These days when people say cold brew, chances are they aren’t talking about a chilled glass of beer. They are referring to the latest trend in coffee.
Cold brew coffee is a potent yet smooth-tasting drink that’s a perfect choice for coffee lovers looking for something refreshing and flavorful.
But don’t be confused: This isn’t regular coffee served cold or a form of iced coffee.
Unlike regular brewed coffee, cold brew coffee is made by soaking course-ground coffee with cold, or room-temperature, filtered water for up to 24 hours. The water-soaked grounds are then filtered at least once, sometimes twice, to produce a coffee concentrate. Water is then added to the concentrate to achieve the right balance.
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What you get is a low acid, smooth and silky tasting coffee that is great on its own or with added cream and sugar. Some prefer it straight, with no ice, while others like it extra chilled.
This isn’t just iced coffee. Typically, iced coffee is made from coffee beans that have been brewed with hot water. Baristas say the cold-brew process produces a creamier, less bitter tasting coffee.
A few Fresno coffee houses have taken their cold brews a step further by infusing it with nitrogen gas for a smoother, silkier mouth feel. When poured straight from the tap, the cold brew forms a small head of foam, much like a Guinness.
“It comes out pretty creamy,” said Jordan Nicholson, barista at Cafe Van Ness at Shields and Van Ness avenues. “And it makes it really easy to drink.”
You can find cold brew coffee in bottles and cans at most grocery stores. Popular brands are Stumptown from Portland, Chameleon Cold Brew from Austin and Blue Bottle from Oakland. Locally, Lanna Coffee bottles its own cold brew and is sold at multiple stores and restaurants.
To taste cold brew coffee, try one of these six places.
▪ Cafe Van Ness, 3204 N. Van Ness, Fresno. The small neighborhood cafe serves its cold brew on nitro for a well-balanced flavor.
▪ Collect Coffee Bar, 3142 E. Campus Pointe Drive, Fresno. One of Fresno’s newest coffee houses has Stumptown cold brew on tap and on nitro.
▪ Kuppa Joy Coffee House, 1900 N. Echo Ave, Fresno, and 518 Clovis Ave., Clovis. The cold brew made at this local coffee house takes two days to achieve a coffee with a sooth, bright taste with subtle chocolate notes.
▪ Lanna Coffee, 617 Broadway St., Fresno. The Fresno-based coffee roaster sells its eight-ounce bottles of cold brew at local Vons stores; Ampersand Ice Cream, 1940 N. Echo Ave.; Mia Cuppa Coffee House, 620 E. Olive Ave.; Enzo’s Table, 1959 N. Willow Ave., Clovis; and Rio Acai Bowls, 1915 Fulton St., Fresno. It also sells its cold brew by the growler.
▪ Starbucks, various locations. The mega-chain recently jumped on the cold brew trend with its own version of the drink. You can buy it plain or with its house-made vanilla sweet cream.
▪ Valparaiso Cafe & Roastery, inside the Bitwise Industries building, 700 Van Ness Ave., Fresno. Owner and manager Mario Vargas likes to use different beans on different days for his small-batch cold brew. He likes to offer his customers different flavor profiles.