Cold brew coffee?

Cold-brew coffee gaining popularity

By Paul Stephen

While the method has been around for centuries, few techniques in the world of coffee preparation have enjoyed a mercurial rise in popularity like cold brewing.

A way to extract much of a roasted bean’s flavorful compounds while leaving behind a considerable portion of acidity, cold brewing involves steeping coffee grounds at room temperature in cool water for as long as 24 hours before filtering. The resultant liquor possesses a notably floral aroma and almost sweet flavor thanks to a different chemical profile leached from the beans.

Strolling through the supermarket’s cold beverages aisle can find precious shelving space muscled away from more traditional items to make way for the booming cold brew trend, one that has seen multiple bottlers set up shop in North Carolina alone. Raleigh-based Slingshot Coffee Company founder Jenny Bonchak entered the market in 2012, and growth has been steady.

“Cold brew has certainly gained some popularity,” she said, noting that many get their first exposure to the product while she’s conducting in-store tasting. “It is, however, apparent that it is still a very new concept for a lot of people.”

Often produced as a rich concentrate that is later diluted, cold-brewed coffee is most visible in the form of iced drinks served on sweltering days. Bonchak said the product has year-round appeal, though. Depending on the strength of concentrate, for a hot cup one only needs to add a portion of brew to near-boiling water to obtain a mixture that is within the range of 160-180 degrees many coffee experts feel is ideal for enjoying the beverage.

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