“Can you heat up cold brew coffee?”
Does it sound like a stupid question? Surely cold brew coffee is supposed to be enjoyed cold?
If you’re a true fan of cold brew then you’ll likely understand how different this coffee tastes compared to iced coffee or hot brewed coffee. Cold brew is a unique type of coffee that does a lot more than just cool you down. The subtle flavors and low acidity found in this type of coffee attract many coffee lovers to swear by it.
If you’re fed up with bitter, over-extracted drip coffee then you may want to consider brewing coffee in cold water before heating it up. Cold brew coffee is a gentle, slow extraction process that can be heated up when it’s finished brewing to give a sweet and full-flavored cup of joe that’s gentle on your stomach.
There are loads of good reasons to switch to cold brew but before we dive right into these let’s first look at what is cold brew coffee so we can really understand this brew method.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
The very essence of cold brewed coffee comes down to the brew method used. Instead of using hot water, cold brew is freshly ground coffee beans brewed in cold water for a long period of time. This method gives a slow extraction of the coffee flavors and results in a sweet coffee taste.
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee
This dilemma comes up a lot where cold brew and iced coffee are both sold on the menu at a coffee shop. Although they sound like the same drink they are made in a very different manner. Where cold or room temperature water is used to make cold brew, iced coffee is actually brewed hot before it’s cooled and enjoyed over ice.
Why Choose Cold Brew?
You may be wondering at this stage, why choose cold brew over any other brewing method?
There are some clear advantages to choosing a cold brew over a hot coffee. The first is the taste. Cold-brew has a delicate and sweet flavor profile as the subtle coffee tastes are preserved with this brew method. The next point is that cold brewing makes coffee that is low in acidity, so ideal for sensitive stomachs.
Cold-brew doesn’t require you to have any specialist equipment or a heat source to make your coffee as all you need is coffee, a jar, and a method to strain away the coffee grounds when it has finished steeping.
If you don’t mind waiting a few hours for the initial batch of cold brew to be ready you can store the leftovers in the fridge and then you can have a cup of cold brew ready to go, instantly until it runs out!
How To Make It?
Cold-brew is easy to make. To start with, you need coarsely ground beans or whole beans and a coffee grinder. Next, you need some water and a jar to mix these together. I’d recommend using coffee to water at a ratio of around 1:7 but you can up the coffee to a 1:4 ratio if you want very strong cold brew concentrate.
The type of coffee you choose is down to your personal tastes. I love using a dark roast as these coffee beans are lower in acid and the rich, single note flavors really shine through when you brew this coffee cold. However, if you prefer a delicate, lighter roast then you can use these beans instead.
You can add the coffee directly to the water or add them in a metal diffuser, cheesecloth, or coffee bag. Cold brew coffee makers often have a strainer built-in which makes it easy to remove the grounds after. Another great option is you can use a french press as both the container and the mesh filter will strain away the coffee.
It’s best to use a sealed jar if possible as this helps keep the coffee fresh. You can brew the coffee in the fridge or simply at room temperature. Leave the coffee to brew for at least 8 hours but ideally 12-18 hours. Any less than 8 hours and the full flavors won’t diffuse and any more than 24 hours can lead to a bitter, over-extracted cup of coffee.
When the coffee is ready, strain away the grounds and this leaves you with cold brew coffee concentrate. This is a concentrated form of coffee that can be topped up with water, served over ice as is or you can add milk to give a latte-like drink.
How To Heat It Up
In the winter months, ice cubes can be the last thing you want to reach for. When a hot cup of coffee is all you’re craving you don’t have to resort to regular coffee. If you love the full flavors of this brewing method, then you may want to consider trying a hot cold brew.
You can heat up cold brew coffee in a number of ways as long as you’re careful not to burn it. Never boil cold brew, but you can heat it over a low heat on the stovetop until it’s around 200F (93C). You can top it up with almost boiling water like you would an espresso to give an americano type drink. Cold-brew can also be heated in the microwave to give the desired temperature.
Another method that some people use is to warm the coffee gently before topping it up with steamed milk to give specialty coffee drinks like a latte or cappuccino.
I wouldn’t recommend heating the whole batch of cold brew in one go as reheating the coffee repeatedly can affect the taste over time. Heat up just enough for your coffee recipe and store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Cold brew coffee is a unique and rewarding way to brew coffee. It’s really easy to do and doesn’t require much equipment at all. The coffee flavors are beautifully balanced and you end up enjoying coffee like you never have before. The good news is, you don’t have to limit cold brew to the summer months as it can be gently heated once brewed on the stovetop or in a microwave.
I love cold brew coffee and I’m certain you will too. Give this method a go and let me know what you think in the comments below. Happy brewing!