More Cold Brew

July 19, 2013

We started down our cold brew path a few weeks ago when the weather was super hot here in Oakland (92°F is considered unbearable in these parts). The weather is cooling down for now but we are still playing around with cold brew recipes. One of our staff was generous enough to bring in her Yama drip tower so we have been trying not to spend too much time staring at it as it brews one drip at a time from a reservoir 2 feet above the tabletop. We also set up the DIY Aeropress/plastic bottle dripper to compare something expensive to something affordable. Click here to read more about the Aeropress dripper that we was inspired from Prima Coffee’s blog.

Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars for a fancy drip tower. Consistency. Rigging your own DIY cold brewer can lead to issues that get in the way of dialing in your brew. For one, the tiny hole in the lid of a bottle can strangely vary in size each time you brew. We think just the cold water alone can shrink the hole and slow things down to a standstill. Sometimes the clog is caused by a fray of plastic from the pinhole, a rogue coffee grind or a piece of dust. Trying to open it up a bit with a pin or steak knife just adds to the mid-brew frustration. In all fairness, the bottle method works most of the time, it’s just frustrating to continually check on it.  The brass spigot and all-glass funnel system of a real cold drip system add a lot of certainty when you walk away from the brewer for a few hours.



turning the spigot knob is a lot easier than messing with a tiny hole on the cap of an upside-down bottle

The results from the two drip systems were different. The drip tower produced a very even cup, meaning there were no surprises during the initial sip and there wasn’t an unusual aftertaste. The Ethiopia Sidama Deri Kochoha we used in both brewers was roasted light but the tower really brought out roast flavors. We think compensating by using more water or roasting even lighter might improve the cup.

The Aeropress method produced a sweeter cup both in the aroma and in the coffee itself. With a strong, fruited flavor up front and a sweet finish, it wasn’t as consistent as the flavors coming from the Yama tower.


making cold brew with the Aeropress is affordable but a little high maintenance

 The Yama Drip Tower Method (about 5 hours to complete)
-8cups water and ice (equals about 1893g)
-45g coffee (Ethiopia Sidama Deri Kochoha)
 The Drip-From-a-Bottle-Into-an-Aeropress Method (about 1 hour to complete)
-200g ice
-300g water
-45g coffee (Ethiopia Sidama Deri Kochoha)



Overall, our thoughts are that cold brewing might lend itself towards coffees that lean in directions of certain flavor profiles. A fruited coffee would probably become fruitier and although we haven’t tried it, a coffee with chocolate notes would probably taste even more like chocolate.
There’s endless variables and no rules (aside from using good coffee) when it comes down to cold brew so we encourage you to get adventurous and develop your own methods.
Stay tuned. We are still exploring the world of cold coffee. In the next episode, we’ll compare the drip tower to hot coffee brewed over ice.