Cold Brew coffee; isn't that a new catchphrase? You hear it everywhere, and it has a bunch of definitions. I've seen Hario iced pour overs called cold brew (I call those iced coffees). I've seen some weird bottled drink that tastes awful called a cold brew. I've also seen an iced Toddy called cold brew. If you're going to ask me for a definition, the third one is the charm. I believe true cold brew coffee begins as an Iced Toddy. I love this stuff. It is so smooth and pure and clean. The toddy maker produces a pure coffee concentrate that can store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks (although I prefer it within one week). Once brewed, it is convenient, versatile and delicious.
I usually describe iced toddy as the coffee equivalent of iced tea. It is smooth, crisp, and refreshing. Perfect for a 112-degree day like today (remind me why I live in Arizona?).
The Nerdy Details:
Why is the Toddy system so great? The short answer is, time replaces heat and chemistry guys will tell you that's better. They're right... we should listen to chemistry guys.
Why is it called a Toddy? Because Todd Simpson, a chemical engineering graduate of Cornell, developed the Toddy cold brew system. One day maybe I'll name a brewing method the Matty, but for all of our sakes, maybe not.
What's some technical jargon that you pulled from the Toddy website? A roasted coffee bean contains many compounds that are extracted during the brewing process. Some of those compounds, including certain oils and fatty acids, are soluble only at a high temperature. During the cold brew process, coffee beans are never exposed to high temperature (this only occurs after a rich liquid coffee concentrate has been produced). Deceptively simple, cold water brewing extracts the delicious flavor compounds (and some of the caffeine) from coffee beans, but leaves behind myriad bitter oils and biting fatty acids, including undesirable elements such as ketones, esters, and amides. These are the same bitter acids and fatty oils that surface to the top of your hot cup of coffee, and give hot-brewed coffee that familiar 'bite' (thus the reason that some 8 out of 10 people attempt to soften the acidic taste by adding milk or cream to their coffee).
Are some coffees better than others when brewed this way?Wow...I didn't expect that question. I'm glad you asked. Yes, we have tried most of our coffees as a Toddy and filtered out our favorites. Check out this link to find them.
Most of the coffees consumed worldwide are produced in Latin America. The countries within Latin America have an ideal coffee-growing environment with its moderate sunshine and rain, 70-80 degree temperatures, and rich, porous soil. Coffee originated in Africa around the 15th century and finally made its way to Latin America in the early-18th century. By the mid-18th century, Latin American countries evolved into being some of the top coffee producers.
Much like any other crop, there is a prime season for harvesting coffee. I will not go into all of the details of the coffee plant (that may wait for another blog post), but when the plant grows to maturity, it will yield a cluster of fruit. Also referred to as cherries, these fruit clusters are initially green and then ripen into a beautiful shade of red similar to a cherry. Within the cherries is a pulp and two oval-shaped beans that once harvested, processed, and roasted become the coffee beans we know and love.
As some of you may know, Ethiopian coffees are always my favorite. A dry-processed, fruit forward Ethiopian bean is always a winner in my book. For many years, they have been the world's best-reviewed single-origin premium coffee beans. As the 5th largest coffee producer in the world, Ethiopia has mastered the art of harvesting and processing the beans and the flavor profiles are perfectly complex and delicious.