We all know that when you're dragging in the morning and need a quick pick-me-up, a hot cup of coffee is a reliable solution. But what if it's the dead of summer and you don't want to down a hot cup of coffee?
Today, we're going to explore something a little different: cold drip coffee.
What exactly is cold drip coffee? Is it better for you than traditional coffee? And is cold drip coffee the same thing as a cold brew?
We know you have questions, and we'll answer them all for you. If you're already down with cold drip and just trying to find out a little more about your cold brew, or if you're looking to try something completely new - we've got you covered.
Your Guide to Cold Drip Coffee!
If you're even a semi-regular cafe-goer, chances are that you've seen a cold drip coffee machine before.
There are many amazing coffee makers to choose from nowadays, none of which are as visually striking as a classic cold drip coffee setup. The eye-catching three beaker setup that serves as the cold drip coffee maker has become a staple in many coffee shops. Whether you want to try making a cold brew at home for yourself, or just want to pick one up at your local coffee shop - it always helps to know the basics.
Apart from a smoother + sweeter taste and the obvious temperature difference, one of the main drawcards to cold drip coffee for many people is its ease on the stomach and digestive system. That's because, according to Insider, cold brew coffee generally contains up to 70 percent less acidity than a regular cup of java.
Cold drip and cold brew coffee is far less likely to irritate those with IBS other stomach issues that are often exacerbated by espresso and other hot coffee extractions.
How Does Cold Drip Coffee Work?
Cold drip coffee is made by releasing drop after drop of filtered water from the top beaker into coffee grounds loosely packed in the mid-beaker. These water drops slowly work their way through the grinds and then collect as cold drip coffee in the bottom and final beaker. As the water passes through the coffee in the mid-beaker, it draws out all of the delicious flavours and aromas from the ground coffee.
Don't be mistaken - cold drip coffee isn't the same as cold brew coffee, it's a much more refined and delicate method that allows for much more control over your coffee strength and flavour profile.
Just like any cup of coffee, cold drip can be mixed with a wide array of milks, creamers, and other flavour enhancers to make your favourite brew, no matter your style.
Is Cold Drip Coffee Stronger?
The short answer is yes. Cold drip coffee usually has a stronger coffee taste and higher caffeine content per millilitre. The long answer is a little more complicated.
Traditional coffee extracts caffeine by using hot water which generally does so more effectively than cold water. That being said, as cold drip coffee relies on the coffee grounds being in contact with the water for much longer the caffeine has more time to absorb and becomes much stronger. In some cases, the entire process can take up to 24 hours for a single brew!
If you're looking for a full breakdown of how caffeine is extracted from the ground coffee and absorbed into water - check out this great breakdown here.
How Do You Make Cold Drip Coffee?
To make this delicious coffee elixir, you'll need a great bag of coffee and a three beaker tower setup that looks nothing like a regular hot coffee pot!
The Top Beaker
The top beaker holds your cold water and typically a little ice. This beaker controls the drip rate, which varies from recipe to recipe. This a highly specialised piece of equipment and where you really 'dial in' your brew.
The Middle Beaker
The medium beaker holds your coffee filter and ground coffee beans. Typically, medium-grind coffee is used - but you can experiment with finer or more coarsely-ground beans to find the perfect recipe for you!
The rate at which the water drips from the top beaker into this beaker is the main factor that determines your brews strength.
The Final Beaker
The third and final beaker is where all of your filtered coffee goes for collection. Once your cold drip coffee makes it to this beaker, it's ready to be served.
There are tons of cold drip coffee recipes around, so no matter what flavour profile and caffeine content you enjoy, you'll have no problem finding one to suit your preference.
Check out one of the most well-regarded and most-loved cold drip towers on the market below - The Yama Tower
What is the Difference Between Cold Drip and Cold Brew Coffee?
You can make cold brew coffee in a variety of ways, but the most common method is immersion. Instead of having small amounts of cold water run through the coffee beans, the entire mixture gets immersed at once.
Because cold water isn't as effective as hot water at extracting all the flavour and caffeine, a cold brew coffee takes longer to brew. In fact, a cold brew coffee made through immersion typically sits between 12 hours and 24 hours depending on the recipe.
Making coffee through either cold brewing or cold drip is a time-consuming process, but totally worth the wait!
Cold-brewed coffee is a much simpler process than cold drip, but you don't have nearly as much control over the strength or flavour profile. If making cold brew, you won't need to worry about a three beaker setup or get any of the expensive equipment associated with making cold drip coffee - you can make it simply in something like a BOD Brewer, or even just using a clean bucket and filter!
The Cold Drip Wrap Up
If it's a steamy hot day or you're simply finding that regular hot coffee is a bit too harsh on the stomach - cold drip coffee will be your best friend.
As a lover of the 'coffee ritual', I find this a super fun way to make my brew with all of the control I need to get the strength and taste I'm after.
Whether you're swinging past your local cafe or more interested in a home set up - be sure to try a few different recipes to find the right brew for you!