Now if you are like me, and you crave the strength of any caffeinated beverage but prefer a lighter tone/roast you will find that your taste buds have meet their match, especially if you sip the delicious El Salvador roast (my personal favorite). But when it comes to "Cold Brew" vs. "Iced Coffee", what separates them? The answer is very simple yet overlooked quite commonly. And that answer is the brewing process. Cold brew's have a very unique and quite fitting brewing process that I believe all cold drinking should maintain as an equivalent of a regular drip brewing.
As I mentioned, the cold brew process is quite unique and fitting for it's temperature. Majority of cold brew's are done in a single, whole 5 pound batch and the process is a timely one and must be prepared the day before. The whole bean medium roast batch (or size of your liking and roast of your liking) is grinded and put back into the original bag. A whole 5 pound bag of coffee contains around 375 - 400 tablespoons of coffee, equivalent 1,500 fluid oz's or approximately 12 gallons of water. The brewing process we use is a 1 tablespoon to 4 fluid oz ratio, so we transfer all 5 pounds of grinded coffee to a 15 galloon container. You first insert a coffee net into the 15 gallon container, this net separates the liquid from the coffee grinds. After the net is securely wrapped in the container, the grounds are dumped in and you begin filling cold water to the brim. After so, put in the fridge 12 to 24 hours to begin the slow but soothingly delightful process of a cold brew. Patience is our biggest enemy here. Now, keep in mind when coffee beans are ground down they lose about 1/2 of their size so combining all these into a 15 gallon container does seem plausible, especially when the coffee grounds begin absorbing the water. Cold brews usually aim for a temperature around 32 to 40 degrees fahrenheit where the process is most effective, and is standard FDA recommended refrigeration temperature. After 24 hours has passed, pull out your heavy 15 gallon container, carefully remove the net to not let any of the grounds make contact with the liquid, and dump the beans (or for you planters, you could mix it in with the fertilizer, but that’s another discussion). Now, cold brews are concentrated out of the container, so you have to cut it! We usually cut it 50/50 or 40/60 with cold water. The Cold brew should last anywhere from 24-72 hours. After 72 hours we recommend dumping. And voila, poor in a glass cup with some cream, vanilla syrup over ice and you have a delicious cup of sweetened cold brew on a hot summer day.
Now, back to the standard and world renown champion Iced Coffee. A lot of businesses brew a hot cup container of coffee, and refrigerate it until the beverage is cold, and other businesses only brew a strong, extracted amount of coffee, cut with ice water, then that makes a iced coffee. Most consumers are satisfied with just this, but the biggest issue which is often avoided and overlooked in this process is dilution. A lot of companies cut their coffee, with hot brewed extract, then dump over ice, and then cut again with water. The issue is, when you put hot coffee over ice, you produce water so you will get a very watered down taste which doesn't really taste good, and believe me, you can taste the difference once you compare. Besides that, the general process and concept of Iced Coffee is quite simple, and is most commonly drank.
Now, the choice is yours, choose the very elegant and concentrated Cold Brew, or the world champion and family favorite Iced Coffee.