Suntory Barista Trainer Liam Lever-Ford takes a deep dive into cold brew coffee variations and how they can be easily prepped and presented on a café menu to capture a new wave of drinkers in the summer months ahead.
As hot coffee sales drop in the warmer months, it’s important to be prepared with a cold coffee offering to offset the loss and bring in new customers. Let’s talk about the different varieties of cold coffee beverages that are easy to prepare on your café menu.
A classic iced coffee
An iced latte – espresso served over milk and ice – is the basis for the traditional offering. The addition of ice cream creates the iced coffee and chocolate sauce helps create an iced mocha. These timeless drinks look great and require minimal supplies, nothing more than a tub of ice-cream and tall glasses. Going one step further, here are four cost-effective ways to add modern cold coffee additions to your menu.
The origins of cold brew can be traced back to the 1600s when the Japanese combined methods learned from Dutch traders with their own traditions of cold brewing tea. Cold brew spread across Asia, Europe, and the United States, but it wasn’t until after 2010 that cold filter beverages really started to trend and be seen as a common addition to café menus.
Cold brew can be brewed to drink immediately as is or over ice, or can be brewed as a concentrate depending on the brew ratio. Cold brew is made by grinding coffee very coarsely, then steeping the liquid in room temperature or cold water for extended periods of time. It’s easy to pre-make cold brew in large batches for fast service time in busy peak times.
The method requires eight to 24 hours of brewing time, so forwarding planning and preparation is key before adding this beverage to your daily coffee menu. Cold brew provides a flavour that is smooth and can increase sweetness while decreasing bitterness and acidity. This may dim the flavour profile of very bright and fruity African beans, but it is often seen to enhance chocolate and nutty flavours.
Let’s talk brew ratios – the amount of water used for the weight of coffee. If we take 100 grams of coffee as an example, using one litre of water, it would give us a standard brew ratio of 1:10, one part coffee to 10 parts water. If we used a 1:5 ratio, one part coffee to five parts water, we will get a much more concentrated brew that will shine when diluted with water or milk. Cold brew ratios typically range from 1:5 to 1:15 depending on the desired strength.
There are many commercial cold brew makers on the market at a wide range of price points, starting at as little as $30 and rising. Brewers offer different volume capacities ranging from 500 millilitres to 75 litres or more. Many of the commercial brewers are fantastic and at the higher price points can include sleek stainless-steel designs, refrigerated lines, and nitrogen infusion that creates an even smoother taste and a velvety mouthfeel, which has become popular under the name “nitro cold brew”. Cold brew can also be made with nothing more than coffee, water, paper coffee filters, and a container big enough to hold your desired volume.
Cold Brew method
• A large container
• Paper coffee filter
• 100g of coarsely ground coffee (similar to a pour over or filter grind size)
• 1L of water (filtered water will make a difference, tap water can still produce delicious brews)
1. Add desired brew ratio of coffee and water to container
2. Place in fridge to brew for eight to 24 hours (eight hours is a great starting point, experiment from there)
3. Pour through paper filter such as a V60 or a Chemex filter to remove grounds (remember to rinse the filter beforehand)
4. Store in fridge for seven to 10 days
5. To serve, pour the cold filter coffee over ice in a glass or takeaway cup, or topped with milk. Alternatively, bottle it and display it in the fridge or a container of ice on your benchtop.
Tonic cold brew
Cold brew can also be used as a base for cocktails and creative coffee beverages. The espresso tonic is becoming increasingly popular, but make sure you use some good tonic. Lets’ make one:
• Tonic water
• Cold brew
1. Fill glass with ice
2. Add two parts tonic water
3. Add one part cold brew
4. Garnish with an orange slice.
Flash brewing/Japanese iced filter
Japanese iced filter coffee or flash brewing is a variation of a classic filter drip brewing in which a portion of the brew water is used in the form of ice in the brewing vessel. This is a great way to enhance the current filter offering for summer. It also has the benefit of not requiring any equipment beyond what is needed to make a hot pour over. It simply uses hot water to extract a lot of flavour, while brewing over ice locks in flavour and flash chills the coffee.
• Drip coffee maker
• Large glass or glass carafe (a Chemex pour over coffeemaker combines the first two items)
• Paper filter
• Delicious filter coffee
Ingredients: Ratio = (1:16)
• 25g coffee at a medium-fine grind or ground for drip coffee
• 125g ice
• 275ml water
1. Pre wet paper filter
2. Add 25g of coffee to paper filter
3. Add 125g ice to large glass or carafe
4. Pour 20 to 25g of hot water (96°C) in a circular motion fully wetting the ground coffee. Allow to steep for 30 seconds
5. Pour remaining hot water up to 275g
6. Swirl or stir until ice has fully dissolved
7. Serve over additional ice
Iced batch brew
Brewing a large amount of filter coffee at once, referred to as batch brewing, is a great way to reduce service times on filter coffees. In warmer months, refrigerating these batch brews can provide an easy and delicious offering. There’s no need to alter your recipe but be aware that batch brewed coffee should be consumed within one to three hours of brewing.
Having a delicious cold coffee offering on your menu is one thing, but it’s also important that your customers know about it. If coffee cold is new to your café, it’ll be a new concept to your customers also, so finding ways to promote it via signage, updated menus or encouraging taste testing is key to influencing a new demographic of cold brew coffee customers.
Cold coffees offer a huge amount of opportunity for social media coverage as well, so don’t forget to show off your cold brew creations and watch sales rise.
Find the offering that works best for your café. Experiment to get your brews where you want them. Push and support your offering, make sure to have takeaway options, and be prepared in terms of expected volume so you don’t sell out in an hour on a hot, sunny day.
For more information, visit mocopan.com.au
This article appears in the December 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.