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Cold Brew Doesn't Suck

Yes, we read it, too. And to nobody's surprise, we respectfully disagree. Cold brew doesn't suck; it's just different from traditional coffee brewed with hot water. Different, as in "not the same," not better or worse than. Geez, can't we all just get along? Clearly, we didn't all learn the "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" idea back in grade school.

Some of the differences between the two types of brews include:

  • Brewing temperature - One is brewed with hot water (195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, 91 to 96 degrees Celsius) and one is brewed with room temperature water (70 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, 21 to 2 degrees Celsius, thus the term "cold brew").
  • Acidity - Some evidence suggests that cold brew is lower in acidity than heat brewed, which expresses more of the oils and compounds in the beans. It's not uncommon to hear cold brew described as "smoother" or "naturally sweet tasting," even without added sweeteners.
  • Flavor stability - Coffee brewed hot tends to oxidize after 30 minutes or so, starting to taste stale. Cold brew extract (when refrigerated in an airtight container) will typically taste the same on day 10 as it did the day it was brewed.
  • Tasting notes - Many who are passionate about coffee claim that only heat brewed coffee brings out nuanced flavors associated with where the beans were grown or how they were processed. Those who share this opinion often claim that cold brew flavors are "flat, with generic coffee taste." Here at Toddy, we agree that cold brew generally produces a more subtle flavor profile; however, we also maintain that you can get delicious, nuanced flavors from both brewing methods. You just need to experiment with some of your cold brewing parameters, such as grind size and dwell time, until you get the flavor you're after.
  • Preferred roasts - As a brewing method, cold brew excels at bringing out the smooth, full flavors of coffee blends. For those who like to add cream or want to use the brew as an ingredient in a beverage recipe, medium to dark roast coffees work well. Light to medium roasts are a great option for serving black coffee over ice. You can brew just about any coffee with hot water, although many who prefer a traditionally brewed cup claim it's the best method for brewing single origins and floral or fruity varieties.
  • Versatility - Coffee brewed with heat can be turned into a number of hot coffee drinks (espresso, latte, cappuccino, cortado, etc.). Cold brewed coffee, however, produces an extract that can be readily integrated in a wide range of recipes (iced coffee, hot coffee, lattes, cocktails/mocktails, cold brew sodas, nitro, baked goods, milkshakes, and more).
  • Portability - Traditional coffee requires a heat source to boil water. Cold brew does not (a critical point for travelers staying in hotels that remove in-room coffee makers during a pandemic, because most of us who drink coffee need coffee).

Not an exhaustive list of the differences between the two brewing methods, but a solid exercise in comparing and contrasting. That said, we at Toddy believe you don't have to choose a side. We're not really #teamhotbrew or #teamcoldbrew. Instead, we believe that any experiences that further an appreciation for specialty coffee are a good thing.

Can't we all just be #teamcoffee?