Can I be honest for a minute about coffee? It’s a little boring. The world has figured out every way imaginable to add hot (or cold) water to coffee beans. Drip, pour over, french press, aeropress, american press, siphon, Turkish, Vietnamese, espresso, percolator, cold brew, cowboy, and moka pot. Just to name a few. All of those are variations of the same process…adding plain water to ground coffee.
Let’s continue with our honesty here….most people (I would say around 99%) couldn’t tell the difference in which coffee they were served other than the ubiquitous “Oh, that tastes different.” So what is all this hubbub about single origin, organic, fair trade, blah, blah, blah? The answer is simple. Marketing.
The overwhelming majority couldn’t tell you where a coffee was grown. They can’t tell you what roast the coffee has. They can’t tell you what they like or dislike about the coffee with the exception of “I like it” or “I don’t like it. It’s too….(insert generic descriptor here).” So who, then, is making all the waves about organic, fair trade, single origin coffee? The answer is very convoluted but I’ll summarize……coffee nerds. People in the coffee industry are marketing their product and people all over the developed world are drinking it up. I applaud the coffee industry for it.
The latest craze in coffee is the cold brew and nitro coffee craze. I love how we are embracing this as a new normal in coffee. Cold brewing coffee involves taking water which is room temperature or colder and adding it to coffee grounds. Instead of the process taking minutes, it takes hours. You essentially trade time for heat. The result is a very low acidity and a smooth, refreshing drink that gives you a little boost of caffeine.
Even the cold brew coffee is getting a little boring these days. After all, you can only continue to add water to coffee. Since adding water to coffee is really the only way to get that amazing black nectar….why not change up the water we use? If most people can’t tell a difference in the coffee used, maybe they can tell a difference in the water.
My first experiment with water was when I infused blueberries into about 3 cups of water. I mixed my cold brew concentrate with that water and tasted chocolate covered blueberries (albeit without the sweetness). I knew I was on to something. Next came Les Bon Temps, my Cafe-du-Monde inspired chicory coffee cold brew. My latest experiment didn’t turn out so well however. My wife brought home a bag of scuppernongs (a wild grape) and I went about creating my newest infused water.
24 hours after I put the scuppernongs in the water, they were strained out and I smelled that sweet smell of wild grapes. I put the mason jar to my lips, gave the water a nice little sip, and immediately spit it back out. The word “astringent” came to mind. It’s not that the water was bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. It was like a very dry wine. The second sip was easier since I knew what I was getting myself into. I grew to like the water over the next couple minutes. Then I went about adding my cold brew concentrate.
Once my concoction was measured and stirred, I took a long pull and waited for the bouquet to hit my sinuses. Again, I was a little disappointed. The coffee I use for my cold brew base is also very tart so when I combined the coffee and the water, it was an IPA lover’s dream. To be clear, the higher IBU count an IPA has, the less likelihood there is I will like it. 40 IBU’s is my upper limit. I would put this coffee concoction at the equivalent of around 60-70 IBU’s. So not my favorite.
I will take this brew around to a couple of people and get their opinion. I know their beer preferences so it will be a good gauge to see if I am off base about it being a preference drink or just one to be scraped altogether.