Posts tagged ‘coffee’

December 18th, 2011

I love the smell of cold brew in the morning

The apparatus

Toddy Cold Brew SystemWhat $20 worth of coffee grounds looks like*if you click on the photos, it will do an in-line lightbox slideshow of all three photos

Here at FFTF, cold brew doesn’t refer to alcohol, but rather a coffee brewing method. I have two mutually exclusive long-standing problems:

1) chronic gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD, or “ARGH” as I fondly refer to it); and

2) an on-again, off-again, love-you, hate-you relationship with coffee.

You may already know this, but coffee (and chocolate, alcohol, fatty/fried foods, garlic, onions, spicy foods, tomato-based foods – basically anything delicious) can worsen reflux symptoms. And indeed, whenever my reflux symptoms worsen, usually due to stress, if I cut out coffee and alcohol things improve.

Not drinking alcohol is easy. Not drinking coffee? When, for the past several years, I’ve had high-stress jobs with long, unpredictable hours (a line from the job description)? Or, for the past six months when I’ve been a grad student taking the max class load? Nigh unto impossible.

This is where cold brew coffee comes in. Because cold brew uses lower temperatures to extract the flavor from the beans, the resulting drink can be up to 2/3 less acidic. Since I’m not a huge coffee nut (I can’t perceive “notes of blueberry and bark” if my life depended on it) this is the primary draw. Other coffee enthusiasts (“snobs” depending on your POV) also claim that this method produces a smoother, less bitter, more nuanced beverage. Others say that “it lacks the body and complexity of flavor” that hot brew methods produce. I’m willing to compromise a bit on complexity if it means that acid stays in my stomach where it belongs, and not in my throat.

A few places near me produce excellent cold brew, like Cafecito Organico and La Mill. However, at almost $5 a pop, this is an expensive habit, and most places only do cold brew for iced drinks, so if it’s cold and I want a hot drink I’m throwing the dice with my reflux. So I recently bought a cold brew system, the Toddy T2N, bought some Bliss Espresso beans from La Mill on the barista’s recommendation (supposedly they use the espresso roast to make their cold brew), found an excellent pictorial walk-through since the manual instructions were rather minimalist, and gave it a go.

For details about the results, read more »