Saturday, June 14, 2014

House BlAnd - Cold Brew Test 2

Get it? House BlAnd, instead of House BlEnd?

Yes, my second cold brew test consisted of a medium roast, house-blend coffee. Same guidelines were followed for creating the cold and hot brew coffees.

Generally speaking, I'm a dark roast lover. I tend not to like acidic, fruity, bright notes in coffee. BUT, this test was a surprise. Expecting to love the medium roast cold brew lacking the acidic side turned out to be disappointing. Instead, the coffee went flat. The best way to explain it is in the hot brew, the flavor was multidimensional. It had a voluminous body with curves, and crevices to explore on the tongue.

Cold brew on the other hand was lack luster. The cold brew was two-dimensional. The acidity didn't get pull out of the beans, which left a straight, simple, tired flavor. Won't do it again with this house-blend.

The unexpected results have left me with no option except to keep testing! If you are doing tests of your own, I want to here about it! Want to test, but need some direction? Check out the link for cold brew at the top of the post, and check this link out for info on cupping. (No, I'm not cupping for these very serious tests, but the characteristics are a good guide when testing!)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cold Brew vs. Hot Brew: Test 1

I used an espresso roast for the first official brew-off. Yes, brew-off is an official term, I'm sure of it. 

As guided by many self-proclaimed know-it-all sites on how to make cold-brew coffee, I course ground the espresso roast, dumped it into a ball jar and filled it with cold water. Then I left it on the counter to do its thing for the next 24 hours. That's correct. I did not put it in the fridge, as all the real sites directed me to leave it at room temperature whilst the magic happened. But, I did make sure to place it on the counter away from anything that gets hot. Occasionally I would do a little flip-to-do to the jar to stir it up, but nothing aggressive, nor with any methodical precision. This is my experiment, after all, and I have some guidelines. 

After 24 hours of excruciating wait time (I actually completely forgot about it because it was so beautiful outside) I plunged the cold concoction in a French press to make sure there were no floating grounds about. Yes, most of the grounds sink to the bottom, but I didn't want chunks swaying the judges!

The normal French press used water at ~200 degrees, and I let the water sit in the grounds for 4-5 minutes before plunging. 

Ok. Drum roll please! ... ... ... 

Yes, they did taste different. The cold brew was nuttier, hints of chocolate notes shone like never before, and it was smooth. 

The hot brew's acidity drowned out the rich notes tasted in the cold brew. 

So, there you have it. Cold brew won. BUT, the experiment is not over. Because like any good scientist (clearly I am), there needs to be many trials, more tasters and different roasts. You may be surprised with tomorrow's results! 

Happy drinking everyone!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cold vs. Hot Brewed Coffee

What's the big D?

Cold press coffee is becoming the next trendy thing, at least in the Burlington area, where college students are impressionable, hipsters constantly need to be trendy, women wearing tights and yoga pants need to pay too much for anything, and well...I suppose many of us don't know what's really going on out there!

When a three friends in the same week asked if I had heard about, and tried cold pressed coffee, I knew the trend was hear in full force. And I needed to see what the big deal was. In my world, this doesn't mean going to every coffee shop and polling whether or not cold press in on their menu. It means doing some web searching and heading to my kitchen. 

This week I'm conducting taste test comparisons between cold and hot brewed coffee. I use the same coffee beans, same proportions, let the cold press brew on my counter for 18-24 hours. Stay tuned to find out my results. Cause really, what's the big D?