Judging from a package in the latest issue of Food & Wine magazine and an article in a recent edition of the SF Chronicle on cold-brewed coffee, it seems that this trend has picked up some attention.
Proponents of this style of brewing claim it yields a coffee without much acidity and roasted or burnt notes in the aroma that they claim is ideal for a cool, refreshing cup of iced coffee. The method calls for steeping grounds in cold water overnight and then filtering out the liquid to create a mild coffee concentrate. The resulting concentrate can be mixed with water, either cold or hot, or milk.
I just don’t know why you would want to drink something that is made in a way that undermines the key steps of brewing coffee. Removing the acidity and aromas from coffee seems to me like diluting a fine bottle of Cabernet with water. In researching home coffee roasting, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Corby Kummer’s primer “The Joy of Coffee.” Kummer sums up cold brewing as a fad not worth the attention of the serious coffee drinker.
“This method becomes fashionable every few years and then retreats into deserved obscurity,” he writes. “The resulting extract, which is stirred into hot water, is mild and characterless because cold water does not extract the lighter aromatics or acids in coffee – or the oils, or much of anything.”
I’d much rather just brew some good coffee and splash it over ice — even if doing so isn’t trendy.