My caffeine habit had started to sneak back up. My overall energy level had dropped and my sleep wasn’t as restful. I needed to detox or at least a caffeine vacation.
A replacement or swap for my beloved afternoon tea and coffee was needed ASAP. My first thought is to think of a similar satisfying beverage. While I love Chameleon Cold Brew coffee, it’s only available caffeinated. So my quest for a decaf cold brew began.
Why Decaf Cold Brew?
Quick clarification: Cold Brew is NOT the same as iced or chilled coffee. Cold Brew coffee beans have not been exposed to heat to brew the coffee.
Cold brew offers several advantages over regular coffee.
- It’s less acidic. Cold-brewing changes the chemistry of coffee. When coffee grounds are exposed to hot water, it releases oils that are not released at lower temperatures. It’s these acidic products that make coffee taste bitter.
- Better tasting. When you remove the bitter flavor, the nuances of a high-quality bean can easily be detected and savored. You know how you see poetic descriptions on the bags of coffee beans with terms like vanilla notes or smoky? I could never detect those flavors when I drank hot brewed coffee. Surprisingly, with cold brew I can savor those more delicate flavors.
- It’s gentler to your stomach and teeth. Less acid means it’s easier on your stomach and your teeth. I used to rely on cream to help buffer the acid from the coffee on my digestion. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a little cream in your coffee (which contrary to popular belief is not the same as half-and-half. Half-and-half is half milk and half cream).
- Decaf joy. You won’t find yourself relying on that caffeine hit to get you moving but you still get some of the benefits of drinking coffee. Read more about the benefits of decaf coffee here.
- Saves time. Brew once and drink for a week! Cold brew’s flavor is stable since the chemistry doesn’t change during cooling as it does with regular brewed coffee. Have you ever tried to save a portion of brewed coffee in your fridge only to find it’s not drinkable the next day? Cold brew can easily keep in your fridge for several weeks (if you have that sort of self-control which I don’t).
- Anyone can do it! No special equipment is needed although you could try using a specific system for cold brewing like the Toddy.
Here’s how I brew it
I like make a double batch about once a week or so.
- Organic, fresh-roasted decaffeinated Swiss-processed coffee beans
- Filtered water (clean, toxin-free water makes much better coffee)
- Blendtec (but any blender, food processor or coffee grinder works)
- Tightly-woven cheesecloth
- Fine mesh sieve (like this one)
- Measuring cup
- Glass jar with lid
- Glass bottle to store finished brew
- Large bowl
- Coarsely grind 1 cup of coffee beans (about 8 ounces) until it looks like gravel.
- Add ground coffee to the glass jar.
- Add 2.5 cups of filtered water and stir well so that the grounds are wet.
- Cover and let sit at room temperature (unless it’s a hot – over 80F) for 12 to 18 hours. I generally let mine brew for about 24 hours. You can also place this in the fridge if your home is warm.
- Take a cheesecloth (or coffee filter) and line a sieve over a large bowl.
- Stir the coffee mixture and strain through mixture over the filter into the bowl.
- You cold brew decaf coffee is ready drink.
- This cold brew is concentrated so you can either add water, ice and/or heavy cream when you ready to prepare a serving or drink as is. You can also warm up a cup if you prefer. Just be careful not to overheat it. This should keep quite well in the fridge for about 3 weeks.
Are you inspired to try my Decaf Cold Brew?