Cold drip vs cold brew: What’s the difference?
Cold drip and cold brew fall under the category of cold-pressed coffees, which are a little more intense than your usual frappes. They have higher concentrations of caffeine which gives them a richer flavour, much like an espresso. Both of them use cold water and coffee powder, but their key difference is in how they’re prepared.
- Cold brew coffee is extracted from coffee grounds immersed in cold water. It’s highly concentrated caffeine and is served over ice to take away some bitterness.
- Cold drip coffee is cold water that’s been slow dripped through coffee grounds. It uses fewer coffee grounds and can mixed with other additives for a variety of flavours.
Cold brew and cold drip coffee can be made at home (though the latter requires special equipment like a cold drip tower) which makes them great choices for people who aren’t fond of commercial coffee shops.
Why choose drip coffee instead of cold brew
There are three reasons why cold drip coffee can work better for you than cold brew:
- Shorter preparation time. Cold brew typically needs 8 to 12 hours to make, while cold drip can take as little as 1 to 3 hours, depending on the amount you want.
- Lighter and brighter flavour. Since cold brew uses an immersion method, it’s a little more concentrated in taste than cold drip coffee. If you enjoy taking caffeine with milk, a cold drip is the better option.
- Versatile preparation and results. Cold drip coffee requires you to be a little more hands-on than cold brew, but the result is a balanced and rich brew that you can add sweeteners and other flavours.
You need a special machine to make cold drip coffee, but there are tons of affordable drip coffee makers on the market. If you’re wondering where to buy one you can start with your local Big W. Aside from that, a good coffee grinder, cold pure water, and your favourite beans are all you need.
How to make cold drip coffee at home
If you already have a cold drip coffee maker, here is a quick recipe on DIYing your own cold drip:
- Grind some medium-coarse coffee and put it in the holder.
- Check if your filter is in place – remember to use the filter recommended with your machine!
- Fill the water tank with cold water and place it over the coffee grounds.
- Soak your coffee grounds. Pour just enough water to wet your beans so all the grounds make contact. If you don’t do this, the water drops can just tunnel straight down, leaving a lot of the grounds unused.
- Set your dripper value. Most would recommend one drip per second, but you can adjust this value if needed. As the water drains and the flow rate slows down, you can fiddle with this even more.
- After the last drop has gone through the coffee grounds, it’s ready to serve! Enjoy it with ice or put it in your fridge to cool.
The ratio of water to coffee is around 10-1 to 15-1, depending on the strength of the beans you have. Lighter roasts can use less water, while stronger, darker beans need a little more.
It’s important to remember that making cold drip coffee is largely a matter of experimentation. Since it’s more hands-on than cold brew, you need to put in more effort and attention to get the precise flavour you’re after – but the result can be infinitely more rewarding than a simple cold brew concentrate.