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. 

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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: