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Food for Thought - Rapids' Blog
Draft Coffee, also known as “cold brew,” is becoming more and more popular, and with good reason. Coffee that is derived from cold brew extraction is naturally sweet, with some people even describing the taste as having notes of chocolate. Also trending is nitro coffee, which is cold brew dispensed through a stout beer faucet. Nitro coffee is beautiful to look at, but not as beautiful as its creamy taste. Many coffee drinkers that usually add cream, sugar, or both will drink nitro coffee straight because it naturally is so sweet and creamy.
The taste difference between cold brew coffee and coffee brewed with hot water is due to the difference in coffee extraction. Hot brewing coffee, while bringing out the coffee bean’s flavor, also extracts the tannins or bitterness in the beans. As your cup of hot coffee cools, the bitter taste of the tannins become more pronounced. Cold brewing, on the other hand, uses time, not heat, to pull flavor from the ground beans, which allows the bean flavor to develop without the bitterness. Which you like better is, of course, subjective, although those that like a dry wine probably will prefer coffee that has been extracted with heated water.
Cold brew coffee also comes with different concerns regarding cold brew coffee tap dispensing equipment and the cold brew toddy brewers. One such problem that plagues coffee shops is mold in the brewers. You have probably read in the news about mold hiding in our home kitchen coffee brewers. The same coffee mold issues exist with coffee shops, and especially in the cold brew equipment. As it turns out, mold likes coffee as much as we do. Mold spores need a food source, love moist dark areas, and grow quickly when they have the perfect environment. Unfortunately, the cold brew coffee equipment meet all of those criteria, making them the absolute perfect breeding ground for mold.
Most cold brewers have an upper chamber for both the ground coffee beans and the water needed to extract the flavor from those beans. Beneath the upper chamber is a lower chamber where the extracted coffee brew ends up. In between is a screen or filter to keep grounds from being mixed into the extracted brew. Cold brew extraction takes 12-24 hours and is done at room temperature, meaning there's no heat or cold to dissuade those pesky mold spores from growing.
How to Keep Mold From Ruining Your Cold Brew Coffee
The solution to mold in cold brew coffee is so simple! It works for a home cold brew machine as well as a commercial cold brew coffee tap system. Sanitize it! After you brew, immediately dump the grounds into your compost container and then fill your upper cold brew chamber with water almost to the top. Mix in the proper amount of sanitation as directed by your sanitizer. Make certain the filter is still in place between the chambers. That little screen filter is the perfect spot for mold spores to produce and hide. Allow the sanitizer to run through to the bottom chamber. Run a couple of clean water rinses through the machine after the sanitizer. Dry all of the parts thoroughly. Now your cold brew maker is ready to go again.
If you are dispensing your cold brew coffee or nitro coffee through a kegerator , you must sanitize the kegerator, lines, and faucets as well. At a minimum, you should sanitize your parts bi-weekly. Weekly is probably the best idea. If you are using a jockey box cold plate or coil cooler to dispense your coffee at an outside event or fair, you need to sanitize the lines and faucets of the jockey box after each use! Any kegerator line sanitizer will work fine for both your cold brew maker and your kegerator. That said, Rapids has two different recommendations for cleaning solutions: the AB 401 line cleaner or the cold brew coffee line cleaner. This solution is a bright blue and AB 401 line cleaner is the only approved, patented, and color-coded line cleaning sanitizer available in the market today—and also one of the safest. This line sanitizer remains a bright blue color in the recommended diluted form, which helps prevent the accidental ingestion of harmful chemicals. With this line cleaning solution, you can make sure that both your cold brewer and your kegerator lines and faucets are free of yeast and mold. Your cleaning effort will not only protect the quality and taste of your cold brew, but also maximizes the shelf life of your cold brew coffee.There are a few differences between a beer kegerator and a coffee kegerator setup . Beer uses CO2 or a combination of Nitrogen and CO2 gas to dispense beer. Coffee only uses nitrogen gas , as CO2 gas changes the flavor of cold brew coffee, and not for the better. Keg styles can be a little different between beer and coffee, but how to clean the kegerator lines is exactly the same. With all that said, we have a video of Rapids Marketing Director, Paul, cleaning the beer line of his ‘man cave” beer kegerator. Paul demonstrates how to take apart the faucet, clean all the parts and then reassemble the faucet. The video also shows how to use Rapids Line Cleaning Kit to pump the solution through the kegerator lines. If you've never cleaned kegerator lines before, watch the video! Paul’s instructions are precise and easy to follow!