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Cold brew coffee: The hot drink for summer

Thursday 6 Dec 2012 7:55 a.m.



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Move over Frappuccinos – there’s a new cold coffee in town and it’s going to be hot this summer.

Several boutique New Zealand roasters have developed “cold brew” coffees in keeping with overseas trends.

The connoisseurs’ take on iced coffee is much purer than the usual sugar-laden beverage.

It is brewed by steeping roasted, ground coffee beans in cold water for eight to 12 hours (sometimes longer), then filtering it before serving.

Most cold brews are designed to be drunk without milk or sugar but roasters say they are easy on the palette even for those more accustomed to flat whites and lattes.

Because the coffee is never heated its chemicals react differently, giving it a milder flavour.

“With cold brew there’s no bitterness. You get a lot of sweetness coming through in the coffee and it’s also less acidic than a standard espresso,” says Mike Murphy, managing director of Auckland-based roaster Kokako.

Mr Murphy began experimenting with cold brews after tasting one at renowned coffee roaster Stumptown in Portland, Oregon. Kokako has released a bottled version in time for summer but with production capacity limited to around a dozen bottles a day, it is struggling to keep up with demand.

The coffee is brewed in 500mL flasks and Mr Murphy says upscaling the specialised equipment is proving a challenge.

“We’re getting close, but we haven’t been able to get it to the stage where we’re happy with the flavour profile,” he says.

For those who still insist on something milkier and sweeter, Peoples Coffee in Wellington has a Cold Flat White – cold-brewed coffee mixed with organic full cream milk and Canadian maple syrup.

The hand-bottled drink has heralded the arrival of summer for fans since 2010 but they too are in short supply, with only 80-100 bottles produced each week.

Peoples Coffee director Matt Lamason says the Cold Flat White has universal appeal because it’s full of flavour but not too sweet.

“I've had lots of people who don't even drink milk coffee start drinking them,” he says.

The limited shelf life of cold brew coffees means they will only be around as long as summer lasts – so fans will be hoping it’s a long one.

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