The Basics of Cold Drip Coffee
Cold drip coffee is considered to be coffee preparation’s finest. However, before you start your research, you might want to familiarize yourself with the necessary basics. Below you will find more information about cold drip coffee basics as well as related topics and definitions:
- Definition and Terminology
- Types of Coffee: The Coffee Plant, Coffee Processing, Roasting, Countries of Origin
- Caffeine Content
- Grinding Degree
Definition and Terminology
When it comes to defining the basics for cold drip coffee, the first question that arises is: What defines great coffee in general? Or more specifically: What defines great cold drip coffee? The answer is that you need several components and steps to make delicious coffee:
- roasted coffee beans
- grinding the coffee beans (grinding degree)
- know-how, finesse, and the proper equipment
Even before you start brewing coffee in your kitchen, there are several steps required to get there. For example, deciding which type of coffee you use, how it has been processed or roasted. Just to mention the most important factors. Furthermore, there are the elements of preparing the coffee such as grinding the coffee beans or the brewing method that, ultimately, unite coffee beans and water.
Besides, one of the all time most important questions concerning coffee is the amount of caffeine contained in a cup of coffee. This is why we have included this topic in our quest for coffee basics. You can find further information and details regarding each of those topics in our cold drip coffee wiki.
Types of Coffee
Choosing the right type of coffee is probably the most important decision when you make coffee. Basically, there are comparatively few types of coffee. These include, among others, the two most popular types: Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee. Those are not only the most common kinds of coffee but also the heavily traded ones. Most of the coffee on the world market derives from them. Nonetheless, there is a myriad of different taste profiles in coffee. This is a result of the different treatments of the coffee beans – harvest, processing, roasting.
Due to their different flavors and other qualities, some types of coffee are better suited for preparing specific coffee specialties than others. As a result, different kind of coffee beans are being processed specifically according to their intended use. Mainly because of the diversity in coffee, some types of coffee beans are better for the preparation of cold brew or cold drip coffee. Here you can find out which ones are best for this purpose.
The Coffee Plant
Coffee plants belong to the botanical family of Rubiaceae. They either grow as shrubs or trees and reach heights of between four and ten metres, depending on the type of plant. As a rule, the fruits of the coffee plant are berry-like and called coffee cherries. Incidentally, the name derives from the fact that ripe coffee fruits change to a bright red color – as do their namesakes. In general, coffee cherries consist of layers of skin, pulp, and a mucilage layer with the coffee beans in the center.
Usually the coffee harvest takes place several times a year. The reason for this is that coffee cherries on the same coffee shrub mature in different stages. Coffee cherries mostly contain two coffee beans. However, sometimes they only contain one bean, the so-called “peaberry” This particular coffee bean is larger and is, therefore, being sold as a premium bean.
Once the harvest is finished, it is time to process the coffee beans. Processing is a term that refers to the transition from the whole coffee cherry to a raw coffee bean. Generally, this includes removing all the layers of the coffee cherry until all that remains is the coffee beans.
There are various ways of processing coffee, however, differing from region to region. The two primary processing methods are wet and dry coffee processing. Incidentally, the type of preparation has a strong influence on the taste of the final coffee product. Accordingly, hundreds of different types of coffee are derived from only two coffee types – Arabica and Robusta – through a different kind of processing.
Raw coffee is usually stored for some time between processing and export. Subsequently, it is packed in air-permeable bags and shipped to the respective importing nations.
Before being roasted, raw coffee has a greenish colour and a grassy taste to it. Therefore, green coffee beans do not smell like coffee at all. It is only the roasting that sets off a chemical process in which between 800 and 1000 different aromas are released within the coffee. Those flavors are responsible for the typical smell and taste of coffee as we know it. Depending on each roasting profile, it is possible to create different aromas and, thus, to determine the taste of each single type of coffee.
So roasting turns green coffee beans into brown coffee beans. However, there are different roasting processes involved that determine the taste. What’s more, there are three stages to roasting: the drying stage, the browning stage, and the developing or roasting stage. In addition, roasting degree and roasting time are two of the most important factors in coffee roasting.
Countries of Origin
Coffee plants prosper in the tropical regions near the equator. Thus, all of the ideal areas for growing coffee are located between the northern and southern tropics. Some of the most important coffee regions are parts of Southeast Asia, Africa as well as Central and South America.
Caffeine in Coffee
Caffeine makes you fit, awake, and stimulates your body. Aside from coffee, it is also found in several other drinks and foods such as tea, energy drinks and such. Each of those contains a different amount of caffeine and, accordingly, a different effect on the human body. The caffeine content even varies between different types of coffee: cold drip coffee, for example, is a coffee concentrate. Therefore, it has more caffeine than filter coffee or a latte macchiato with extra milk.
Medicine has discovered this nitrogen compound for its own purposes: while caffeine is toxic in large quantities, it has great benefits for sick people. This is why medical professionals apply it to their patients in a controlled manner.
Just like the processing or roasting of coffee, grinding is extremely important for the preparation of any kind of coffee. The way you grind your coffee not only influences its taste. It also strongly differs depending on what kind of coffee specialty you plan on preparing. Therefore, the grinding degree will vary strongly from one purpose to another. Therefore, grinding is an essential element to be considered by every true coffee fan.
First of all, the degree in which you grind your coffee beans determines how many flavors you will be able to extract from the coffee during the brewing process. As a matter of fact, not all of the 800 to 1000 aromas can simultaneously be extracted from each coffee bean. And that is a good thing considering that not all aromas are desirable.
Grinding degrees usually range from 1 (very fine) to 10 (very coarse). However, the gradation depends on the respective coffee grinder. There are different grind settings. Each of these grinds is suitable for preparing a different type of coffee: whether espresso, filter coffee or cold drip coffee – it all depends on the degree of grinding.
Coffee consists of exactly two basic components: coffee beans and water. Nevertheless, people rarely talk about the water they use for brewing their coffee. And yet, there are so many different ways of preparing coffee that depend solely on the particular application of water. You will notice this in particular when dealing with cold drip coffee.
In addition to water temperature, water hardness (PH value) is particularly important for the preparation of your coffee. Both factors influence the release of aromas and, thus, the way your final beverage tastes.