Saturday, September 16, 2017

Coffee in the Sweltering Heat: Cold Brew or Iced?

(photo credit: Picked Cafe & Gallery FB page

Did you know that coffee has been crowned the staple drink of Filipinos? This should come as no big surprise, considering the fact that coffee is a big aspect of the culture here, and there are plenty of chains and independent cafes available to keep up with the growing demand. In Metro Manila alone there are always new coffee shops opening up - including trendy hipster options!

(photo credit: Picked Cafe & Gallery FB page
Artisanal coffee beverages are becoming the popular way to get your caffeine kick in Manila, especially among the youth, and that includes iced coffee and cold brew coffee. While many people wrongfully assume these two are the same, coffee-a-holics know better! So what are the differences between these two and more importantly, which option is the right one for you?

Photo Credit: Curve Coffee Collaborators FB Page

   Iced coffee is quite literally coffee that is chilled. The coffee should first be made with the optimal temperature for extraction being between 195 to 205F (91 to 96C), then cooled. But, there are two ways the cooling process can be done. The first is making coffee and letting it chill. The second way is to pour hot coffee over ice, allowing it chill faster. To avoid losing too much flavor by letting the coffee sit around too long, many coffee shops opt for the second option.
  Brewed coffee, on the other hand, is a process of immersion, which uses cool or room temperature water for a longer period of time. The coffee grounds should be steeped with water that is a maximum temperature of 68 to 72F (2o to 22C) for a period of time anywhere between 12 and 48 hours. For brewed coffee lovers, the long process is worth it since it extracts the maximum amount of flavor from the grounds.

    Iced coffee should retain the flavor that was extracted during the short brewing process, if the coffee is not left to chill for too long, which will lead to oxidation. If it is simply poured over ice to quickly chill before being served, the resulting flavor should quite literally be just the cold version of your regular cup of Joe.
    Brewed coffee, by nature of its brewing process, has a sweeter, lighter and milder flavor than regular coffee, and can therefore be classified as a concentrated yet “acquired taste.” You can experiment with different beans and steeping times to find your best flavor, and in the end, it can be a much smoother alternative than regular or iced coffee.

Photo Credit: Equilibrium Intertrade FB Page

Since caffeine content in either option is considered to be a wild card, deciding which option is right for you is up to the factors mentioned above. Cold brew is a much longer process, but results in a lighter, smoother, and milder outcome. If you find the taste of coffee to be overwhelming, bitter, or need to drown it out with heaps of cream and sugar, the longer wait time may be well worth it. However, if you like your coffee with a strong flavor kick, and appreciate the resulting bitterness, go for the tried and true method of pouring it over some ice, sticking a straw in it, and enjoying the welcome cool off. There is no right or wrong here - it’s all just a matter of preference!

Note: This article was contributed by Sally. Sally used to power her mornings with stiff coffees, even though she switched a demanding day job for looking after her kids and writing for a living, she enjoys a good brew with a good book whenever she can.

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