The Difference Between Hot Coffee and Cold Brew Coffee
Coffee enthusiasts can acquire coffee in several ways; cold brew, iced or traditional hot coffee. It is composed of different compounds, which include oils, sugars, and aromatic compounds. These compounds break down or oxidize naturally. However, adding heat would speed up the process, thus the difference between hot coffee and cold brew coffee.
Most people are familiar with hot coffee. In fact, cold brew coffee has gained popularity recently. Almost every coffee shop, from Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks to your local mom and pop coffee shop is now serving cold brew coffee, iced and traditional hot coffee.
The equipment used to brew hot coffee are widely known, such as the French Press, the Moka pot, and the Chemex, just to name a few. This equipment, together with other hot brew techniques, all involve passing hot water over coffee grounds. The results lead to liquid coffee, which is then separated from the grounds using a filter.
On the other hand, cold coffee brewing calls for more patience. In a Toddy system, French press or Mason jar, coffee grounds mix first with water at room temperature. This mixture sits from three to 24 hours or so. The solids are then filtered out.
Cold brew coffee recipes require a higher coffee to water ratio. For example, in cold brewing, one part coffee needs four parts water while in hot water brewing. Brewing two ounces of coffee requires eight ounces of water. In other terms, 1 cup of water requires four tablespoons of coffee grounds. After the removal of the coffee grounds, a black coffee concentrate is left behind, which is then thinned or diluted with milk or water, before being served.
The differences between the two types of brewing methods are easy to understand. Hot coffee produces a sweet aroma. It also comes with acidity and a bite. On the other hand, cold coffee produces condensed coffee, which is sweet and smooth. However, you need to have an understanding of coffee grounds, before you can differentiate the flavors.
Coffee grounds contain a mixture of non-volatile and volatile compounds, such as acids, oils, and certain aromatic molecules. When found in coffee grounds, they are known as coffee solubles. They play a huge role towards the coffee flavor.
Coffee brewing extracts these components from the coffee grounds. A coffee beverage is a mixture of water and coffee solubles. Since coffee grounds are used during both techniques, what brings out the main difference is time and temperature.
Temperature And Time
Temperature mainly affects the volatility and solubility of these solubles. When it comes to brewing, solubility refers to how the solubles dissolve out of the coffee grounds into the water while volatility describes their vaporization ability.
Coffee solubles usually dissolve best at temperatures of around 195-205F. When more solubles are extracted, the coffee is referred to as full-bodied. Full-bodied coffee is flavorful. In addition to that, since there is high volatility in high temperatures, the coffee aromatics are more readily released, resulting in that delicious and fresh coffee scent or flavor.
On the flipside, degradation and oxidation occur mostly at higher temperatures. Apart from that, the oils present in the coffee oxidize fast at higher temperatures, giving it a sour taste. Acids also degrade at elevated temperatures, causing coffee to have a bitter taste. Although cold brew coffee lacks in temperature, it compensates for that with the time taken during the brewing process.
Coffee solubles don’t readily dissolve in room water temperature. When you increase the brew time to a few hours, you maximize extraction of solubles from the coffee grounds. Even after 24 hours, cold brew coffee will not be fully extracted, that is why you need to double the grounds.
Cold water is sometimes labeled as flat due to the lower yield of coffee solubles. Additionally, cold brew coffee has lesser volatility. Meaning that aromatics don’t escape easily. It is popular for people who prefer less perfumed coffee.
These are just some of the differences between hot coffee and cold brew coffee. Whether you are a fanatic of cold brew or traditional hot coffee, as long as there is caffeine in the coffee, everything is mellow.
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