Have you jumped on the cold brew coffee train yet? This trendy new way of drinking coffee is more than just a fad - in our opinion, the coffee tastes noticeably better, especially during the hot summer months when our craving for iced coffee is at its peak.

So what exactly is cold brew and what makes it different from regular brewed coffee? We talked with Matthew Snyder, President of Growl Cold Brew Coffee, made locally here in Washington, DC.

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How is the process of making cold brew different from regular coffee?

Regular coffee is made with hot water - usually right around 205 degrees. The heat in the water quickly extracts the solubles in the ground coffee. The result is a delicious cup of HOT coffee. If you attempt to chill the coffee you will end up with a bitter taste in the cup. This is often the result of high levels of acid in the coffee. These acids can taste great in a hot cup, but are off putting in an iced one. Cold brew coffee is different in that you use cold water instead of hot. The grounds are immersed in the cold water - much like a french press - and steeped for upwards of 24 hours. The cold water slowly extracts the solubles in the coffee but does not extract up to 70% of the acids that hot water does. 

How does this process affect the taste of cold brew?

The reduction in acids via cold brewing results in a smoother and sweeter cup of iced coffee. It is not uncommon for a good cold brew coffee to taste chocolaty and nutty. In addition cold brew is most commonly brewed at concentrated strength. This affords a great deal of flexibility in adjusting the level of intensity of caffeine in your cup. 

Growl

What is the most noticeable difference between cold brew and (iced) coffee?

There are tons of ways to make great iced coffee. One popular way is called Japanese Method where the hot coffee is brewed into a container filled with ice. The wrong way is to simply make hot coffee and then let it get cold by just sitting in the refrigerator. The results of this method will simply taste like old stale coffee - because it is.
 

What is the best way to drink cold brew?

Cold brew is best enjoyed by filling a glass with ice, filling it half way with cold brew concentrate and then topping it off with water, milk or milk substitute, and then give it a quick stir. We have also been know to add a little homemade lavender/honey simple syrup.

Read more about cold brew coffee:

Coffee's Dirty Little Secret via The Daily Beast

Why All the Buzz About Cold Brew Coffee via Well+Good

Visit your local Whole Foods, grocery store, or even Starbucks and grab a cold brew!