If you’ve ever spoken to a real coffee snob, you know there are certain things you just don’t do to tasty coffee. Because of the reverence surrounding cold brew, some people get the idea that cold brew is a brew “best served cold” (for all you Star Trek nerds out there). This could not be further from the truth.
Read on to learn how to heat cold brew coffee.
What Is Cold Brew?
Because cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water, the cold brewing process takes a lot longer (12 hours) than hot-brewed coffee, and certain solubles in the ground beans don’t dissolve like they would in hot water.
This results in lower acidity and gives your brew a sweet, smooth taste.
Contrary to what you might think, heating a cold brew doesn’t interfere with its smooth flavor. Cold-brew refers to how this type of coffee beverage is made, not how you drink it. Once you brew it cold, you can do whatever you want with it, within reason.
What You Will Need
Because cold brew coffee brews for so long, the result is a very concentrated form of coffee. You don’t want to drink your cold brew straight out of the pitcher or oversized Mason jar.
When people drink cold brew, they usually mix the concentrated coffee with cold water, milk, or cream.
Your cold brew takes its sweet time steeping, but once that step is finished, you have coffee that is ready to drink almost instantly. If you want to drink your cold brew hot, you can find everything you need around the house. You will need:
- Cold-brew concentrate
- Your favorite coffee cup or mug
- A heat source (read on for details)
How to Heat Cold Brew Coffee
There are several different heating methods for a coffee lover to heat their cold brew, and most of them don’t involve chemistry equipment or sorcery!
Use a Microwave (Like a Normal Human Being)
There’s an almost cult-like reverence for cold brew these days, so I’m sure you thought zapping it in the microwave was against the law or something. Granted, it’s not the best option.
You might sacrifice some of the subtle flavors using a microwave, but when you need hot coffee, you need hot coffee.
When you’re in a hurry in the morning and want some smooth, sweet, non-acidic coffee to warm you up, the heating process doesn’t have to be complicated. Just because it’s cold brew doesn’t mean there’s a hoity-toity way to heat it.
Add Hot Water
If you’re going to dilute your cold coffee with water or milk, don’t put the cold brew in the microwave directly. Fill your mug halfway with water, microwave it to boiling, and then add your cold brew concentrate.
This way, your drink is warm, but not so hot that you have to wait to drink it.
Use an Electric Kettle
You can also use boiling water from an electric kettle and add it to your cold brew. This method is slightly more precise than using a microwave since you know the water has reached boiling temperature.
Don’t warm up the cold brew in the kettle directly. That will just cause a mess in your kettle.
Use the Stove
This is another option for warming up your cold brew if you don’t want to dilute it. Put your cold brew into a pot or saucepan on medium heat. Be careful not to heat it for too long, though. The coffee will burn and have a bitter taste.
Because the cold-brewed coffee is heated gradually using the stove, the compositions of acids in the coffee will change slightly.
This can alter the coffee flavor, but it shouldn’t bother you unless you have the palette of a professional sommelier. Finally, something my dull and uncultured taste buds are good for!
Does cold brew have more caffeine content than regular coffee?
Because cold brew coffee is made with a higher ratio of coffee-to-water than regular hot-brewed coffee, it tends to be stronger and has higher caffeine levels than a hot brew.
So, the answer to this question has more to do with the number of ingredients than the brewing method. Also, we often dilute cold brew coffee, which evens out the amount of caffeine per cup.
Considering these factors, cold brew beverages often contain less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.
How long can I keep cold brew concentrate in the refrigerator?
If you keep it undiluted, cold brew coffee concentrate can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, though it will start to lose that bold flavor after the first week. If you’re the kind of coffee enthusiast I am, you won’t have to worry about that.