A bit late: The semi-sloppy cold-brew showdown

Earlier this summer, in favour of not procrastinating any more than I had so far, I thought I'd make a challenge for myself, with a clear deadline; 24 hours. So I did it! I kept that deadline! But... that was seven weeks ago and I've been dragging out writing this post anyways... Let's just move on and do it even though all you basic bishes (me) out there are already planning your pumpkin spices lattes. *stares at pumpkin in garden*

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Intro to a probably way too long post about coffee

In the rather singular event that any of you, my dear readers, would be this interested in coffee and its chilled companion that you actually get through all of this text (I'm not getting paid by the word, sometimes I'm just like this, sorry), I will let it be known that I appreciate the attention and I would like to inform you that I did this for you.

Yes. Not for me, not for the two other coffee-guzzlers in my household. Especially and assuredly not for my lazy side that wanted to find a better way of sifting the magical brew for a week's worth of always ready coffee. I did it for you. Accusing me of having a personal interest in how to get away easier with the quite tedious assignment of sifting five liters of coffee through paper filters that jam extraordinarily fast would be unfair. Are you calling me lazy because I do not want to spend three and a half hours every week slobbering with coffee grounds all over the kitchen? Do you not want me to be happy?!


Cold-brew the right way?

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Because I'm trash-fancy like that, so far I've made my cold-brew coffee with regular brew coffee. We all know, (okay, just us who have googled it a little too much perhaps), that apart from all the other minutiae about water temperature etc, the coffee nerds think you should use a coarser ground coffee to steep your energy tincture the proper way.

One of my main gripes with this method has so far been 1; that going to a coffee retailer in Sweden to buy a coarser ground coffee would cost my non-existent first born plus taxes per half a pound of coffee and that 2; If I were to buy whole beans, I would have to grind the beans myself and this means that I probably would have to buy a burr grinder that would scream at me furiously during use, to then break after a few months, leaving me with a useless appliance as a sad reminder of today's capitalist consumer-driven market.

But wait!

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Cue; The manual grinder. No electricity used. No bits to fall helplessly apart after doing what the appliance is actually made to do. It's just two pieces of metal with a lever and a box underneath. I wished for one for Christmas. I can grind coffee in it and heaps of other stuff. Like.. spices. And a crayon or two. Great! Now that I had one of those, I could TRY GRINDING A COARSER GRIND MYSELF! Cue life-supporting experiments, ya'll!

So I did try and grind the coffee needed for a liter of coffee in that little box with the lever. It took hours. Literally hours. I watched the entire Godzilla movie from 2014 and got like.. a third of what I needed. Doesn't bode well for the convenience of that method...

You've made cold-brew for years without a fancier grind. What gives?

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A MESS!

The problem with my regular method is... sifting regular ground cold coffee through paper filters, is a real bummer. And I mean a real bummer. It’s nothing like hot coffee happily running through the filters into the pot, offering itself to your longing palate. It takes hours, changing filters and messing around with different containers. "But why not just settle with the more permeable built-in filter that you have on your coffee maker then, Ellet?" you say. Because I happily tried that and it lets a lot more silt through and it affects the taste. *waves gourmet palate hand* Having properly sifted cold brew versus kind of sloppy, silty cold brew, makes a world of a difference with the actual taste of the coffee and when you make it, you're stuck with that batch for like eight days. It's like if I allow the silt to tag along into the fridge, it corrupts the spirit of the coffee. Like hanging out with someone that has a little grudge against you, and you low-key can tell. It just ruins the good mood, man.

Why not iced coffee, that's so much easier!

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From what I understand, most people drink iced coffee, aka hot brewed coffee chilled over ice, milk or whatever. When I made my first round of iced coffee in 2014, trembling with the few little fucks I had left to give about surviving the blistering summer heat, I had to drench that shit in sugar and milk to make it passable at all. I couldn't understand why people were going wild about that bitter reminder that we're all are born into suffering. I clearly remember it to this day. That morning included 29C/85F winds already when I got up at 8 AM and then I had to fight a blackbird that had fallen down our chimney and gotten caught in our fireplace and get it out without hurting or killing the bird, or me, in the process. When I returned to the coffee making and sampled the ghastly concoction, I remember giving up and going back to bed for a few more hours. It was that bad.

A few weeks later I followed the cold-brew rabbit hole deeper and made my first round of the real stuff.

I made it from regular brewing coffee steeped overnight in the fridge and it tasted lovely! Mixed with milk and a dose of sweetened condensed milk, it was now a staple in my summertime household!


"Yeah yeah, but after all this, is coarse grind cold-brew worth sacrificing my first-born for? I mean, I've raised that kid for ten years now and that investment isn't ditched easily”

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So, I decided to actually find out and set up a sampling fest that I forced three companions to try with me.

  • Regular ground coffee ratio 1:5 coffee/water, 12 hours.

  • Coarser ground coffee, ratio 1:5 coffee/water, 24 hours.

  • Coarser ground coffee, ratio 1:10 coffee/water in case I want to drink it just like it is (you usually cut the concentrate 50/50 with milk/etc), for 24 hours.

I had earlier made coffee 1:5, coarse grind, and steeped that for 12 hours and found that it didn't suit my fancy. It tasted like I would imagine the ocean tasting when you're keen for a real fine cold glass of water. Therefore I opted for the 24 hour-steep for the coarser ones in my spectacularly professional taste test.

Result: Both the coarser ground samples tasted more like hot coffee, but with a bitterness that the 12-hour regular grind coffee didn't have.

The unanimous result;

All four of us that tested the different samples preferred the regular-ground brewing coffee,
steeped for a mere 12 hours.

And there we have it!

Somewhat happy that I don't need to get a burr grinder that will scream and break on me, and somewhat sad that I have to keep on sifting that shit through paper filters, I will continue making my cold brew with regular coffee maker-coffee. And I will sift it. For hours. And hours. And it's gonna be worth it.

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Yes. We have an entire shelf with just condiments. I know.

A hint of sunshine before we go: A potential method that I realised though; Keep pouring that coffee into the filter as long as you have something to pour and don't let it settle because it will jam. When I tried this, it brought a little more silt into the end coffee than I wanted, but I managed to filter a lot more before it seemed to jam! Pray for me peeps, pray for me.

*staring at the decimated amount of coffee in the fridge*
*stares at me in the mirror*
*stares at the other two consumers in the household*
*sweat breaks*

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