Low Acid Coffee

Last week I wrote about the dangerous effects of caffeine and how I ultimately gave up coffee because it caused me horrible stomach pain. Well, recently, I was introduced to a way that I can enjoy coffee once again.

While strolling through our local farmers’ market I spied a guy giving free samples of iced coffee. Since I can tolerate a little bit, I headed in his direction. Monty Ruckman, a Specialty Coffee Roaster and owner of Cabin Creek Roasters, was a personable guy and not only gave me a sample but also my two little boys. That really impressed them.

We talked at length about how he roasts his coffee, where the beans come from, and the different flavors that he has to offer. I also shared with him how my son, who lives in Haiti, brought home Haitian coffee that he has specially roasted for himself and how we all enjoyed it. Then, after complementing him on his iced coffee, I had to confess to Monty that I couldn’t drink coffee on a regular basis because of my stomach.

“Oh, lots of people think that. But you can cold brew the coffee and it removes a lot of the acids so that your stomach will tolerate it,” he shared.

Incredulous, I wanted to know more. Unfortunately, my cell phone rang and I had to go. So this week I called Monty and peppered him with questions.

How much acid does the cold brew method remove? Some people claim a whopping 69%. Okay, I’m listening.

The Device

To make cold brew coffee, you need a special device. This is sort of like a funnel with a filter, but a little more complicated. In 1964, after tasting a cup of coffee made from a concentrate, a gentleman named Todd Simpson developed and patented The Toddy. Since that time, several other devices have come on the scene. The Hourglass Cold Brew Coffeemaker was designed in 2004 by Bob Neace and Todd Maas. However, the Filtron Coffee System which Monty recommends claims to be “The Original Cold Water Coffee Concentrate Brewer.” It doesn’t really matter, though, which was the first, as according to the reviews they are all great products.

Since the price of these systems start at about $40, I looked and found several instructions online for making your own at home with basic household items. Monty didn’t recommend making your own device because, he said, when people do that they generally do not use the two-filter system that makes such a smooth flavor. So how does it work?

How to cold brew your coffee

Basically, you place a filter much like a regular coffee filter in the device and pour a pound of coarsely ground coffee beans into it. You have to grind the beans yourself to get them coarse enough. Regular drip coffee from the grocery will not do. Beneath this is a small hole covered by another filter that is about ¼” thick. This hole is plugged shut until the brewing process is over. Above this is another container that you fill with cold water. This container also has a small hole in it to allow the water to slowly pour over the grounds. You let this sit for 12-24 hours.

After the grounds steep in the water, you set the device atop another receptacle and pull out the plug. This allows the brew to drain out. This process makes 1 quart of concentrate that will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks and on the counter for 4.

How to use the concentrate

If you want a hot cup of coffee, pour 2-3 ounces of concentrate into your mug. Add enough hot water to fill. Or, you can add cold water and heat on the stove. According to Monty, “You’ve never tasted a smoother cup of coffee.”

You can also use the concentrate to make iced coffee, or a frappe in the blender.

I asked Monty if the cold-brew method cut the caffeine, as well. He said no; but one website I found said the cold brew method reduced the caffeine by a third. Monty said it doesn’t matter because you can use the method with decaffeinated beans and that his decaffeinated beans are 99.7% caffeine-free by the Swiss water process.

So, if you have some gastro-intestinal issues that have kept you from enjoying a morning cup of java, I encourage you to try the cold-brew method. According to Monty of Cabin Creek Roasters, you will “never have a lick of trouble” again.


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