With summer upon us, cold coffee will be a popular choice for many coffee drinkers. In recent years, cold drip coffee and cold brew have become quite trendy in the Australian specialty coffee scene. We take our coffee pretty seriously here in Australia, even Tourism Australia educates international visitors about our coffee trends!
There has also been much discussion about which is better in taste and strength. Coffee aficionados have been split over these two drinks – do they want a full bodied coffee taste that can be found in a cold drip, or a more fruity refreshing sweet taste in a cold brew? What if you could combine both flavours into one?
Firstly, let’s go through what these drinks actually are. Cold Drip is coffee extracted by “dripping” cold water onto ground coffee using gravity. This method may seem like a lab experiment using glass beakers called a drip tower which enables cold (or iced) water to slowly drip over freshly ground coffee. Most specialty cafes would have this as a feature which makes a great attraction for coffee foodies.
Cold Brew is immersion style cold coffee. It involves mixing ground coffee with cold water, usually a preferred ratio of 1:12 and letting it steep for a period of time, at least 16-22 hours. This process extracts the coffee flavour from the beans naturally by just using a vat in which it is then filtered out to create the smooth refreshing drink.
Compared to cold drip, making cold brew is a more manual process without the need of any fancy equipment. You would typically see this served in cafes pre-packaged in bottles or cans.
In both cases, these cold drinks rely on time (lots of it) to extract the flavours instead of heat, and is considered healthy in that it keeps the nutrients and oils in the coffee which is otherwise eliminated by hot water. Cold Brew generally contains more caffeine than hot coffee given the lengthy immersion time.
So the key difference between cold drip coffee and cold brew is the brewing method.
When presented with these two options at a café, if you can afford the time, go for a cold drip coffee as it is typically a showcase product, using premium single origin beans. Be wary that cold drip coffee is made in small batches, and what you tried at one visit will be different to your next one as highly likely they will be showcasing different beans. If you’re one for trying single origin coffee each time and enjoy spontaneity, cold drip is for you.
However if you’re in a rush and prefer the same taste each time, cold brew in its grab and go style, would be the way to go. It is versatile – you can add milk to make an iced latte, or add to an espresso martini if you feel like impressing friends over dinner at home. It is more consistent and stable in taste as it is produced in large batches.
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Here at Coffee Mentality, we have created a cold brew that seeks to emulate the taste from both brewing methods. A product we call ‘Clear Brew‘, it is a tea-like fruity and floral taste but has the density of a cold drip coffee. As opposed to the dark colour of cold brew, clear brew has almost a clear and crisp appearance, hence the name.
We have been able to achieve a balance in acidity and sweetness. Using 100% Single Origin specialty arabica bean, processed with fruity, citrus notes, our Clear Brew is one to try and a first in the Australian market.
Whether you choose cold drip coffee or cold brew, the most important thing to remember is that the coffee is strong enough to replace your standard hot drink. Our Cold/Clear Brew contains the same amount of 20g caffeine as a shot in a long black so will keep you refreshed and awake on a hot summer’s day.
If you fancy making cold drip coffee and becoming a coffee connoisseur, there are up to 32 single origins you can choose from at our East Brisbane location. The advantage of single origin over blend, other than its traceability to a particular farm in the world, is that you can taste coffee in its unique and purest form. We offer single origin sampling in our tasting room where you can try before you buy! If you’re in Brisbane, book into our Coffee Tasting Experience, open every Wednesday from 11am to 1pm.