Loja arabica beans make the best cold brew coffee

One cannot talk about Loja without talking about great coffee. In the province is grown some of the best natural specialty arabica beans of single origin anywhere. The question is, how to use these to best advantage - how to make the best possible brewed coffee with the best beans?

Let's get this straight right at the beginning - cold brew coffee is not the same as iced coffee or cold coffee, both of which are made hot and then chilled. No, cold brew coffee never sees heat in the process of making it, and there are some dramatic benefits to making your favorite drink this way.

First is the flavor. Without heat, none of the bitter and acidic chemicals are extracted. This greatly improves the taste and also makes the coffee more palatable for anyone with a sensitive tummy.

A big part of flavor is not just taste but also aroma and a neat thing about cold brew is that the aroma of the finished product is closer to the aroma of the roasted beans you start out with. Think about it - you open up a bag of coffee and inhale this delicious aroma but once you've put the grind through its paces with hot water (using any of the many varieties of hot brewing processes) it just does not smell the same. Not so with cold brew which most closely preserves the original aromatics.

For the ecologically minded, there are the benefits of not using any sort of fuel to heat the water, whether gas, electric, wood fire, or whatever source of heat. Granted we're not talking about a huge savings, but when the planet is warming up and there is a way to do even a little bit toward saving energy then this is an easy way to contribute to a better future.

Of course, cold brew coffee has all the same health benefits which are claimed for hot brew, like increasing metabolism, lifting mood, lowering the risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and possibly lowering the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. So other than the fact you can't make a cup in 10 minutes, what's not to like?

Time is the key. Room temperature water is added to coarsely ground coffee beans (4 cups water to 1 cup ground beans) and allowed to sit for 12 to 24 hours (15 is often suggested as the target but a range is given). Strain, through a coffee filter or use a French press, and that's it. Done. Serve as is, or refrigerate, or pour over ice. But before you add any sugar or cream be sure to try an unadulterated sip to see what you've been missing all these years.

Remember, cold brew is completely different from regular brew served over ice or chilled in the fridge. And the better the beans you start out with the better the final coffee will be. There are a number of coffee shops around town that carry Loja's specialty arabica beans. To purchase, ask for a bag of "grano" (whole) beans to grind yourself, or ask for them to be coarsely ground for you. Then get brewing the simple and easy way. Yeah, I know, it's tough to wait, but the wait is worth it!


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