If you’ve set foot in a trendy coffee shop in the last few years, you’ve probably encountered cold-brew coffee. This cooler cousin of your everyday cup of joe is steeped without heat, leading to a smooth, low-acid brew that’s perfect for sipping under a market umbrella on a warm summer day. Given cold brew’s rich body and crowd-pleasing flavor, you might wonder why it hasn’t yet sent the standard iced Americano off to cold storage. Here’s the thing: Compared to the house drip, French press or even the fanciest of espresso drinks, cold-brew coffee takes a hot minute. Okay, make that a hot day.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The secret to cutting that 12-hour brew time down to about the length of a summer blockbuster is already sitting right on the coffee-shop counter. You know those handy whipping siphons baristas use to put the finishing touches on your mocha? They’re not just for cream. At ChefSteps, we use them to whip up everything from fresh sodas to cocktail toppers to silky-smooth sauces. And they’re the key to our technique for steeping a rich-bodied cold-brew coffee in as little as two hours. Here’s how we do it.
What You’ll Need
First off, get yourself a quart-sized whipping siphon—they’re easy to find online or in specialty cookware shops. Don’t forget to pick up a few packs of cartridges for it. This technique requires three nitrous oxide cartridges, also sold as cream chargers.
Next, round up some whole beans, filtered water, a coffee grinder, and a coffee filter. Finally, find something to support the filter, such as a coffee cone, Chemex, or other pour-over equipment.
Quick Cold-Brew Coffee
Time: 2 hours
100 g (3 ½ oz) whole coffee beans
500 g (17 ½ oz) filtered water
Grind the beans. The ideal grind is a matter of taste, but on your first try, aim for medium-coarse grounds—about the size you’d use for a drip coffee.
Pour the grounds and water into your whipping siphon, and screw on the lid. Charge with three nitrous oxide cartridges. To charge, twist off the cartridge case, insert a cartridge, and replace the case. Wait for the hissing sound to stop before adding another cartridge.
Gently swirl the siphon. Be careful not to shake it or turn it upside down; you don’t want to get grounds stuck in the valve. Stick the siphon in the fridge, and set a timer for two hours.
When the timer goes off, it’s time to filter your coffee. Holding the siphon upright, press the lever to release the gas. Unscrew the lid, and pour the coffee through your chosen filter.
Now you have a choice: Despite the name, you can drink cold-brew coffee either hot or chilled. For a warm brew, use hot water to dilute the concentrated coffee to the strength you like. For a refreshing summer drink, dilute with cold water and pour over ice. Or get adventurous and swap in cold brew for the hot stuff in your favorite recipes. Can’t decide? Go ahead and brew up another batch. After all, it won’t take all day.
ChefSteps is a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers, and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. Learn more at ChefSteps.com.