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The Science Behind Cold Brew

Why Is Cold Brew A Step Above The Rest?

As one of the early adopters of the Kyoto Style cold brewing process in South Florida, we believe that cold brew is king. Full of flavor and caffeine, this strong, incredibly smooth coffee is known to sport flavor notes of shaved dark chocolate, citrus, and berries, and can be prepared to mimic the mouthfeel of a stout beer or fine cognac. That’s why our signature cold brew is the go-to for many of our regulars, and we are constantly sampling and reworking our coffee blends and brewing methods to ensure the best cup possible.

We make our Kyoto brew in small batches, one delicate drop at a time with our Yama and Oji brewers. Each batch is crafted over the course of 12-18 hours, creating a concentrated elixir of coffee by extending the extraction process over a period of hours rather than mere minutes. Although the traditional process of brewing coffee with high temperatures extracts the coffee at a quicker pace, it also changes the coffee at the molecular level. The interaction of heat with the ground coffee can modify oils found in the coffee and introduce undesirable flavors that are released in the extraction, and therefore, into your cup. The cold brewing process bypasses these molecular changes by extracting the coffee solute at single digit Celsius temperatures. The result of this careful, cold, and slow process is a strong, focused cold brew which makes for a much smoother and less acidic cup of coffee that will be appreciated by coffee amateurs and aficionados alike.

Three Oji cold brew towers in front of a black wall.
The History Behind Cold Brew

A Brewing Technique That Has Been Known For Centuries.

The rise of cold brew’s popularity in the U.S. is a contemporary phenomenon, thanks in part to the third wave coffee movement. The modern era of coffee gives particular attention and purpose to the artfulness and creativity that goes into the taste, palatability, and texture of a cup of coffee, similar to the complexities of wine making and tasting. Now more than ever, coffee is more of a specialty than just a simple commodity. This drives coffee makers to strive for unique and innovative ways to brew and serve the beloved drink. Although there is little need to invent something completely new when the rich history of coffee can provide an insightful look into the lost art of traditional brewing techniques. We are going back to our roots with the Kyoto method, and we want to share it with you.

The art of the cold brewing method has been prevalent across other cultures for centuries. Dating all the way back to the 1600s, this technique supposedly began with the Dutch (which is why it also sometimes called Dutch coffee) who first introduced it to the Japanese via trade through Indonesia. This is when the cold brewing method began to gain its popularity and notoriety, adopting new branding as the Kyoto style brew, named for Japan’s capital city at that time.

Oji cold brew tower dripper.
There are a few important metrics that will help you understand cold brew coffee

Solubility, Acidity, Concentration, And Volatility

Solubility: The ability of substances to dissolve in a solvent is called solubility. In the case of brewing coffee, the solvent is water, and the resulting coffee is a solute. In general, substances are more soluble at high temperatures (think of sugar dissolving more quickly in hot coffee than cold). Some of the elements in the ground coffee beans are much more resistant to extraction at low temperatures. Extracting over a period of hours instead of minutes ensures much of the desired solubles will extract.

Acidity: The elements that contribute to the taste of acidity or sourness in a cup of hot brewed coffee are muted in the cold brewing process. The resulting cup will have a much mellower palate, even when brewing with highly acidic beans.

Concentration: By design, the initial coffee to water ratio for the cold brew technique produces a more concentrated coffee. The resulting brew can have up to twice the strength of hot brewed coffee in terms of strength of flavor and viscosity.

Volatility: Volatility is the ability of substances to vaporize and become airborne. Hot liquids will be much more volatile than cold liquids, and that is why hot coffee is much more aromatic. Unfortunately, that means that flavor is leaking away from your cup of hot coffee. By cold brewing, much of that flavor does not have the chance to escape through the air and is instead retained inside the brew.

Yama Ice-Brewer
So now you know

It’s Superior In Many Ways

It’s easy to see that Kyoto style brewing is not only a novel way to brew coffee, but it’s also superior in many ways. From the sheer amount of caffeine present in each cup to the flavor profile, the lower acidity (which is less likely to stain your teeth) and smooth rich flavor, its complex flavors and textures are perfect to enjoy straight and even potent enough to shine with milk of any kind. It is also a surprisingly versatile and satisfying addition to cocktails and desserts. Fantastic and refreshing over ice, or if you’re in the mood for something even less conventional, try our cold Nitro-Brew for an even smoother and textured cup of coffee. It’s no wonder why cold brew is an exquisite substitute for your regular coffee ritual. If you haven’t yet tried Kyoto Style brewed coffee then you are missing out. Come over to Harold’s and ask our baristas for a sample today.

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Harold’s Coffee Lounge

(561) 833-6366

509 Northwood Road
West Palm Beach, 33407

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