caffeine tragedy
April 20, 2019 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I love cold brew coffee but I hate acid, please tell me where to go?

I love cold coffee. I drink it almost every day. However, somehow despite being in NYC I am not finding places that make it to a degree that's generally low-acid enough for me. I like a really smooth coffee that does not feel like battery acid going down. Maybe I'm just sensitive but every place I try seems to be like that. Exceptions: Third Rail Coffee and Kodawari Coffee - perfect! Exactly the smoothness I want! No reflux! Where are more places like that? Specifically, places in Manhattan, I have had better luck in Brooklyn but no longer live/work there.
posted by colorblock sock to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried iced Americanos instead? Or iced lattes if you drink dairy? I live for cold coffee but all cold brew is too acidic for me and those alternatives work well.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 2:30 PM on April 20, 2019

Would you be open to the idea of making it yourself? It’s easy. Basically steep grounds in a bowl of water for 24 hours, filter and refrigerate. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:42 PM on April 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

If you're willing to brew it yourself at home, I'm a fan of Kicking Horse's 454 Horse Power - it's dark, velvety, and very very low acidity.

It's great in a regular drip coffee pot, Chemex pour over, or cold brewed in a french press.
posted by porpoise at 3:42 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have tried many types of making my own cold brew and they've always been just okay. I finally just discovered Gevalia sells shelf-stable concentrate that you mix with water or milk or whatever, to your taste. IMO it's very smooth and not at all bitter or "cardboardy" which is how every type of cold brew I've ever tried to make myself ends up.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:39 PM on April 20, 2019

Seconding Gevalia concentrate. I was pleasantly surprised.
posted by jrchaplin at 8:11 PM on April 20, 2019

Have you tried La Colombe? I find their Pure Black quite smooth and nonacidic.
posted by ferret branca at 9:00 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding iced espresso (Americano or Latte- oat or soy works well too!) Totally different beast than cold brew.
posted by Balthamos at 1:33 AM on April 21, 2019

The key with making cold brew at home is to make it very strong. I do 150g of ground beans to 2 quarts of water. This gets diluted 3:1 to drink, e.g. 120ml of concentrate + hot water enough to fill a 500ml go cup. It's smooth, tasty, and low acid. Comparable in flavour to aeropress, if a little less bright and a little more smooth.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:16 AM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Make Ice coffee with this at home by stirring a teaspoon with cold water and adding ice; it's our daily driver - not too acidic, perfectly cromulent - easily equals mid-range iced coffee elsewhere, easy peasy.
posted by lalochezia at 9:11 AM on April 21, 2019

Hey! Thanks for all the advice about home-brewing but I already have a lot of that, I'm looking specifically for recommendations of coffee shops.
posted by colorblock sock at 10:45 AM on April 21, 2019

Where have you tried that doesn't work? I'm guessing generic Starbucks doesn't work because it also gives me reflux.
posted by ch1x0r at 10:49 AM on April 21, 2019

Is it possible that the two shops that you like both use the same roaster? If so, maybe seek out other shops that carry coffee from that roaster?

Could you try asking at either of those shops - what it is that makes them different?
posted by hydra77 at 11:12 AM on April 22, 2019

Lately I have enjoyed the Rwandan Cold Brew at Grumpy's on 20th between 7th and 8th.
posted by bastionofsanity at 11:36 AM on April 22, 2019

I don't have specific coffee shop recommendations, but maybe I can help you figure out how to assess whether a particular shop is likely to have what you want.

There are two main ways to make cold brew, and one of them results in a higher-acidity product than the other.

Lowest acidity: Immersion brewing, where the coffee grounds are immersed directly in water, left to steep, then strained. Look for coffee shops that use Filtron (looks like a big ugly brown bucket) or Toddy (looks like a glass jar on top of a smaller white or brown plastic dealie) for cold brewing--sometimes they'll advertise it, sometimes you'll just have to peep behind the counter or ask.

Highest acidity: Drip brewing or ice drip brewing (sometimes also called Kyoto drip after Blue Bottle's version), where ice melts and drips through the coffee grounds. You will generally see a tower of very fancy looking glass tubes, but may also see equipment that looks a lot more like a bucket of ice set over a vessel of coffee and a receptacle for the coffee.

Also, you may be encountering coffee shops selling iced coffee, which is brewed with heat and then iced, or Japanese iced coffee, which is brewed with heat directly over ice. Some shops that make iced coffee either call it cold brew anyway to capitalize on the trendy buzzword, or leave the menu description vague and let you make assumptions. Oh, and some will also inexplicably call their cold coffee item "Toddy coffee" even though it's not made with the Toddy or even cold brew at all.
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:44 PM on April 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

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