Cold brew coffee – what is it and is it any good?

While it may seem odd to review a singular type of coffee instead of a cafe, I’ve been hearing about cold brew coffee for some time now and finally got to taste my first one on a sunny day at the Southbank. While I’m sure that this one cup won’t be representative of all cold brew coffees, I still thought I’d share my views for those thinking of giving it a whirl.

Chill out this summer with cold brew coffee

Chill out this summer with cold brew coffee

What is it?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Instead of making your iced coffee by brewing a normal coffee and chilling it, you brew the coffee at room temperature for a longer period of time – usually over 12 hours. This technique is meant to provide a less bitter brew due to the lower acidity. What your brew at hotter temperatures, it causes a chemical reaction producing different types of acids. Cold brew doesn’t do this.

The cold brew was pre-prepared and held in glass bottles

The cold brew was pre-prepared and held in glass bottles

Is it any good?

It actually was rather good. Brewed using Dumerso Ethiopian coffee, the flavour was strong, sweet and deep. As there was no added milk or sugar, as you’d get from a chain iced coffee, the beans were really give room to shine. It also had that coffee kick, which I was not expecting, but without the acid bite of espressos. The one thing I might suggest is something I saw online – coffee ice cubes. This way you’re not watering down you brew anymore than you need to. Although, I’m not sure what this would do to the taste of the coffee.

Will it catch on?

Will it catch on?

Will it catch on?

I’m not sure. Is it different enough from a standard iced coffee to justify the 12-hour brewing or is it just another gimmick? I guess it depends on how much you like coffee. For the aficionados out there I’m sure they’re overjoyed at the chance to have their favourite beans on a hot summers’ day, but for the masses I’m not sure they’ll understand why it’s any different from an iced coffee. Though, as the price was only £2.30 a cup, I’m sure that people would be willing to take a punt and find out.

My coffee came from an excellent little red van at the Southbank market. Sadly, the van did not have a name so I cannot credit them here. If anyone recognises it, please let me know.

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