Whether you’re a Brewbie (brewing newbie) or a seasoned Barista, the gravity fed method of brewing coffee is a diverse and unique way to craft artisan coffee. What I’m talking about are the cool looking towers of wood and glass, displayed prominently in many coffee shops and coffee aficionado’s homes around the world- Kyoto Style Coffee Tower.
So what is a Kyoto style coffee tower and what’s it do?
First, I’ll cover what Kyoto style coffee is. Kyoto Style Coffee is a slow drip brewing process first made popular in Japan a few centuries ago. According to the source of all knowledge on the internet, wikipedia, it states:
“Cold brew coffee originated in Japan, where it has been a traditional method of coffee brewing for centuries. Slow-drip cold brew, also known as Kyoto-style, or as Dutch coffee in East Asia (after the name of coffee essences brought to Asia by the Dutch), refers to a process in which water is dripped through coffee grounds at room temperature over the course of many hours.”
Unlike immersion style coffee making processes commonly called “toddy”, which submerges bagged coffee grounds in water for 10 to 24 hours, Kyoto style cold brew coffee is made by slowly dripping water onto coffee grounds via a gravity fed system using a drip rate valve and a large container of cool to cold water.
This process, depending on water temperature, coffee grind coarseness, drip rate, bloom of the coffee (pre-saturating the coffee grounds before adding them to the secondary glass container) and other factors, can make this process go relatively quickly or painfully slow. We’ve had some go in 4 hours and others go up to 16 hours. The average for a good tasting cold brew we’ve done is 6 to 8 hours. For a great cold brew concentrate, 10 to 16 hours is what we’ve done.
Thats another great part of using a Kyoto coffee maker, it can be used to make cold-brew or it can be used to make cold brew concentrate. Cold-brew itself is higher in caffeine than espresso, but slightly less than a brewed cup of coffee. Its a great balance between the two.
Cold brew concentrate on the other hand, which is made by a longer steeping time of the water through the grounds, and a very slightly finer ground coffee, has a smooth but strong taste and more caffeine until its diluted with either water or your favorite type of milk.
One note I wanted to mention from trial and error is, don’t use too fine of grounds. For some reason, if the grounds are too fine, water tends to pool on top of the grounds and just sits there. We’ve found a 6.75 to 7.25 on the grinder seems to be a great balance.
Also cold brew has some great potential for health benefits as studies are starting to show. I’ll get into some of that info near the end of this blog.
The other excellent part of drinking cold brew is the taste and cost.
This method doesn’t heat the coffee grounds, so the bitter acidic aspects that come out in brewed (and then iced) coffees tend to have. Cold brew tends to be smoother and release more of the sweet notes with a deeper, richer flavor profile.
A lot of times you’ll have a chocolatey berry note followed by something slightly sweet and floral that comes out. Again, all of this depends on how the beans are roasted and what area of the world the beans come from, and other factors.
You realistically could use the same grounds from the same bag of coffee and on one day, depending on room temperature, water temperature and the other factors I listed earlier- bring out totally different notes in the coffee from day to day.
Experimenting with a cold brew tower is just fun! We’ve added fresh mint from the garden to the Ice water drip, and that carried through to the final product- that we cut the concentrate with a teaspoon of simple syrup and sparkling water, adding a mint leaf for garnish.
Have fun, play around and see what unique ideas you can do to create an unusual brew!
Kyoto Style Coffee Brewers make a lot of sense (dollars and cents).
If you love coffee this is pretty much a no-brainer on the direction to go to get the most kick for your buck! Depending on how much you produce, consume and give away to the friend and family who will be more than happy to accept a cup from you, you’re not going to be paying out at retail prices for a cup of cold brew. Producing a large quantity of cold brew (approximately around a gallon) - is well worth the investment.
The Kyoto Tower- and no, its not a Japanese building.
Like I’ve mentioned we call this a tower and as far as coffee brewing systems goes, it lives up to its name. The largest Todd Alan Woodcraft custom cold brew tower is just at 4 feet tall from base to top. Of course- we offer a smaller one more suited for small coffee shops and home brewers.
A standard Kyoto system consists of a top beaker which is filled up with tepid water or ice and water- depending on the flavors you’re looking to bring out in your beans. That water drips through the drip rate valve into the next glass chamber which holds your grounds.
This level is where the water slowly seeps through your grounds for 4 to 24 hours depending on what kind of cold brew you’re looking to produce.
At the bottom of your grounds beaker, is a ceramic reusable filter to keep sediments from making into your final brew.
Once the cold brew passes through the filter, it drips into the receptacle at the top of a thin glass coil, where the dark coffee nectar twists and turns through and slowly drips into the bottom craft. You’ll know the process is finished when the top craft of water is empty and the coffee from the coil stage is mostly air bubbles with a little coffee and there’s a random drip now and then into the bottom craft.
Once the brewing process is done and your bottom craft is full, chill your cold brew in the fridge for about 12 to 24 hours to let it cure and develop some other flavor notes. When its ready to serve, lightly shake (if you have a lid) or swirl it to mix the brew up, pour and enjoy black or with cream and sugar to your taste!
Just remember, sugar is bad for the human body- and we suggest cutting out as much as possible.
It’s not Coughy. Its Coffee (and its good for you)!
Speaking of the human body, earlier I mentioned that Cold brew coffee had some potential health benefits.
According to an article on Healthline Magazine online, Cold brew may lower your risks of heart disease, help control high blood pressure, has been shown to help people lower their risk of type 2 diabetes, may reduce risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimers disease- and a few other positive benefits to overall health.
Say what? Yep- studies are starting to roll in from different universities and research companies showing that cold brew coffee does have some interesting health potentials.
Cold brew is loaded in antioxidants that are associated with good health. Cold brewing preserves Chlorogenic acid, one of the many powerful antioxidants that hot brewing methods are known to destroy. It also contains phenylindanes which help protect the brain from age-related diseases and also its believed that cold brew coffee doesn’t create higher cortisol levels in the human body as hot water brewed coffee does.
Additionally, because of being lower in acid, cold brew coffee is easier on the stomach for those who avoid coffee because of stomach issues such as acid reflux.
Keep your eyes out for more studies to be released that are currently in the pipeline, if you’re into the science of coffee. As you can see, there are many reasons to switch to cold brew over hot coffee or ice-chilled versions of hot coffee.
The Kyoto Cold brew tower in your home or coffee shop is sure to be a conversation piece and unique addition to your decor.
Using a Kyoto Style Cold Brew coffee maker is a great way to save money in the long run and even though it’s a longer brewing experience than hot coffee makers, its just fun to work with and experiment with!
Its a fun brewing and amazing flavor experience that’s just too good to pass up!