Monday, January 7, 2013

Cold Brewed Coffee

In an effort to overhaul and improve my health I have hopped on (albeit nervously) the wagon that Ryan is driving. He suffers with what we (and doctors) suspect to be chronic gastritis. It’s an inflammation of the stomach lining. He gets debilitating stomach pain on occasion with seemingly no direct triggers. Sometimes he gets it after a day of not eating enough or with too much strenuous exercise.  A month or two ago I had to haul him off to the hospital in the middle of the night because the pain was absolutely crippling him. Research on Dr.Google led us to discover that it could likely be caused from an overly acidic stomach as well as prolonged use of anti-inflammatory medications.

Well now, that’s something we can work with. Ryan uses so much ibuprofen he even has a nickname for them. He calls them “bufers” (sounds like “bewfers”). Upon further evaluation of his diet (and my own) we quickly learned how acidic it’s been. Add to the food consumption the amount of training we do which makes the stomach even more acidic. I don’t suffer from gastritis personally but what’s the harm in making myself healthier?

Let the research and overhaulage begin.

An acidic body needs to be alkalized by reducing acidic foods and increasing alkalizing ones.

I LOVE COFFEE as most of you already know. I’m not ashamed of it. I drink the equivalent to about 3 or 4 a day. It’s  not one thing in particular either. I love the taste. I love that it’s hot and soothing. I love the act of grinding and brewing a good dark bean. The ritual of sitting down with friends. I love waking up to the smell. Neither of us were prepared to cut out coffee. Through our reading we came across something called “Cold Brewed Coffee”. This brewing process leaves the coffee tasting less bitter while at the same time cutting down something like 50-60% of the acidity. Hey, it’s worth a try. We read about some fancy systems that seemed way too complicated for what they really did when we came across a much easier and cheaper method, the French press. Which we purchased for a whopping $12 at Walmart (for the 1L size).

Now it’s not easy to convert a coffee snob like myself. Foldgers? You’ve got to be kidding me. I grind and brew only expensive fresh beans in my kitchen. Yes, I am a snob! The idea of not grinding fresh beans? Eek! What has the world come to?!  I was fully prepared to stick my nose up before even entertaining the idea. However, what's the saying? "don't knock it 'till you try it"? I had to open my mind up with the jaws of life for this one.

The process? 

Put an inordinately large amount of ground coffee (even crappy Costco-sized Foldgers). 1-1/3 cup of grinds for 1L cold water.

Fill with cold water and let sit for 12 to 24hours. We've been doing 24hours.

Plunge, pour and voila! This is the only use my coffee maker has been getting. Filter if you don't want coffee silt. I don't know about you but I don't think I'm getting my future read by coffee silt any time soon.

The finishing product? Concentrated coffee much like espresso. Add some boiling water and you’ve got an Americano (my favourite!). You can make a lot of things out of it too.

It's almost easier than brewing a pot.

Certainly it should taste as nasty as a cup of gas station coffee that was brewed yesterday.

I gingerly sipped the strangely brewed coffee and was surprised. It was smooth and rich. It did not taste like a crappy cup of Foldgers as I had envisioned it would. It did not taste like a fresh brewed Starbucks either mind you. It was certainly less bitter which made it more palatable. Say… I actually LIKED it! There was no jittery gut rot either which was a bonus. The other upside in my mind is that I typically like to drink my coffee with good hearty cream. None of this half 'n half (half assed) cream. However, I prefer the cold brewed coffee black. It's so smooth all on it's own.

The only real downside was seeing my coffee maker turn into a giant paperweight (or a really big filter in this case). I can deal with that I guess if it means coffee that isn't as harsh on my system. A digestive system which has proved to be extremely sensitive over the years. Actually, there is a real downside. Through the process it removes a lot of the acidity but it also removes some of the caffeine. After a couple days of strange headaches we realized why. We felt like idiots for not figuring it out sooner after all the headaches. There’s no harm in reducing our caffeine intake either though.

This is our new home brew process now. I won’t stop getting coffees from elsewhere but as long as I’m at home, it’s cold brewed all the way.


  1. Great info... I'm taking copious notes. I think I may try this at home. Thanks

  2. I'm intrigued. Now I just need to get a French Press (something I really wanted until I bought a Keurig). But if you're drinking a small espresso-size/strength drink, how do you make it hot? I might have missed it, and a microwave just seems like it would ruin it...

  3. I put boiling water with it. Like an Americano which is espresso and hot water. Depending on how strong you want it, just add more or less of the "cold espresso". I'm sure if it's not hot enough you can warm it up in the micro or something.

  4. I only brew in a press! Not for reasons of acidity, but because fresh coffee (the whole beans that you grind yourself) have coffee oils which get trapped in filters. When you use a press, the natural oils remain (you can even see the little oil slick in the cup), and it makes a much better cup! Better for you, too.

  5. Interesting. I have a French Press, but honestly I don't use it much because in the morning I'm so lazy that I just throw grounds and water in my coffee maker and let it do all the work. I may just try this though - just for fun!!

  6. I'm not a coffee guy, but got a kick out of this post. Particularly the picture of the two coffee mugs - the teeny tiny one and the big one. The picture makes it look like the one on the right is HUGE! I thought you were going to say "the one on the left is Ryan's, and the one on the right is mine!" Haha!

  7. Being a fellow coffee lover, I feel like I need to try this!

  8. I know this post is about coffee but I thought I'd throw in a couple more ideas for Ryan's inflamed tummy issues. I was put on an anti-inflammatory diet for 30 days in December 2010 to help heal my totally inflamed digestive system. The dietitian said that gut-healing, acid neutralizing foods include avocados, bananas and canned coconut milk, which you can pour over fruit or put in soups or smoothies. These are now staples in my diet and are my go-to foods when I feel that acidic feeling creeping up.


Due to low life spam monkeys I am forced to moderate comments and I hate it (But I hate spam monkeys more)