A post shared by Starbucks Reserve Roastery (@starbucksroastery) on
Often mistaken for iced coffee, cold brew is not a barista pouring coffee over ice. It’s so much more and a whole lot flavourful.
The water is room temperature or colder and never heated, and the coffee is brewed for at least 10 hours.
When you add hot water to your coffee, you do lose some of the flavour in the drink and the acidity also increases. With cold brew, the flavour notes of the coffee are not burnt off and you can lock in more of the aromas.
Oliver Strand from the New York Times gave the best description of cold brew when he wrote: “Cold brew is more than a slowed-down version of hot coffee; it’s a noticeably different product. Hot water will bring out the acids in coffee, a characteristic that professional tasters call ‘brightness’.
Cold water doesn’t but still gets the full range of mouth feel and sweetness. The absence of acidity in cold brew is even more pronounced when compared with the iced coffee from the dark ages (of a few years ago), when it was almost always made with hot coffee that was chilled in the refrigerator. When hot coffee cools, even more acids develop, many of them unpleasantly harsh."
Gary Menachemson is the co-owner of Mighty Monk Cold Brew Coffee and said the appetite for cold brew is heating up in SA.
“We started our research and development in October 2015 and served our first cup of cold brew in May 2016 and the reception has been good,” he said.
“In South Africa, people are sceptical, because coffee is ordinarily hot but once they taste it, they don’t regret it. The flavours of your coffee bean are amplified in the cold brew, so don’t immediately add sugar because all the cocoa flavour notes have increased two fold when compared to your warm cuppa.
It shouldn’t be a tough sell in sunny South Africa, where many coffee drinkers look for a cooler caffeine fix during spring and summer.
The manager at Durban’s Wonderland Coffee, Bobby Machin said: “Cold brew coffee is a definite trend that is coming. The world looks at places such as Europe and the United States and cold brew has been a massive trend there.”
“It is something that is going to shoot in Durban and people are going to love it. At Wonderland Coffee we do cold brew seasonally, summer time is when we actually get to do more of the cold teas and coffee like the nitro-coffee which is cold brew infused with nitrogen,” he said.
“There has not been much demand for cold brew in our region, it is just a matter of culture picking it (cold brew coffee) at the right time and people are starting to do it more often with others even doing it at their own homes.”
Dunkin Donuts chief operating officer Davin Berril said since they opened their first store in Cape Town in October 2016, they are also seeing an uptick in cold brew coffee.
“While hot coffee remains the leader with over 270 000 units sold, cold or iced coffee as its better known locally sells more than 90 000 units and we expect to see an increase this summer season,” Berril said.
But in the artisanal and commercial coffee shops there is a very slow reaction to cold brew and no concerted effort to increase it’s sales.
The one barrier being that it takes a bit longer to brew and the other that coffee drinkers are creatures of habit and not easily persuaded to try any other coffee.
Ready to drink cold brew is the answer and it’s a trend that Antler Cold Brew Coffee is capitalising on. Instead of merely selling cold brew that is already bottled, Antler has a mix and drink cold brew that is delicious but also serves another purpose.
The Antler Cold Mix is meant to be enjoyed minutes before you hit the gym and do a workout.
Antler's advertising material states that the Cold Mix “uses fresh natural cold water as the base”. Mixing in 200ml of fresh water or even sparkling water gives a smooth flavour that is subtle. This method is best suited for people who want to enjoy the flavour of pre-workout while prolonging the kick of the caffeine.
So, cold brew is the perfect replacement to a smoothie before you tackle that gym session and the caffeine kick with help get the adrenaline pumping.
Now that the sun is out and will be for the next few months, don’t pass by your coffee shop when there might be the perfect cold brew to enjoy.