Dubai: The weekend is near. You want to meet your friends over a cup of coffee. So, how about trying something Japanese? Walk into a coffee shop, scan the menu, ask your barista if they have a cold brew, cold drip or V60. If you feel a little adventurous, ask them to show you how they brew these coffees, too.
Among so many different coffee drinks available in the UAE, what caught the Gulf News food team’s attention are the Japanese brewing methods for cold brew, cold drip, and V60. As with many Japanese traditions that require patience and time, coffee brewing is also a slow technique; for a rich flavour.
Here is a guide to understanding the three popular Japanese brews.
Cold-brew vs Drip
Cold brew and drip are served cold, filled to the brim with ice. As we begin understanding the individual brewing methods, we realise how the technique impacts the flavour of these drinks.
However, which kind of coffee do you like? Do you like your coffee robust and mildly bitter or floral and flavourful? Once you pick your taste, decide on the brew, place your order with the barista and grab your cuppa.
Want a floral and flavourful coffee? Maybe, cold brew is for you
Have you heard of the Kyoto-style coffee? It is nothing but cold brew. According to food historians, cold brew coffee came about in Kyoto, Japan, around the 1600s. However, there is a bit of debate surrounding its history. Many people believe that the Japanese learnt this brewing method from the Dutch traders who must have brought this coffee with them as it could be kept for long journeys.
No matter the origin story, the brew today has found much favour the world over, especially as it results in coffee that is far less bitter than a regular hot brew.
Gulf News Food team spoke to the experts to understand the brewing techniques. Khoga Shing, a barista at Third Wave Café, at Al Barari in Dubai, said: “A cold brew coffee uses time rather than heat to extract oils and caffeine from coffee beans. It is made using an immersion technique wherein the coffee grounds and cold water are left to brew over an extended period.” Say anything between 18 to 24 hours.
He added: “Then, it is filtered for drinking. The resulting brew is treated as a concentrate and is served over ice.” That’s your cup of freshly brewed coffee. So how is it different from a cold drip? It’s the brewing technique that makes it different.
For a robust flavour, sip drip coffee
To make a cold drip, you will need to invest in a piece of equipment called a drip tower that looks like something befitting a science lab. Shing said: “Usually, two or even three glass vases in this tower allow iced water to slowly drip over freshly ground coffee.” Then, the ground coffee absorbs each droplet of water, which drops at the bottom-most vase of the tower. This can take anywhere between 3.5 to 12 hours, depending on the desired amount. Unlike a cold brew, this process produces a more flavourful, concentrated coffee.
According to Shing, a cold drip is served over ice with an espresso shot measuring no less than 45ml.
The specialised technique and time consumed to brew or drip these coffees make them unique. That is why coffee lovers do not mind paying a tad bit more than a regular iced coffee, explains Marcjoel Lagrazon, head barista at Jones the Grocer, Dubai. He added: “A brew and a drip cost around Dh25 on an average in the UAE.”
From cold to hot, we move on to a famous brewing method that went viral on social media for reasons more than one.
The famous home coffee maker – V60
Unlike cold brew and drip, this one is served hot. Named after the equipment it is brewed in, V60 represents the cone-shaped filter and sloping angle – 60 degrees of the dripper.
If you are looking for an after-meal beverage, mild yet caffeinated, then go ahead and have a V60. To make this, ground coffee is pre-infused for not more than 30 seconds resulting in a light-bodied and delicate cup of coffee.
Lagrazon explained that a V60 coffee is a traditional Japanese hand-pour coffee brewing gadget and one of the most remarkable ways to experience a specialty coffee. This method pays special attention to the grind, temperature, flow rate and is relatively easy to make. All you need is a V60 machine, which you can easily order from an e-commerce site.
If you have already added this coffee maker to your cart and are keen on trying it at home, then Barista Shing has a recipe for you. You will need to place a coffee filter into the V shape equipment and place the coffee grounds inside it. Next, pour hot water and wait until the brew drips into your coffee cup. If you want to play around with the flavour, he suggests using a 1:15 ratio; every 1 gram of coffee for 15 ml of water. This brewing method results in the mildest coffee flavour and is great if you like your brew plain, without any addition of milk, cream or sugar.
Cold-brew, drip or V60, once you have chosen your coffee profile, it’s time to pick the coffee beans.
Picking the coffee for a perfect brew
Cold or hot, robust or light, baristas recommend a single-origin coffee for these brewing methods. Unlike a coffee blend produced all year round, single-origin coffee is harvested only during a particular season. These coffees come from a single crop, region and producer.
If you are a coffee lover who likes your coffee a certain way, you would understand the distinctive taste of a blended coffee from a single-origin. If not, grab your jacket and wallet, head out to a Japanese cafe and find out which brew works for you.
How do you like your coffee and do you have a recipe to share? Write to us at email@example.com