Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cold Brewed Coffee Controversy

I had heard some good things about cold brewed coffee, and had been meaning to try it this summer, but Jerry Baldwin at the Atlantic assures me that I shouldn't bother:
I find the extract to be weak and insipid. Low-temperature brewing (see below) doesn't make for a satisfying, flavorful cup. Diluting it makes it weak in the extreme. If I were to drink cold-water coffee, I would drink the extract undiluted. It's not strong at all. This makes for more expensive coffee. You only get about 29 fluid ounces, undiluted, from a pound of beans, compared to 225 fl. oz. from a pound brewed at 200 degrees.
...
Brewing is the method we use to extract the good soluble solids from coffee. Not enough extraction leaves an insipid brew, as in cold-water extraction; too much extraction from brewing that is too long or too hot produces bitterness. But brewing the correct grind for the maker at the right temperature (195 to 205 Fahrenheit) and the right time (3 to 5 minutes) gives you what we have all been seeking these last 1,000 years: a good cup of coffee.

Now, I don't really have a horse in this race since I am no coffee snob... I drink Dunkin' Donuts coffee loaded with cream and sugar on a daily basis, and only break out the siphon pot and Terrior coffee on the weekend when I have time to sip and enjoy it. Point being that it's unlikely that I would find it worthless given my low "adaptable" standards... though if Baldwin is right that it's too weak to drink it diluted, then cost would seem to be prohibitive. Still seems worth a try to form my own opinion.