If you like to drink coffee before your workout but you hate the resulting tummy ache and reflux, you are going to LOVE this post! The secret? Cold brewing. This method yields a delicious cup that has about 70% less acidity than conventional heat-brewed coffee. According to Scott Rao, hot brewing produces a higher amount of chlorogenic acid whereas cold brewing does not. Moreover, as it sits, the chlorogenic acid breaks down into qunic acid which tastes sour. Cold-brewed coffee is smooth, sweet, and delicious. If you like your coffee hot, you can always heat it up directly before drinking and still get the benefits of cold brew.
You can purchase a Toddy system if you'd like, which is expressly designed for cold brewing. However, I prefer to just use my French press. It works just as well and makes for easy straining. Plus, I can also use it for hot-brewing if I want, and it takes up far less counter space than the Toddy. How does it work? Let's get started!
Step 1: Select your coffee beans
You can use any coffee you want; if you're only after the low acidity and don't particularly care about taste or freshness, go ahead and use pre-ground Folger's. I am pickier, though, and I want a cup of coffee that I can really appreciate. I buy all my beans from Buddy Brew which is a local coffee roaster. They display a "roasted on" date on their retail beans, and usually they were only roasted a day or two prior to my purchase. Try to find a local coffee roaster if you're into that sort of thing; additionally, Buddy Brew sells some of their beans for shipping. I like to experiment, but I've had consistently good results from Columbian or Brazilian beans. Columbian coffee has kind of a nutty, caramel-y flavor and Brazilian beans have some chocolatey notes.
Step 2: Grind your beans
I like to grind my beans immediately prior to brewing. A cheapie whirly-blade grinder is fine for cold brewing because the grounds have all sunk to the bottom by the time it is done anyway (for regular French press brewing, you need a special coarse grind from a burr grinder or the resulting coffee is very muddy). I grind it to a pretty fine powder for this.
For a regular-sized French press (mine is 1.2 quarts) I use 2/3 cup of coffee beans. This makes a very concentrated brew to which I add additional water before drinking. So grind up about 2/3 cup of beans and then dump the grounds into the bottom of your French press.
Step 3: Add water and stir
Pretty self-explanatory. Fill it up most of the way with water. Use filtered water if you hate the taste of your tap water. If you like the taste of your tap water then it will be fine in coffee. Stir it up well; I use a chopstick.
Step 4: Stir again
After 10 minutes or so the coffee will have formed a raft of grounds at the top, like this:
Just stir those in. If you are using very freshly-roasted beans, this will yield a thick tan layer on top called the crema.
At this point I like to rinse off any grounds that have stuck to the carafe above the coffee, but that's up to you.
Step 5: Let it sit overnight (I like to steep for 12 hours)
I just put the plunger on top but I don't press it down. If you lack vertical space, you can just cover it with plastic wrap or buy a cold press that comes with a seperate lid.
Step 6: Filter and drink!
With a French press, you filter simply by depressing the plunger. If you used my suggested amount of coffee beans, you will want to dilute at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of water or milk to coffee. I use my homemade So Delicious coconut milk, particularly because I like to get some MCTs pre-workout! I use a 1:1 ratio of coconut milk to coffee, but then I also add ice cubes which dilute it further.
Enjoy, and train hard!