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Cold brew coffee

Coffee: cold-brew is the hot new thing

Keeping pace with coffee trends can be an exhausting business. The latest excitement in the UK, and elsewhere, is all about cold-brew, a centuries-old brew method that offers coffee geeks fresh nuances in flavour. And it is one that can easily be tried at home.

Not to be confused with iced-coffee (in which hot or chilled espresso-based coffees are served over ice, often with milk and syrup), cold-brew is what it is.

Coffee grounds are steeped in room-temperature water for up to 24-hours to produce a concentrated coffee essence which is then diluted with water, usually by 50%, and served chilled.

Why has it become a “new” hit among baristas and connoisseurs, asks an article in The Guardian? Because cold-brew produces a sweeter, less acidic drink which delivers a satisfying coffee flavour but in a new, refreshing format.

Wayne Lew, co-owner of Manchester’s North Tea Power, which has recently been selling 200 bottles of cold-brew each week (at £3.50 each), says it is difficult to pinpoint quite why it has taken off this UK summer. He has been producing it, at a low-level, for four years, but, this year, interest has rocketed.

It is just one manifestation, suggests Lew, of Britain’s rapidly expanding interest in coffee: “Perhaps, once people have learned about one brew method they become interested in others…”

For coffee geeks and baristas, cold-brew is primarily fascinating because of the nuances in flavour it can highlight.

“Because the brew method doesn’t use heat, it doesn’t extract bitter, acidic compounds, so it’s juicy and sweet,” says Lew. “We’re not saying it’s the best method, but it’s interesting to play around with. For instance, if we use natural African coffees we can pull out really chocolatey, nutty flavours”.

If all this is hot news in the UK, it’s something the Japanese have known for centuries. Cold-brew, also known as Kyoto coffee, has been popular in Japan since the 1600s. It was reputedly introduced to Japan by Dutch traders from Indonesia, who possibly developed it as a way of producing large quantities of portable coffee, which they would later reheat or serve cold.

Not everyone is convinced, of course. There are those who think drinking cold coffee is nonsense, but, by the sounds of it, this is only the beginning of the cold-brew variations. North Tea Power is thinking about mixing it with almond or coconut milk and plan to nitro-keg it, like beer: “So you can get a Guinness like head on it. You could also make ice-cream and ice lollies out of it.”…..

The Guardian: Read the full article