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#98144 - 06/16/08 07:53 AM cold-brewed coffee concentrate
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
Several years ago, there was some discussion of this coffee brewing method. A recent discussion about food odors from dried coffee inspired me to post a recipe and revisit the topic.


Cold-brewed coffee concentrate

[at-home preparation]

formula:
x oz coffee (any amount, limited by the size of your brewing container)
x * 2.75 oz water
yield predictor: x * 1.15 = number of ounces of coffee concentrate (weight or fluid ounces--concentrate is similar in density to water).

example:
8 oz coffee
22 oz water (8 * 2.75)
approximate yield: 9 oz concentrate (8 * 1.15)

Directions: Grind coffee to medium-fine consistency and place in sealable container. Measure water and add slowly, being sure to moisten all the grounds. Seal the container and allow to brew for about 24 hours. After the first few hours, pat the side of the container or shake to allow the floating grounds to mix with the liquid. Thereafter, shake occasionally.

Separate grounds by draining through a drip coffee filter (just drain into the carafe). Drain all the grounds, extracting as much liquid concentrate as possible. Store coffee concentrate in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to use.


[on-trail preparation]

For each cup, add 10-12 ounces boiling water to 0.67-1.00 fluid ounces ounce coffee concentrate (=4-6 measured teaspoons, or 20-30ml). Add sugar and/or creamer as desired. ("Iced" coffee is a tasty alternative).


Storage: at home, as noted, in the fridge. On the trail, the concentrate seems stable and not prone to spoilage. I've used it after being out of the fridge for 12 days and it tasted great. Any liquid-tight container will do, although I'm partial to a collapsible Platy if it's a long trip or big group.

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#98145 - 06/16/08 08:19 AM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: azcanyon]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
...continuing thoughts...

I've really liked this method and have found I prefer it to the other options available. I love the convenience of instant grounds, but the "coffee" produced is often bitter and unpleasant. Those tea-bag things do nothing other than turn your water brown. (Okay, to be fair: some of them do add a foul, un-coffee-like flavor to your drink <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> ).

That leaves drip methods and french press. I've never had much success with drip systems on the trail. A french press makes a great cup, without a doubt. The downside is that you need some sort of extra equipment, and after breakfast you have a big mess and the grounds to deal with.

The beauty of the concentrate system is that it has all the convenience of instant, with no extra equipment (baseweight) and no clean up. And if you use the guidelines I provided above, you can approach or even surpass the weight of dried coffee grounds.

It's counterintuitive, I know, because usually we do everything we can to get the water OUT of the food we carry. In this case, however, brewing the coffee beforehand into a concentrated form makes it usuable in an "instant" fashion at a reasonably light weight.

The 0.67 oz figure for a 10-12 oz cup is the same as the weight of dried grounds you would normally use for a french press--and, again, there's no real baseweight for your system. Just the container to store the concentrate.

You could try to use more coffee and/or less water than the guidelines recommended by the formula above, but my (admitedly unscientific) trial and error suggests that it's a lost cause at a certain point: you need a certain amount of water just to moisten the grounds, and if you go below that it just feels like you're wasting coffee.

A couple of final notes: the cold-brewing method has some distinctions that I consider benefits. It tends to be really low-acid compared to hot-brewing methods, and the caffeine levels are a little lower. It makes a really nice cup--full-flavored but still smooth and easy-drinking.


Edited by azcanyon (06/16/08 05:01 PM)

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#98146 - 06/16/08 09:18 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: azcanyon]
BobEFord Offline
member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 72
Loc: SE AZ
Thanks for that coffee concentrate recipe.

I had a co-worker that used to make the concentrate, and I really liked the smooth taste.

I like French Press coffee, too, and have gotten stuck on that at home generally. I want to start the concentrate going as an alternative. Great idea for the iced coffee or blended coffee drinks!

As far as instant goes, I found Nescafe brand from South America to be surprizingly good. I don't know how they mess it up here in the USA.

Agreed on the coffee tea bags having a foul flavor. How can they make it so bad? It must be a product fully supported by caffeine need and not taste.

I like to carry a small Melita kit on the trail. For years, I have been dripping a whole liter into my polycarb Nalgene first thing in the mornings when breaking camp. But, sadly now I find that the great trail taste was enhanced by BPA ;-).

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#98147 - 06/27/08 12:59 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: BobEFord]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Cold-brewed concentrate is common in New Orleans (not so much here in NC). It's easy to make, and you just keep it in the fridge for a quick iced coffee (add water or milk.) Mmm. We make it with the Cafe du Monde coffee/chicory blend, in a big stainless cookpot, and keep the concentrate in a nalgene bottle. Not sure how much water to add -- I'll check when I get home. I drink this all summer long.

Oh, and you filter it (twice) through a fine strainer, NOT a coffee filter -- takes too much of the flavor out. There is some sediment in the bottom of the bottle at the end.


Edited by kbennett (06/27/08 01:00 PM)
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#98148 - 06/27/08 04:41 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: azcanyon]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
The cold brew coffee is all I drink at home. It's also provided me the best coffee I've ever had on the trail. But I mix 1 to 2oz of concentrate to each 8oz cup and that starts to add up in the backpack. These days I'm torn...sometimes I rely on Folgers bags, sometimes I rely on the concentrate. From the worse to the best... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

As far as the system itself -- for around $38 bucks you can get the whole kit from toddycoffee.com but some searching on the 'net will find lower prices.

FB
_________________________
"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

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#98149 - 06/29/08 02:08 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: azcanyon]
drembo Offline
member

Registered: 06/27/04
Posts: 69
Loc: Orange, California

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#98150 - 07/07/08 10:48 AM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: azcanyon]
trailblazer Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/02
Posts: 788
Loc: Menlo Park, CA/Sierra Nevada
Thanks so much for posting this azcanyon! I've gotta give the recipe a shot. I've tried the premade cold brew stuff but didn't much care for it as it tasted like freeze dried, but of course that taste could all be in the coffee they made it with. I'm gonna give this a try asap! It may solve two probs at once...coffee odors and bad brews. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
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www.naturefocused.com

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#98151 - 07/09/08 09:36 AM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: trailblazer]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
You're welcome, tb!

I tend to carry lightweight (12-18lb base weight) loads, not ultralight, so I'm always looking for solutions that weigh about the same but that add convenience, simplicity, or good flavor to my walk.

kbennett wrote
Quote:
Oh, and you filter it (twice) through a fine strainer, NOT a coffee filter -- takes too much of the flavor out. There is some sediment in the bottom of the bottle at the end.

Good note, that. I use one pass through a gold mesh automatic drip coffee strainer; the paper filters take forever. A little sludge ends up at the bottom of my fridge storage container--easy to eliminate if you decant to a secondary container.

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#98152 - 07/18/08 11:14 AM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: azcanyon]
trailblazer Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/02
Posts: 788
Loc: Menlo Park, CA/Sierra Nevada
Any ideas on the preservation of the concentrate? I know it probably should be refrigerated, but I made some last week and left it at room temp, thinking if it doesn't last a week at room temp it won't last on a lengthy trip or a resupply. Well, this morning looking forward to packing it up for a trip this weekend I opened up the container and low and behold, I had floaters (aka mold). <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> I'm stuck with coffee singles this weekend <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Greg
www.naturefocused.com

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#98153 - 07/18/08 03:45 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: trailblazer]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
Ya' might try running the concentrate through a filter. If it takes out the bacteria but leaves the 'coffee' without permanently affecting the filter it's all good... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

FB
_________________________
"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

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#98154 - 07/19/08 10:48 AM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: trailblazer]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1185
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Hmm-

What if you boil the water in a glass jar, let that cool, then add the coffee for "cold brewing?" The coffee may not be sterile, but you would have eliminated most of the microbes in the jar and water, at least. Pour the desired amount for each serving into new baby bottle liners. They come pre-sterized, so they should not be a source of new contamination. I would probably then freeze the sealed bags until the trip for good measure.

It seems like a lot of trouble for coffee. As much as I like and dring it at home, I stick with a cold coffee "latte," or coffee beans mixed with cranberries and chocolate, maybe other stuff, like a breakfast trail mix. That's me, though.

CM

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#98155 - 07/19/08 11:33 AM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: CamperMom]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Hmm-
It seems like a lot of trouble for coffee. As much as I like and dring it at home, I stick with a cold coffee "latte," or coffee beans mixed with cranberries and chocolate, maybe other stuff, like a breakfast trail mix. That's me, though.
CM


I'm in agreement here. "Civilization" means a shower every day, a french press, Breville expresso machine, and good locally roasted fresh beans. (Nope, I'm no high maintenance princess...) If I don't have that, I'm just as happy to drink taster's choice on the trail and save the weight. OTOH I have been known to bring some expensive tea-snob tea on the trail - like some wickedly good gong-fu oolong or the mindblowing japanese sencha I brought back from japan <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Coffee is one of those things that I have to either do completely right - or just the lightest way possible. You might be able to get close with a packable expresso machine but having seen them being brought out of 90 litre bags by the overpacked clueless more than once while I snort and giggle under my breath, I don't think I personally could ever pack one no matter what or the irony of the situation would make me fall over and die on the spot wearing my little princess crown.

However, if you're just interested in having a little more gourmet enjoyment on the trail instead of being coffee snob - go find a good local tea shop and become a tea snob. Good loose leaf tea is much easier to do right on the trail for very little weight than good coffee. It's hard to beat an AGG 3 cup pot full of really nice Gong Fu - but at 70 dollars for a half pound of tea (trust me, it's awesome tea! and a little goes a long way), I think the tea cost me more than the pot! (Hmm. I think my princess is showing again... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> )





Edited by phat (07/19/08 11:45 AM)

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#98156 - 07/19/08 02:36 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: phat]
nimby Offline
member

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 216
Loc: intermountain west
You said the magic word... "sencha"...Where can I get a really nice whole leaf sencha short of a trip tp Japan?

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#98157 - 07/19/08 10:42 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: nimby]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible. I brought back two bags in May that were nondescriptly labeled "fresh tea" from the first pick that absolutely blew my mind. I have half a bag left. I got a japanese friend to mule me over four more when I hosted him
in Edmonton a month later. those bags are now in the freezer sealed up. While I will share
almost anything with the community, not this. sorry. The only way to get your hands on
any of my stash is to go hiking with me, and even then probably only reluctantly if we're
freezing on top of a mountain - and then only if I'm out of red rose or other crappy canadian
tea to keep you from freezing. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Sorry, it's that good.

Basically there is nothing to compare to the fresh tea you can get in japan. You simply
have to go there, or get someone you know to mule you some back over. They certainly
don't export anything that isn't gutter sweepings by comparison.
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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
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#98158 - 07/20/08 01:35 PM Re: cold-brewed coffee concentrate [Re: phat]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
If i ever see that tea in the U.S. of A, i'm gonna dump it in the nearest bay...that's how we roll down here <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Coffee and LIBERTY!

BF <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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