FIGURES

For a longer lasting shelf life cold-brew by Minor Figures is great. It means you can always have a couple in the fridge like I do for spontaneous picnic days, or one to grab and stash it in your gym bag. They’re presented in a Tetra Pak not glass, so they’re compact and light. I love the colours in their packaging. There’s a good selection of flavours that aren’t only black. They have just released their own canned cold brew nitro that is very good and for non-coffee drinkers new organic masala chai sounds OH YEAH...! "Don't make coffee"... Let them do it! 

Available from many specialty coffee shops and health food shops like Planet Organic.

250ml around £2.50

dontmakecoffee.com

 

BOLD-BREW COLD BREW

Bold-brew cold brew is made from green beans that have been aged in a bourbon barrel. Taking on the subtle flavours of the barrel-aged cask, the beans are then roasted specifically by The Roastery Department, to be made into cold brew. It’s really quite incredible and lives up to it's BOLD name. The smell and the taste is intoxicating, but rest assured, its non-alcoholic! This should be a regular Friday morning treat to get the office teams going!

Stay tuned for their new coffee liqueur coming out soon called Hundred Fifty Lbs - I'll report back here soon soon! 

Available exclusively at the Department of Coffee & Social Affairs cafés around London and the UK.

£12.50 750ml Glass Bottles.

 

 

 

Originally posted by CELESTE WONG for Lovecoffee.com

Espresso Tips (and a video on How to make a good Flat White)

Watch Video Below (and Subscribe)

What IS a flatwhite? 

Flatwhites are made with a double espresso in a 5-5.5oz cup with heated textured milk. The origin is debatable whether it's from NZ or Australia... but since Australia claims most good things and I'm a kiwi, can we side with my country this time on this gem please?!  

The milk should be smooth, creamy and have s velvety texture. The milk should be thinner than a latte and "flatter" in head volume.

A flatwhite should be a short, strong tasting coffee with milk. Thats why its so good! 

Espresso TIPS

  • Use good quality specialty coffee beans – often found at a good independent café (or you can order some from my online shop here)
  • Your grind should be fine, more like fine sand than a powder (Turkish)
  • Your coffee should look dark, thick in consistency and trail down like a mousetail (thick at the top and taper down).
  • Espresso should extract at an even speed – not too fast, not too slow
  • When your espresso starts to look thinner and more watery, “blonde” (a lighter browny/yellow) or starts to “pulse”, wait a second or two and switch the water flow off.

You want your espresso to have a balanced taste and flavour. 

Recipe guide

  • 18-20g Ground Coffee in (I use these scales)
  • 30g liquid coffee out
  • 25-30seconds

Like all recipes this is a guide only. The biggest problem when your espresso isn't extracting well, is the grind size. Especially at home, many people don't realise their grind is still far too coarse. I would suggest grinding your coffee finer than you would normally think to, if not just to see what happens. Invest in a good espresso grinder (quite different to a filter grinder). 

If your grind is very fine, and is running very slow, then you have two options:

  1. Lower your dose (don't put so much in the porterfilter)
  2. Or slightly coarsen your grind

Do the opposite of this if your espresso is running too quickly.  Only do one of these two options at a time so you can see what difference it makes. 

Milk TIPs:

My next blog...

Cafflano Klassic Review | How to use it

It's easier if I SHOW you... so check out my video for all its features and how to use it:  HERE  

If you want to try it out, Cafflano have given me a code for FREE POSTAGE when you order online, just enter TGITCbrews at checkout, until end of May!  www.cafflano.co.uk/cafflano-klassic/


Recently I went home to NZ for a month and I originally packed my Hario mini-mill hand grinder and Aeropress - but at the last minute I took them out and got a Cafflano Klassic, which is an ALL IN ONE pourover filter maker!

It is a grinder, filter, pourer and cup in ONE piece of equipment that neatly screws together so you don't have to take multiple pieces of equipment or filter papers with you. 

The grinder is easily adjustable and made from ceramic conical burrs with gives a more consistent grind and doesn't blunt as easily. You can adjust your grinder to suit other brewing methods - like If you're away from home and there happens to be a cafetiere at the Air BnB or place you're staying in! 

I wouldn't use it as a regular grinder for everyday home use, because it's a little large for my wee hands to use all the time. But for a few days or while I'm away from my regular set up, this is a total luxury!

It's great for travelling, especially if you might not be near good cafes or coffee. You can take it camping or on cycling tours or even bring it on the plane so you don't have to have horrible aeroplane coffee! (Cafflano only weighs about 470g) I even used it on the beach! 

If you're away for a short trip, and you already have coffee beans at home, you can take them with you and even store them in the bottom compartment of the Cafflano (there's space!).

I'm taking it away with me to Lake Como this weekend incase I can't find any good coffee - which means I'll be saving my money on buying crappy coffee and its guaranteed my morning cuppa is gonna be decent. 

If you want to try it out, Cafflano have given me a code for FREE postage(!) when you order online, just enter TGITCbrews at checkout (until end of May)   www.cafflano.co.uk/cafflano-klassic/

The Cafflano Klassic includes:

  • 270ml drip pouring kettle
  • Ceramic conical burr grinder
  • Etched stainless steel filter dripper
  • Dual-wall insulated cup

HOT TIP:

Take a scoop away with you and store it in the bottom of the Cafflano - that way your dose in and out will be pretty accurate & no need for scales!

Here are some LINKS below to products I've mentioned, if you want to check them out:

Hario Buono Temperature controlled Kettle

VIDEO REVIEW


25% OFF HARIO Products: 

Use this code LCF2017 at checkout. 

Only Until Midnight April 12th

Water temperature is very important when brewing coffee because it affects how your coffee dissolves and ultimately the tastes. If your water is too hot or too cold it can cause your coffee to taste bitter, sour or flat.

I’ve been using the Hario buono kettle for a few years now, and I love it, so when I heard they were coming out with a temperature controlled kettle I was super excited. It’s something I’ve wanted for quite some time.

After testing and using this new Hario Buono Electric Kettle for a couple of months now, I wouldn’t really want to use anything else. It has made my brewing routine so much more convenient and accurate because it saves me waiting for my boiled water to cool down, or using a hob or kitchen kettle to transfer my heated water into a regular gooseneck kettle. The electric buono temperature controlled kettle requires almost no monitoring or double handling and you don’t need to use a thermometer spike anymore!

It essentially has three steps, so it’s really simple to use:

  1. Press "power on" button
  2. Use “up” and “down” arrows to set desired temperature
  3. Press “Keep-Warm” button

The discrete digital screen is really clear showing the temperature, alternating between the current temperature and the desired temperature it is set to (see video vlog review above).

Even though your can set your desired temperature, I generally boil my water first. So my routine for using this electric kettle has one more added step than you might choose. My mother was born in poverty stricken China where water was fetched from dirty water wells, so when she came to New Zealand as a teenager (where I was born) she was very particular about water and the impurities that might be in it. Even though the waters in NZ are some of the clearest and cleanest in the world, there were still problems like giardia in some parts, and even if it’s treated so that it’s safe to drink, you can still taste the chemicals used to clean it.

It was very important growing up to bring any water to be drunk to the boil… I think I inherited this “habit”…So to keep my conscience clear (and my mother happy), I do, boil that water first. But you don’t have to!

Luckily, the time that it takes for the water to boil, also gives you time to prepare by weighing out and grinding your coffee. Then using fresh off the boil water, I rinse my filter paper and set the kettle to my desired temperature by pressing the “keep warm” button. Water will have cooled down by then and the kettle will regulate the water automatically.

The kettle will “beep” a few times to let you know it has reached the desired set temperature.

Pressing the “up” arrow will automatically take you to 93 degrees. When you get to 96 degrees (maximum setting) and press “up” button again, it will take you back to 60 degrees. Likewise if you were at 60 degrees and pressed “down” you’d be back at 96 degrees. This is great because it cuts out button-pushing time but also allows you to set your water to a lower temperature if you use the kettle for teas too (60-96 degree range).

I think this kettle is a perfect volume too (0.8L).  It is enough to rinse your filter paper and then do a 2 cup pour-over, with out refilling, while still feeling light enough to lift  and operate, which aids with pouring.

Other kettles are often clunky or heavy to handle. I have tried other electric gooseneck kettles and regular kettles with a gooseneck spout and while they are all quite sufficient, there is something really unique about the design of the Hario Kettle spout. Maybe it’s the angle or the diameter of the Hario spout, which gives you more control, precision and safety.  I also find the handle really comfortable and allows my small hands to have a firm grip! The Japanese really do prove why their reputation for efficient form and function is so good.

I have seen an older version of this electric kettle, which had a flick switch instead of buttons and was apparently still good, but not temperature controlled. It took water to the boil only. I think this newer model is definitely superior as the old model seemed to have a light on one side that told you when it was boiled but if you were left handed you couldn’t have the kettle facing the other way around.

Because this newer model is 360 degrees rotatable, and all the settings are on the base which can always face outwards, it doesn’t matter which hand you are more comfortable using.

Another thing that’s handy is if you leave your kettle on afterwards, it will turn itself off if unused for a period of time. Likewise, if you turn it on to boil and there’s no water in it, it will turn itself off too! So it’s super safe.

The base is light, minimal and space efficient so it takes up little room on your bench or café counter.  The cord can be wound underneath the base to shorten so you don’t have long wires sprawled on the bench, or alternatively if you need to pack it away to transport.

I like to try keep factors the same (ie: dose, grind, temperature) and only change one thing at a time to see what makes a difference to my brew. It not only looks slick but on a practical sense it means I have more control over my brew recipe and method. All in all I’m super happy with my Buono Kettle, and I would definitely recommend it for home and café use.

Here’s a link if you want to check it out further. Here 

Ps: If you have the original Buono kettle, don't worry, I checked out Hario's site, and they seperately sell a lid with a temperature controlled spike built into it. But if you're like me, I'd opt for both - one for home and one for travel or camping! 

 

TGITC V60 Simple Brew Recipe:

  • 18g coffee
  • 250ml hot water (94 degrees)
  • 3 minutes

Rinse your filter paper. Then grind coffee into the cone and slowly pour hot water in a circular motion into the coffee. The coffee will bloom, and when it starts to drop, keep topping it up with water until 250mls of water has passed through. It should take approximately 3 minutes to complete. 

Relax & Enjoy...

Also check out the TGITC online store for lots of great coffee products here. 

 

“North East by Southwest”

AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 WEEKS

Here's what happened...

For eight weeks I curated a host of world coffees at Stone & Crow. I started in London with Alchemy Coffee Roasters (which was available throughout the duration) then I featured:


Week 1: Nomad Coffee (Barcelona)

Week 2: Five Elephants (Berlin)

Week 3: Coffee Supreme Melbourne (Australia)

Week 4: Coutume Coffee Roasters (Paris)

Week 5: DoubleShot (Prague) 

Week 6: Reunion Island (Toronto)

Week 7: Rich Coffee Roasters (New Zealand)

then finished with my last weekend in London using a few of my favourite London roasters…

What an incredible 8 weeks I had at Stone & Crow.

Leytonstone has been my home for the past couple of months and an amazing place to hold my pop up café. The local community have been incredibly supportive. I really enjoyed meeting so many locals and others from around London, making you coffee and discussing all sorts of coffee and non-coffee related stuff with you!

I really hope over the past few weeks I was able to introduce some new ideas as well as provide access to some top-grade coffees that London has never had before. There were so many interesting coffees, I was blown away with everyone that I had and worked with.

Look out for these roasters, as they are all developing and doing some really interesting work in the coffee world and remember coffee makes a great xmas prezzy! 

In my last weekend I finished off Around the world in 8 weeks in “LONDON”.

As I love film, my concept for the last weekend paid homage to Leytonstone’s most famous resident, Alfred Hitchcock. It also gave me an excuse to have some of my favourite London roasters in the hopper.

I called the London-Weekend “North East by Southwest” after Alfred Hitchcock’s famous film “North by Northwest”.

North: Vagabond Coffee

East: Squaremile Coffee

Southwest: Alchemy Coffee

 

NORTH LONDON: Vagabond

Having three locations (N7, N5, E1) I got my coffee from their Holloway Rd (N7) café/roastery. It was a nice place to visit with the roaster out the back of the café where you can dine in whilst watching them roast. As an espresso I used “Balzac’s cup” which was a blend of Brazilian and Columbian coffee. Having not worked with their coffee before, I really enjoyed using it. It made for a juicy and smooth cup, which was easy to drink with milk and lovely as an espresso.  I was especially impressed by their Ethiopian Guji that I ran as a batch brew. It was so good - sweet, super clean and tasty. People really enjoyed it.

East London: Squaremile

Most of you will know Squaremile to be one of the best roasters in London and for good reason. But rather than get their house blend “Red Brick”, I asked them to get me what ever they thought was their “best”, so they sent me their Kenyan Espresso Kangunu AA (the AA refers to bean size which is bigger than other beans). Kenyan AA is typically very good so it was a bit special to have. I came in early and had a play around with different doses and grinds and got it where I thought it should be - it tasted great! It’s quite different using a Kenyan as a single origin espresso. I often enjoy blends because you can use the different origins to bring out certain profiles in an espresso, but this was really interesting to drink and probably a little different from what most other places are using in cafes around London. It tasted of deep red fruits but was quite light and bright at the same time. A very tasty number!

SouthWest London: Alchemy Coffee

Alchemy coffee is one of my favourite roasters in London. They first caught my attention a few years ago with their Guatemalan range – they source some of the best guats I’ve tasted. So of course I used a Guatemalan single origin of theirs from San Sebastian.  It didn't disappoint. It was beautiful, and again quite bright but with caramel undertones that gave it a nice finish with milk. Incidentally, I had Alchemy coffee on throughout the duration of my pop up as filter coffee as well as the other coffees I was using from around the world. I was particularly fond of their costa rican brewed in various ways; batch brew, V60, Chemex and aeropress. Their El Salvador is good too.  Alchemy coffee roasters are super easy and accommodating to work with.  I really enjoyed using their coffee at my pop up regularly and I find their coffee consistently reliable. We have a good laugh and they seem to put up with my regular questions and general cheekiness.

I can honestly highly recommend all of the roasters I used during this time, so if you do happen to be in any of those countries or cities, do look for them as you’ll be able to reliably drink them. I know only too well how hard it can be when you’re travelling, need coffee but don’t know the good local coffee suppliers – so I hope this helps when you’re in Barcelona (Spain), Berlin (Germany), Melbourne (Australia), Paris (France), Prague(Czech Republic), Toronto (Canada), Wellington (New Zealand) and of course, for those who were only able to follow the journey via social media, London! (when you visit)

Karma Cola were dope too, as I had their deliciously fun sodas at my popup. They’re such a great company and do amazing work not only through their products but their philanthropic work too which is award-winning (See my earlier blog on them here). I really appreciate their support and encouragement for me and my work too. I love working with such great people and companies with great products. 

Without Julian from Stone & Crow it wouldn't have happened. It was wicked to work with him and I'm super grateful to him for welcoming me into his amazing space. Every week I would come in to find him running around like an excited animal with all the new (vintage) things he had acquired. There was always a story or a history to tell about each item. Julian has a great eye and cool taste. He has an amazing knowledge of vintage furniture and artwork which was awesome to be around and chat about. Super generous, I couldn't have done this without him. I had so much fun.

The biggest thanks goes to so many of you for popping in and to Leytonstone. It’s always great to see people come visit from around London and see friends and people in the coffee/hospitality industry, I really appreciate your time and the love. An absolute pleasure. It's the first time since my Soho days that I really felt such an amazing supportive community. I got real buzz from seeing you and I’m grateful for your support – in person and online. Thank you.

Stay tuned, for my webseries and more cool stuff coming soon. I know its been ages, but sometimes, good things take time.

Peace out xx

IMG_3804.JPG