Love it or loathe it, cold-brew coffee is set to be the biggest thing to hit the UK in years – just in time for the summer sunshine, too. There will always be those who consider these kinds of new techniques and processes something of an affront to classic coffee, but to be perfectly honest if you’ve ever tried a really good cold-brew coffee…well, let’s just say you’ll know that the haters don’t know what they’re talking about – it’s awesome!


What Is It?

If it’s a totally new concept to you, you’re in good company so don’t feel too bad. Long story short…and largely given away by the name…cold-brew coffee is a kind of coffee that’s made using water that isn’t heated. Instead, coffee tends to be added to room-temperature water and left for a good 24-hours or so, which results in an extremely concentrated liquid which is then diluted. And just to clear things up, it’s not in fact anything even remotely bordering on a ‘new’ idea – the folks in Japan have been making the stuff for about 400 years.


Is It Worth Bothering With?

The most important question of all is of course that of why – as in why bother? Well, as far as those with a real taste for the stuff are concerned, the 24 hours wait is indeed worth it…several times over in fact. When coffee is made using hot water, the flavour is effectively battered and forced out of the beans quite aggressively. By contrast, cold-brew coffee is much gentler, allowing the flavours to be drawn out more slowly. This results in a much smoother overall taste that doesn’t have the same kind of bitterness often associated with strong espresso coffee.


Isn’t It Just Iced Coffee With a Posh Name?

In a word, no. Iced coffee might be served cold, but is nonetheless brewed in exactly the same way as most conventional coffee. Standard iced coffee is made using boiling water to extract the flavour of the beans, after which ice is used to cool it down. Cold-brew coffee by contrast starts life cold and can then be either cooled further with ice or heated up to create regular coffees.


Can I Make It At Home?

Yes, you can, and take it from us when we say you don’t have to invest a fortune in fancy equipment. There are thousands of rather expensive gadgets on the market right now that have been designed with cold-brew coffee in mind, but to be honest they’re totally unnecessary if you just want to give it a try for the first time. Really, all you need to do is mix maybe 200g of good coffee grounds with one litre of water, then let it sit in a bowl in the fridge for up to 24 hours. After this, filter the grounds out of the liquid and give it a try – the resulting coffee liquid can be stored and used for up to a month.


While you’re at it, maybe try a side by side tasting comparison to see if you can tell any real difference – then you’ll know if the new cold-brew coffee movement is really for you or not!