Cold Brew Experiments
2022 Year of Aesthetics Series №35 August 14, 2022
For Jonathan the lover of extractions
‘We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow. That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith, Sir John, we have: our watch-word was ‘Hem boys!’ Henry IV, WS.
While my wife was in the UK, I visited many friends and was visited by many. I had a trip to Kentucky with a connoisseur of spirits, and we had many a night of wine, martinis and tasting of bourbons and Armagnac nightcaps. I was visited by a friend who I buy wine from and it resulted in a wine and spirit tasting. I had ball games and BBQ that required drinking beers. I was sort of liquored out, and felt like a break from drinking, so I took a two week break from drinking. I try to do 10 -12 dry weeks a year usually in 1–2 week stretches. It was a great time to see and meet up with people I had not seen in years and up my California wine and Kentucky bourbon collection. Yet it is nice to have these weeks of abstinence.
I decided to do some extraction experiment during dry weeks, I like that they take time, and they are always worth the wait. I often do fruits and herbs exteactions or make bitters but as I was starting dry week, I saw Anders Erikson cold brew episode on YouTube. I liked the idea of a quicker extraction that could be explored during dry week and may be a good cocktail ingredient. (See video below I receive nothing from Anders just a nod to my source and he also brings aesthetics into the cocktail world.)
I worked with a control of Illy Café whole beans ground to the consistence of drip coffee. I am sure variation of coffee type and roast will be a big deal this was an espresso blend.
I worked with a range of ratios of 1:8 (1/4 oz to 2 cups) and 1:6 (1/2 cup to 3 cups) ground beans to filtered water by volume. I found the 1:6 (1/2 cup to 3 cups) to be the best this will vary I am sure with beans used.
All the tests were done using cold water from the fridge filter and brewing was done at about 40 F in my refrigerator in a 750 ml bottle. I did do trials on time which I tried blends at 12, 16, 24 and 30 hours. The 12–16 hours were sharper and more acidic and less well rounded. The 24 –30 hours were similar well rounded with more roasted notes, mild acidity and rich coffee and earth tones. I greatly preferred 24–30 hours and did not see much difference between those two times. I tried to shake the bottle a couple times when I opened the fridge although this did not seem to change much time of extraction much more important.
I filtered the coffee through a fine strainer then a coffee filter (which is slow on a cold extraction), the fine strainer alone allows to many fines that will float and not settle in the coffee. The coffee filter while slow is necessary so sort of a set and forget it until it is filtered is required, I would use the filter set up Anders uses since it allows more to flow out the filter, I will probably get his set up since it is inexpensive.
I do want to comment that I think the culinary is aesthetic and going through these processes bring beauty and pleasure to food and drink. If you want a beautiful colored glass of cold coffee, (I use small cut glassware to serve), severed ice cold and black with robust and unique flavors this is a great option. I am looking forward to Manhattan and old fashion variations with this after this short prohibition.
Credit to Anders Erikson for the idea, and the serendipitous and his love of cocktail aesthetics, he is great to watch every week and plays very nice on twitter…
DISCLAIMER Ernest Boehm is completely self-patronized and will not incur any financial benefit from any Medium article, this is personal choice and he is not against for profit endeavors but does not want to make his writing for profit. He is not financially affiliated with any links included in this article.