Experiment Number 2 in Cold Brew Coffee

5 04 2015
I first got into cold brewing after a visit to a tea shop in Hong Kong which suggested I could drench my tea leaves in cold water to let them soak before dunking them into hot water. I liked the flavour that produced and my further online reaearch suggested that I could actually go all the way and cold brew tea by soaking tea leaves in a cup overnight in a fridge. That produced a perfect flavour profile (strong, but just short of acidic) for a tea I got from Taiwan. It was convenient too, because I could leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours and drink it,  without having to pay attention to how long I was brewing it while heating the water.
I tried the cold brew experiment a month or two back with a bag of ground coffee from Highlander. I watched a couple of youtube videos, including the one on Jamie Oliver’s channel. I emptied an entire 250g of ground beans into the jar and topped it up with abotu 750 mls of water. I let the jar sit in the fridge overnight before the excruciating process of filtering the ground from the finished product. I used multiple Boncafe’s filters (the 4-6 cups one)  for the entire batch and ended up with a strong concoction (which, not knowing how to dilute, left me jumpy and tachycardic for the evening) it did keep me up for an entire night of partying though. What’s bothered me so far is how the cold brew (or anything short of a properly, foamy latte) lacks a kind of fullness to the sip, but I’ve given up trying to achieve that.
This time round, I decided to try it again, with the intention of using the coffee concentrate for something else. I used about 100gm of coffee power (Kaffe Kaldi’s French Roast) in around 800mls of water. Let it soak for 24 hours and filtered it out (nothing fancy, just a strainer and 6 pieces of filter funnels, consecutively) to come up with the final product that you see on my instagram. The difference between this batch and the previous one, I recall specifically that the KK grounds sank to the bottom while the Highlander ones were mostly floating on the surface. Again, since I do not recall the previous flavour profile, I can’t say for sure how that might have affected the taste.
Co-incidentally, Coffee:Nowhere was hosting a little fair at West Coast Plaza and had some of their cold brews for sale, so  I decided to buy a bottle for comparison’s sake. I cannot recall how my previous batch tasted like and I’m not the connoisseur to differentiate the subtle notes (apple, cinnamon, freshly cut rubber hose), there was something definitely different. My coffee had some bitter notes that were upfront lasted throughout. The bottled coffee (“Specialty Blend”, but no other details) had a gentler, smooth acidic note to it.
I’m not sure if cold brew is a hugely different beast from hot brew, because I have never made my own hot brew at home from grounds and when I’m buying some outside, I never have it black, nonetheless, having two samples to compare, the bottled once had actual flavour beyond the acidic note, while mine didn’t. I noticed the colours looked different, so I diluted mine a little and it toned down the bitter, but had basically, very little flavour otherwise. In retrospect, I should probably consider using the full 200g next time.
What am I going to do with my home made jar of cold brew coffee? Follow me on Instagram @csjjjj and see for yourself tomorrow.

Next time you see “Revolutionary New Cure for Cancer”

28 05 2013


XKCD Does it again. I do wonder if webcomics are the future to public health. Though this post deserves some explanation with examples in the future.

vodka grapefruit!

28 04 2013

I wonder a lot and I don’t always find answers to my questions, but when I do, it’s fabulous 🙂

Caveat: Ain’t encouragin’ no drinkin’ here. Photo by Vikingfjord US

This is a story of how a bunch of researchers discovered the wonders of Grapefruit. All medics know that grapefruit juice has certain compounds which affect how the body processes certain drugs. I took that for granted until one fine day, I asked myself, “How did they figure that out?”. Did doctors, while taking a history of a patient with some trouble with their drugs, ask if they had soy sauce, maple syrup on their waffles or grapefruit juice for breakfast? Did they then do the same thing with other patients with similar problems and see a pattern? I have rarely heard a physician go into that much detail about diet so I doubted that explanation. I looked up the literature (kidding, I just googled it) and uncovered an interesting story.

Sometime, either in the late 80s or early 90s, David Bailey and his team of Canadian researchers were doing experiments to see if consuming alcohol together with the blood pressure drug felodipine made any difference to the drug’s effectiveness. The participants were split into two groups, one was given alcohol plus the drug, and one, just the drug. To avoid the placebo effect, the experiment needed to be conducted in such a way that the subjects did not know whether they were having alcohol or not.  Turns out one way to do this is to use a mixer. Specifically grapefruit juice, the sharp taste of which would mask the taste of alcohol. When they ran tests on the levels of drug in the subjects’ blood, they found out that the drug levels were way higher than expected, even in the grapefruit juice group.  And that friends, is how we discovered the effects of grapefruit juice.

It turns out that pomelo and lime juice can also affect drug processing, while orange juice seems safe.