What's cold brew coffee?
Go into any trendy café and there will be an option for something called a cold brew coffee. This just means the coffee grounds sit in water for a long time to steep, and the result gets filtered to make what's supposed to be a better flavoured (less bitter) coffee.
Typically, a coffee's bitterness can be highlighted from the heat of espresso machines that push hot water through the grounds. To make cold brew, the trendy café will use anything from a bucket and sieve to strange looking pieces of chemistry equipment that do the same thing – but cost a lot more
Ease of use
This is an exceptionally easy machine to use. No electronics means no electric cord. Simply put your coffee grounds (or tea leaves) into the container (sieve), pour in the water and wait. The handy fill limits make it simple to measure your water requirements.
After grinding the coffee for maximum freshness, we used the maximum amount of 250g, which makes 14 servings. We also did a version with 120g of tea, which makes 28 servings. Just remember it's cold brew, which means 12–24 hours preparation beforehand for coffee and 8–16 hours for tea.
Cleaning is simple, and the jar needs to be rinsed thoroughly so as not to transfer flavours. However, we found that water becomes trapped behind the metal rim of the unit.
We first tasted the coffee concentrate after four hours, and found it was a pleasant brew with little bitterness. The mouthfeel was smooth and the aftertaste was pleasant, so a win on all counts. However, after 24 hours we found the concentrate had a bitter taste, a watery mouthfeel and bitter aftertaste. We also tried a diluted version of the 24-hour brew, recommended in a 1:3 coffee/water ratio, but we found it unpleasant as well.
The tea concentrate after four hours was unpleasant with a bitter flavour, the mouthfeel was non-existent and it had a bitter aftertaste. The 16-hour version was not as bad, with a fairly strong tea smell, watery mouthfeel and slightly bitter aftertaste. The diluted version (ratio of 1:7) didn’t have the bitter aftertaste, though it was lacking mouthfeel. The flavour was lacking and was weak overall.
The KitchenAid Cold Brew is an interesting attempt to get into a market. You've probably already realized by now that a sieve and bucket could do the same thing for a lot cheaper, but the KitchenAid throws a nice design into the mix. It's easy to use, and in addition to coffee and tea it can be used to make cocktails and fruit infusions as well. We didn't particularly like the 24-hour coffee brew, but everything else was OK. Ultimately you're paying a premium for a something that looks nice, but could be done with much less cost.
KitchenAid Cold Brew coffee maker – model code 5KCM4212ASX