Coffee—it’s a universal beverage, but much more concentrated in Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark (where it’s cold a good percentage of the year.)
Surprised? With the United States and Canada being the no. 2 and no. 3 countries (behind no. 1 Monaco) where Starbucks has entrenched its tentacles, one would think the U.S. would rank way above its no. 35 slot for coffee consumption around the world. Not so, the Scandinavians have us beat by a mile.
Well what about tea, you might ask? Nope, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina take the honors there. The UK, known for its tea devotees, doesn’t even appear in the top 10, and the U.S., well, it doesn’t even make the chart in 2017.
One has to travel to Brazil to find the biggest exporter of coffee, shipping more than 5 billion pounds of grounds a year—that’s a boat load of caffeine. Brazil has held that title for every bit of 150 years. Coming in second is Vietnam, surprisingly, followed by Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Still, in the U.S., coffee is a big deal. Case in point: Starbucks’ market share is nearly 40% of the U.S. coffee chain business, with world-wide revenues of $22 billion.
E-Imports that keeps stats on coffee reports that specialty coffee is what’s driving the business these days with sales increasing by 20% a year and accounting for nearly 8% of the $18 billion U.S. coffee market.
Coffee drinkers consumer 3.1 cups of coffee a day, and exactly half of the population (150 million Americans) drinks espresso, cappuccino, latte or iced/cold coffees.
The coffee business aside, the question today seems to be one of hot or cold? And of the cold, over ice or cold brew? It’s all a matter of taste, but to some who prefer drinking cold coffee through a straw on a hot summer’s day, or even in the winter for that matter, there’s nothing more respectful than the Japanese method of freshly brewing each cup.
A search on the Internet tells us how each method is done: “Basically, pour-over involves making a cup of coffee by doing just that—pouring strong hot coffee over ice which goes directly into the brewing vessel. The hot liquid drips over the ice as it brews quickly cooling it down.”
Cold brew, on the other hand, is created “by steeping medium-to-coarse ground coffee in room temperature water for 12 hours or longer and then filtering out the grounds for a clean cup of Joe.”
Which is better? Again, all a matter of taste. Cold brew, the baristas say, is less acidic, producing a velvety elixir that tastes just a tad chocolatey. The Japanese-style pour-over retains the acidity, and is known for deeper undertones of coffee flavor that one loses when coffee is made without hot water.
Note, this is not the same as pouring hot coffee directly over ice. That will not cut it. The Japanese mastered the tea ceremony eons ago, so the Japanese method of a “steeped pour” is the preferred choice, although maybe too strong for some.
From a blog called Kitchentreaty on the Internet come the directions:
Basic Cold Brewed Coffee
You can brew the coffee in a 32-ounce French press if you prefer. Place the ground coffee and water in the pitcher, place the plunger lid on top, but don’t press the plunger down. After the coffee grounds have steeped, gently press down on the plunger until the grounds reach the bottom of the pitcher. The coffee needs to steep for at least 12 hours, so plan accordingly.
- 1 cup fresh-ground coffee beans (a robust bean and a medium grind works best)
- 4 cups water
- Ice or coffee ice cubes
- Sugar or brown sugar (optional)
- Milk or half-and-half (optional)
- Add the coffee grounds and the water to a large jar or pitcher. Stir. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or up to 12 hours.
- Strain through a coffee filter or a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. I use a funnel and coffee filter and strain the coffee right into the glass bottle I store it in.
- To serve, mix one part coffee mixture (it’s quite concentrated) with one part water in a tall glass, leaving room for ice. Stir in sugar and milk/half-and-half if desired, to taste. Add ice or coffee ice cubes. Serve.
- Cold-brewed iced coffee concentrate keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Japanese-Style Iced Coffee
- 1/4 cup/1 oz./30 g. ground coffee beans (I like a darker roast)
- 1 cup/8 oz./230 g. ice cubes (plus more for serving)
- 1 cup/8 oz./230 g. water
- Measuring cups or a kitchen scale
- A pour-over cone (aka a drip brewer) or carafe
- A coffee filter that fits the pour-over cone or carafe
- A 16-ounce or larger mason jar (if not using a carafe)
- Tea kettle – preferably a goose-neck shape made for pour-over brewing
- Fill the mason jar or carafe with the 2 cups/8 oz./230 g. ice.
- Set a filter in the brewer, set it over the mason jar (if using) for brewing, and add the coffee grounds.
- Bring the water to a boil. Slowly pour just a bit of the water over the grounds – just enough to cause the coffee to expand (also known as “blooming”). Once all of that water has dripped through, slowly pour about half of the remaining water over the top. When that has finished dripping through, slowly pour the remaining water over the top. Let drain completely.
- If using a mason jar, remove the drip brewer. If using a carafe, remove the filter and grounds then pour into a glass. Add ice, cream, and/or sugar if desired. Serve immediately.
So there you have it. You can slave over an iced mason jar all day, you can make your morning cup a pour-over ritual, or you can buy cold brew coffee at any of our eight GreenAcres Markets. The choices are endless.