I am setting myself up for failure with the name of this post and I know it. I hope that won’t stop you from reading on because, frankly, the results are as ridiculous as the process which is as silly as the title.
Espresso is made by forcing water that’s near a boil through espresso beans while under pressure. My research says the optimal temperature is between 92-96 degrees celsius (198-205 farenheit) but I’m willing to guess that there are passionate debates amongst purists to the validity of such numbers. To anyone involved in those debates, the following will only read as an atrocity to the things you love the most. To me, this is about having fun and making something that’s interesting and, more importantly, fabulous to consume.
We shared the recipe for cold-brewed coffee this week. The results are exceptional: a thicker beverage than traditional coffee that tastes much more like coffee actually smells. It’s generally drunk as part of an iced beverage. As I contemplated the wonders of iced coffee my head began to travel where it so easily can: to cocktails.
The cold-brew coffee was strong enough for a cocktail but I thought it would be more interesting to make it even stronger so it could be used in smaller quantities (almost like bitters) to flavor a beverage without dominating it. And that’s where the idea for cold-brew espresso came from. I knew I wanted to simulate an espresso without the use of pressure and all that heat that would change the flavor. The question that remained was “How?”
Those of you whom have been around these parts for a while know that I love my dehydrator. And, yes, that’s where my filtered cold-brew coffee went – direct into the dehydrator and into the relatively gentle heat of 150 degrees for 4 or 5 hours.
The results? The coffee went into the dehydrator (I placed it in the wide-mouthed crock from my slow cooker to maximize surface area and speed dehydration) at 1.558 kilograms (3 pounds, 8 ounces) and came out at 800 grams (1 pound, 11 ounces). The water never came close to a boil and the quick evaporation removed almost 50% of the water from what was already a very strong product.
Of course this just means I’ve made really strong coffee that I may have been able to make with less water in the first place and it’s not really espresso either. I didn’t use espresso beans or an espresso grinder and the beans were put through nearly insurmountable pressure. But I choose to believe I couldn’t get the same results if I had started with the amount of water I ended up with. Just as one reduces wine or vinegar, the concentrated product which remains is the essence of what once was. It seems thicker than water and it is filled with caffeine and packs a massive coffee punch.
Now to find a cocktail shaker and see what we can do with the quart of liquid that remains…