For those that are unaware, aside from being a technophile of the highest degree, I'm also a rabid coffee addict. This has manifested itself more and more, now especially because I work at a coffee place. On the plus side, I'm not just a barista, I'm a coffee purchaser, meaning the stuff on the shelves is hand picked by me. I'm kinda a big deal. Another perk is that I learn all sorts of new and fun ways to brew coffee. Pourover, Chemex, Aeropress, Filtron, to name just a few.
In that vein, I was sent something by a fellow barista that, although odd, I just had to try. You can actually find the instructions on it here: http://instructables.com/id/DIY-Cold-Brew-Coffee/?ALLSTEPS. Because there's already an instruction list, I won't go into the how to, just my results and reactions. I'll also mention, I did a slightly different variation on my second attempt, where the felt was replaced with a polishing cloth, and the filter bag was left open. That yielded better results
Now the method listed above is really simple. Cut a bottle, grind your coffee and throw it in. Let it sit over night. VOILA! Iced goodness! Sorta....
So the crux of this brewing method is going to be the coffee that you pick. As a general rule, darker roast coffees will make a better cold brew. Without getting overly technical, they just hold up better and the syrupiness you get from a coffee concentrate (which this method makes) goes better with the flavors. The problem is that not a lot of people are into dark roasts. More and more people are gravitating towards light roasts. I call those people pussies.
Now I did this two different times with two different coffees. The first batch I made was from Metropolis Coffee, with their La Cordillera Blend. La Cordi is more of a medium roast, but has more chocolatey and sweet flavors (graham cracker being the strongest), which are more what you're looking for in a cold brew (usually anyway). I allowed for a longer brew time, 14 hours, and gave it a shot. What I got was just kinda.......meh. The concentrate by itself was actually quite tasty, but diluting it like you're supposed to caused a lot of the flavors to just disappear. It wasn't bad, tho I'd probably brew that one for longer if I did that particular blend again. I also would have drank it straight, if I didn't know that I'd potentially have a heart attack. Side story: my husband totally drank 2 16oz glasses of it straight in a 4 hour period, cleaned the whole house like a madman and then slept for 14 hours. Score 6 / 10
Round Two: This time I decided to go with a single origin coffee. The flavors in single origins tend to be more consistent so there is a lot less guesswork and fiddling. I grabbed a bag of MadCap Luis Reinoso from Guatemala. This one is between a medium and dark, tends to be quite sweet on its own with some honey notes, and a little bit of fruitiness (kinda apple / pear). Now since I did a slightly different method with the second batch, I'm not completely sure it was ONLY the coffee that made a difference, but DAMN this one was good. This one brewed for 14 hours as well, and was just about perfect. The concentrate was too strong, but diluted it was great. I don't sweeten my coffee in general, and I didn't need to with this one, but with a little sugar and cream it still held up on flavors. Score 9/10
Overall this is a fun and easy method of cold brewing at home that doesn't involve a lot of hassle. Once your concentrate is done, throw it into a pitcher, and everything else goes in the trash. I highly recommend it, just pick your coffee wisely