What is Cold Drip Coffee and How is it Different?
While cold drip and cold brew both have the word ‘cold’ in their names they're two totally different brewing processes (a little like how pour-over and French press are very different processes). Even if you used the same coffee beans each will deliver a different end result.
I’ve never heard of cold drip coffee – is it a new method of brewing coffee?
Funnily enough it’s actually quite an old coffee brewing method.
It’s thought that a version of cold drip coffee originated with Dutch sailors in the 17th century.
Open flames were forbidden on ships, so the Dutch sailors had to find inventive ways to be able to transport and drink coffee on their long voyages.
They experimented with brewing coffee with cold water, and consequently this is how the first cold drip coffees were made. They were subsequently introduced to the various countries the Dutch sailors travelled to.
So even though it has a long history it’s still very much growing in popularity. In 2017 the global market value of cold extracted coffee was $435 million, and by 2023 it’s expected to reach $1.9 billion.*
Image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
What is cold drip coffee?
Cold drip coffee is produced by slowly percolating chilled filtered water through freshly ground coffee over many hours. The water flows through the coffee drip by drip, and the extract is directed into a collection vessel. With the cold drip process the coffee grounds are never soaking in their own infusion an important differentiation with cold brew coffee.
As heat is not used at any part in the process, cold drip can successfully extract a sweeter flavour from the coffee bean. It can highlight the deepest of chocolates, caramels and spices or the lightest fruit with a texture unlike other brewing method.
This slow and gentle extraction has a massive effect on the final flavour of the coffee, as chilled water will extract less fatty oils and acids than hot water and results in a less bitter, and therefore sweeter coffee.
The cold drip process is very technical requiring precise control of water distribution, flow rates and temperature for the best results.
Why we chose to make cold drip coffee (and started Dark City Foundry😊)
We love the deep rich smooth flavours of coffee and think that cold drip does the coffee bean justice by extracting all these flavours. With our cold drip you will taste caramel, dark chocolate and almond.
There are so many variables that will affect the final flavour including grind, dose, extraction rate, extraction temperature, water quality, roast profile and, of course, the coffee bean itself. With cold drip coffee we find we can better control these factors to get the exact same flavour for each batch we make.
There is sometimes a stigma associated with black coffee, as we’ve all had that way too bitter black coffee and many people dismiss black coffee for this reason. But with cold drip coffee you won’t find that bitterness, and so you don’t need to add milk and sugar to your coffee to mask it. Instead you find an interesting, sweet coffee where you can truly appreciate the flavour.
Our original cold drip system!
If you’re still confused as to what the difference between cold drip and cold brew coffee is think of it this way - cold brew is generally a lot lighter, compared to cold drip, which is more intense and concentrated.
Both are less bitter and acidic than a hot brew and it’s estimated that cold drip coffee has around a third of the amount of acid found in a hot coffee. This is because the use of cold water extracts fewer fatty oils and acids from the coffee, which in turn means the taste is less acidic and bitter than a hot coffee.
Finally, coffee is all about personal preference and what flavours you personally like. As not all chocolates are the same, that’s also true about coffee.
Our tip is to try a few different cold varieties before passing judgement (though we are biased and think you’ll love Dark City Foundry the most 😉).
If you have any other questions about cold drip coffee or Dark City Foundry, we would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or just slide into our DMs.
Disclaimer: The information above is based on the author's own research and represents her opinions.