What is cold drip coffee?
Cold drip coffee is a type of coffee that is brewed by slowly dripping cold water through coffee grounds. Using cold water to brew coffee isn’t new, in fact the Japanese have been doing it since the 1600’s! The cold drip method requires special equipment to be made, but the result is a small 45mL rich tasting espresso style coffee that is less acidic than a hot long black and more caffeinated too. Because of the slow drip method, the flavour in the coffee beans is preserved and has a smoother taste. You can see why Australians love it so much!
How is cold drip coffee made?
Cold drip coffee is made by a slow extraction process that allows the flavours of the coffee bean to fully mature and be released, as opposed to quickly heating coffee grounds for a regular latte. To get a cold drip coffee, icy or cold water is dripped slowly through fresh coffee grounds which absorb as much water as possible before dripping the concentrated coffee into a cup below to be drunk. This process on average takes 12 hours, but can be done is as little as three depending on the desired amount of coffee.
Cold drip coffee requires special equipment - a cold drip tower. It’s a scientific looking set of three beakers or funnels that is not only visually appealing, but makes great coffee.
You can easily make your own cold drip at home if you have a cold drip coffee maker and ground coffee, but it is also served in many cafes in Australia. Because cold drip coffee takes so long to make, cafes who serve it often find themselves with a loyal customer base who come for their caffeine fix regularly, hoping they haven’t sold it!
How is cold drip coffee used?
Cold drip coffee is generally drank, either on its own as an expresso shot or with a splash of milk and sweetener added. It can also be used in cooking! Try it in coffee flavoured cocktails, as a summery twist on an affogato, tiramisu, or in baked desserts, like this choc-espresso slice.
Cold drip coffee vs cold brew - what’s the difference?
Cold drip coffee and cold brew are often confused because they’re both made with cold water but they’re actually not the same! Both have different brewing times, different flavours and produce coffee of different strength.
Cold brew is made by mixing coffee grounds into cold water, letting it sit for 12 hours, and then straining the grounds out with a filter. Cold brew tastes more floral and is lighter in colour and taste. It is then used as a concentrate for black iced lattes or heated on its own. It’s not recommended to add milk to cold brew.
Cold drip as we’ve learned is a similarly slow process, but the grounds aren’t immersed in water and the yield is far smaller. The taste of a cold drip is more full and rich and similar to an espresso.
Both use time rather than heat to extract the coffee notes so are smoother, and both have higher concentrates of caffeine, but they are different things.
How to make cold drip coffee at home
If you’d like to make your own cold drip coffee, you’ll need to start by buying the right machine, a cold drip tower. If you’re handy, you could always DIY one, but it’s far easier to purchase one from a speciality coffee store or online.
Step 1: Grind coffee beans in coffee grinder.
Step 2: Add freshly ground coffee (8-10grams per 100mL of water) to the coffee holder, or middle beaker. This will be under the first beaker.
Step 3: Now add ice cold water to the top filter (amount will be determined by the amount of coffee grounds, see Step 2) and if your cold drip tower has it, set the desired drip speed.
Step 4: Wait 3-12 hours (depending on desired amount of coffee) for all the water from the top beaker to have run through to the bottom beaker.
Note: Once that coffee grounds have been used you can’t reuse them. They’ve already been swelled with water and had all the good stuff extracted. If used a second time, the cold water won’t drip but instead run through to make a pale brown water with a hint of coffee. Throw your coffee grounds in the compost instead!