Making Cold Drip Coffee
Coffee-making? That’s when you pour hot water over coffee powder, right? And you are, indeed, right – at least to some extent. However, there is a lot more to making coffee: roasting, grinding, brewing and filtering to be exact. And how all of this relates to making cold drip coffee you can read below.
- Definition and Terminology
- Coffee Roasting
- Making Cold Drip Coffee
- Shelf Life
Definition and Terminology
Coffee-making (also known as coffee preparation or the preparation of coffee) describes the process of transforming green coffee into a beverage. Depending on which coffee speciality you decide to make, the preparation method may vary. For example, the method of making an espresso or a Kalita Wave filter coffee is very different from, for example, making cold drip coffee.
Nevertheless, making any variety of coffee usually consists of these four steps:
- roasting the raw coffee
- grinding the coffee beans (including determining the grinding degree)
With most types of coffee preparation, it makes sense to brew your coffee immediately before drinking it. However, this is different when making cold drip coffee and other cold brew coffee specialties: here the brewing process takes a very long time, sometimes up to 24 hours. Accordingly, you should start making cold drip coffee in good time. However, the shelf life of cold drip is unusually long. So, the long preparation time pays off because you can enjoy your cold beverage for several days. This is what makes cold drip such a great summer drink!
In its natural form, raw coffee is not comestible. They only become palatable during the roasting process when the green coffee beans are being heated and roasted. The beans gradually take on color and, finally, look the way we expect roasted coffee beans to look: in many shades of brown. During this process, the beans increase in roasting aromas and get the delicious taste all coffee lovers appreciate. There are different degrees of coffee roasting ranging from light roasting to very dark roasting.
Though, depending on their degree of roasting, some coffee beans are better suited than others to prepare certain coffee specialties.
After roasting and before you can start pouring water over the coffee beans, you should grind them. During the grinding process you can choose between several grinding degrees: coffee powder can be ground variably from grinding degree 10 (very coarse) to 1 (very fine). Depending on the fineness of the ground coffee beans, there are also differences in what coffee specialty you can prepare with it. For example, coarsely ground coffee powder is best suited for making cold drip coffee. Very finely ground coffee, on the other hand, is ideal for making espresso.
Coffee beans can be ground in a few different ways. Industrial grinding, on the one hand, employs four different methods: grinding, chopping, crushing the coffee beans in a mortar or rolling. However, most coffee buffs prefer to grind their coffee themselves. Depending on the quantity of coffee, they either use electric or manual coffee grinders. The reason for this is that ground coffee loses its aroma faster than whole coffee beans. This is because the oxygen has direct access to a larger surface area and the taste, thus, fades away more quickly. As a result, many coffee lovers prefer to grind their beans directly before brewing a cup of coffee. That way their coffee contains a maximum of flavors.
The term brewing means that coffee powder comes and stays in contact with hot or cold water for a certain period of time. Contrary to popular opinion, brewing does not necessarily imply the use of hot water. In fact, for cold brew coffee beverages in general and making cold drip in particular you only use cold water and ice cubes.
Depending on the roast, grinding degree, and preparation method, the brewing time will vary. While it takes only a few seconds using high pressure to prepare an espresso, the preparation of cold drip and cold brew coffee will take several hours.
Finally, at the end of the preparation process, you separate the liquid coffee from the coffee grounds. This step is what we call filtering or filtration. Depending on each preparation method, you can either filter your coffee during or after brewing.
Accordingly, there are also different types of coffee filters. In addition to paper filters, you can also use porcelain, ceramic, copper, stainless-steel or plastic coffee filters. There are also special ways of filtering coffee. If, for example, you choose to brew coffee using the French Press-technique, you will press down the coffee grounds using a stamp with a strainer. In so doing, the coffee grounds collect at the bottom of the pot and separate from your coffee.
Making Cold Drip Coffee
Making cold drip coffee follows the same principles as coffee making in general. However, you should be aware that there are a number of particularities when preparing cold drip coffee. First of all, some types of coffee are better suited for making cold drip than others. For example, pure Arabica coffee beans with a mild taste profile are the perfect choice. Moreover, choosing the correct grinding degree is crucial when you prepare cold drip coffee. This way, you can prevent over-extraction as well as under-extraction. Also, you need specialized equipment for making cold drip coffee. Because even the cold drip brewing process is unique:
First, you pour ice-cold water into a glass container. Often you even add ice cubes, as the name “Dutch Iced Coffee” suggests. The icy water slowly drips through a valve into a container with freshly ground coffee powder. The mixture then passes through a filter. Thus, the constant drops of water flush out aroma and caffeine from the coffee. Finally, the cold drip coffee collects in a glass container underneath the filter. Making cold drip coffee is a process that takes about 8 to 24 hours from start to finish.
Making cold drip coffee is one of the most complex and lengthy ways of brewing coffee. It is also one of the biggest challenges the barista world hast to offer. And (almost) as is the case with wine-making, many factors contribute to making a proper cold drip. Nevertheless, you can absolutely do it at home. It just takes the right instructions to make your own cold drip coffee by either using a ready-made cold dripper of building one yourself.
An important characteristic of cold brew and cold drip coffee is its long shelf life. People have discovered this aspect a long time ago. As early as the 17th century, Dutch merchants took cold brewed coffee with them on their long sea voyages. After all, cold drip coffee could conveniently be pre-produced and easily transported. Even more importantly, the cold coffee also known as “Dutch Iced Coffee” lasted up to three weeks. In the humid heat of Southeast Asia, this refreshing drink was – and still is – an ideal source of caffeine.
Today, professionally produced cold drip coffee even has a shelf life of up to 12 months. This is because the coffee is produced under sterile conditions and bottled – for the most part – in glass bottles that are hermetically sealed. If you make your own cold drip coffee at home, it will last between 3 and 14 days in the refrigerator. Drink it with ice or mix it to enjoy this refreshing indulgence during the summer.