If you've set foot in a trendy coffee shop in the last few years, you've probably encountered cold-brew coffee. This cooler cousin of your everyday cup of joe is steeped without heat, leading to a smooth, low-acid brew that's perfect for sipping under a market umbrella on a warm summer day. Given cold brew's rich body and crowd-pleasing flavor, you might wonder why it hasn't yet sent the standard iced Americano off to cold storage. Here's the thing: Compared to the house drip, French press or even the fanciest of espresso drinks, steeping cold-brew coffee takes a hot minute. Okay, make that a hot day.
It doesn't have to be that way. The secret to cutting that 12-hour brew time down to about the length of a summer blockbuster is already sitting right on the coffee-shop counter. Have you seen those handy whipped cream canisters baristas use to put the finishing touches on your mocha? They're not just for cream. At ChefSteps, we use them to whip up everything from fresh sodas to silky-smooth sauces. And they're the key to our technique for steeping a rich-bodied cold-brew coffee in as little as two hours. Here's how we do it.
What You'll Need:
First, you'll need a quart-sized whipped cream canister -- they're easy to find online or in specialty cookware shops. Don't forget to pick up a few packs of cartridges for it. This technique requires three nitrous oxide cartridges, also sold as cream chargers.
Prepare Your Ingredients
We use a ratio of one part coffee to five parts filtered water to make a concentrated brew. For a quart-sized canister, start with 100 grams (3 ½ ounces) of coffee and 500 grams (17 ½ ounces) of water.
Next, grind the beans. The ideal grind is a matter of taste, but on your first try, aim for medium-coarse grounds -- about the size you'd use for a drip coffee.
Put It Under Pressure
Pour the grounds and water into your whipped cream canister, and screw on the lid. Twist the cartridge case off the top of the canister, pop in a nitrous oxide cartridge, and put the case back on. Hear a hissing sound? That means gas is filling the canister. Once the hissing stops, it's time to add a second cartridge. Repeat with a third.
Once your canister is fully charged, swirl it gently. Be careful not to shake it or turn it upside down; you don't want to get grounds stuck in the valve.
Stick the canister in the fridge, and set a timer for two hours.
Filter, Dilute and Enjoy
When the timer goes off, it's time to filter your coffee.
Holding the canister upright, press the lever to release the gas. Unscrew the lid, and pour the coffee through your chosen filter.
Now you have a choice: Despite the name, you can drink cold-brew coffee either hot or chilled. For a warm brew, use hot water to dilute the concentrated coffee to the strength you like. For a refreshing summer drink, dilute with cold water and pour over ice. For an even more refreshing summer drink, shake it up into a cocktail. Can't decide? Go ahead and brew up another batch. After all, it won't take all day.
Watch for a detailed look at the process: