When you purchase cold brew coffee, there is an assumption that it is only for consumption in that form. The name cold-brew would suggest drinking it cold.
However, while altering the form of many coffee beverages means they become undrinkable, with cold brew, this isn’t the case. There is some leeway to enjoying a cup of cold brewed coffee that is not so cold. In this article we consider how to heat up cold brew coffee.
The coffee world continues to add drinks to its long list of delicious beverages. Cold brewed coffee is one that is unique. It is smooth, dark and tasty and has become the coffee beverage of choice for many a coffee drinker.
Cold brewing tends to come in a form that is concentrated so it offers a lot of flexibility while maintaining its bold and strong flavor. Cold brew isn’t actually the name of a cold beverage, it is the name of the process that makes that beverage.
The cold brew process means that coffee beans are soaked in water that is cold instead of hot, so the flavor is brought out. This soaking process takes longer than the hot water process but is able to bring out all the caffeine flavor available from the beans.
It can take anywhere from 12-18 hours to complete. In addition to drawing out flavor, it also leaves some of the bitterness in the bean, so the overall flavor is smooth and enjoyable.
The Beginnings of Cold Brew
It isn’t clear where cold brew originates from but the earliest indication of coffee being produced with cold water was found in Japan in the 1600s with cold coffee called Kyoto coffee. It also has a history in New Orleans as well.
However, it really didn’t become a mainstream treat until it hit the mass market through places such as Starbucks in 2015. It is now available almost anywhere you can buy coffee products. Cafés, grocery stores, specialty stores and more.
Don’t Confuse Cold Brew with Iced Coffee
If you aren’t someone that regularly drinks cold brew, be aware of deceptive packaging. Cold brew and iced coffee are two different things. They are made differently and taste different as well.
Iced coffee begins as a hot product and is then cooled in a fridge or poured into a cup over ice once it is brewed. It is brewed using hot water in contrast to cold brew coffee.
Cooling hot coffee to make it into its iced coffee form has some limitations. Pouring cold coffee over ice can dilute the coffee flavors as well as adding a water-downed taste.
In contrast, cold brew coffee is made by steeping the beans in cold water. The coffee's flavor is bold and strong. There is no heat involved. This brew method offers a unique taste that only cold brew can give. It is smooth, has reduced bitterness and is almost chocolatey in its flavor profile.
Heating Your Cold Brew
Since cold brew comes in a form that is concentrated, the drinker simply needs to add some water to dilute it enough to make it taste like regular coffee. Its strength can be adjusted by the amount of water that is put in. There are a few ways to do this.
First make a large batch of cold brew for use throughout the week. Using the cold brew concentrate as a basis for your hot coffee makes a cup of regular coffee easy to prepare. You simply make the batch and then add water to each serving.
Adding Cold Water
Once diluted you can heat the cold brew on the stove. This is the optimal way of getting the cold brew to a warmer temperature. The slow heat will bring out the flavor of the coffee without scalding it. Using a small saucepan on a lower heat will prevent burning and a reduction in flavor.
Adding Hot Water
Aside from using the stove, you can also heat cold brew coffee by boiling water and then adding it direct to the concentrate. If you heat up a little bit of extra water, you can use that to heat the cup to keep the coffee brew warm for longer as well.
Preheating will make sure that the coffee is heated more gradually as it will warm up to the cup before the hot water is poured in.
Last and probably least desirable is the microwave. While it is quick and gets your coffee heated, you are going to miss the slow heat up and release of all the flavors.
However, it will get your coffee warm in no time and is easy to do when you are in a hurry to get going. It may take a little experimenting to make sure the temp is exactly right each time.
Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee? The Final Word
Any time you reheat a drink of any kind, it changes some of the compounds. In the case of cold brew, there are some chemical reactions that will occur with the heat that may change the taste in a small way.
The heat means that the compounds in the coffee will react to oxygen and the flavor will break down quicker. The cold water of a cold brew has reduced the oxidization of the molecules within the coffee so when it is heated up, the ageing is slower.
The taste may change a little but not as much as if you reheat coffee that was heat brewed.
Overall, knowing you can heat up a cold brew coffee means you are getting good flavor and adjustable coffee strength as well. You can pick your brew, your heat level, your strength and flavor of the brew you want to enjoy.
Heating up your cold brew coffee is not only possible but a great idea as well. It is an easy way to make a quick cup of tasty coffee without a lot of fuss.