A week or so ago when I wrote about my favorite methods for making cold brew coffee, I thought it was hot. I was clearly wrong and the gods are making me pay for my naivety. As I write this, the temperatures are on the verge of hitting 101 degrees Fahrenheit, the lunatic television weather forecaster chants about heat index warnings and my air conditioner is struggling to keep the temperature inside under 85 degrees.
Luckily, the kind folks over at Secret Squirrel (no relationship to the 60′s Hanna-Barbera cartoon character) shared some of their cold brew coffee with me so I can stay cool and caffeinated all day long. I have no problems making my own cold brew, but if someone wants make my life a little easier, I won’t complain.
I suppose that first off, I should explain what exactly is cold brew coffee. This kind of summer drink (or year round if you live hear in the south) comes from a simple, low tech process. Coffee beans are ground, soaked in water for 18-24 hours, then coffee grounds are filtered out leaving, a coffee concentrate. You then mix the concentrate with water, milk or anything else that your heart desires to make a delicious drink.
I was curious about the Secret Squirrel name too. It comes from the founders who grew up in the Washington DC area, where a secret squirrel was something like knowing a shortcut around traffic, or knowing the hideaway parking spot, or knowing the unknown electrical outlet in the coffee shop. They thought that it only seemed fitting for this centuries old method for brewing coffee that few people know about.
Reviewing cold brew coffee is very different from reviewing whole bean coffee. Cold brew doesn’t taste like hot coffee, it has it’s own unique characteristics. Plus, cold brew producers often don’t include where the beans are from, when I don’t know where the coffee was grown, I do get nervous and assume the worse. However, in this case it was comforting to know that the beans were Fair Trade and Organic, plus I understand that the beans is kind of like their secret sauce that makes each cold brew different.
With all that being said, I used the Secret Squirrel concentrate to make two different kinds of cold brew drinks – one with cold water and another with milk.
For the water based drink, I filled a third of my glass with their concentrate, then the rest with water and ice cubes. Unlike a lot of other cold brews, this one still had a lot of the characteristics and flavors that make up a good cup of hot coffee. It was a nutty/woody flavor with a hint of spiciness and bit of bitterness before the sip was down.
For the milk based drink, I used the same amount of concentrate and replaced the water with milk. The result was delicious and so far it stands out as my favorite way that I’ve made cold brew with my own homemade concentrate or from a company. It was a smooth coffee flavor, with distinct chocolate tones that almost made it like a mocha latte.
One 16 ounce bottle of Secret Squirrel Cold Brew Coffee is $10 and each bottle makes about 6-7 drinks. Note that they only sell it by the 2 pack ($20), 3 pack ($30) or the 4 pack ($40) online.
Secret Squirrel’s Cold Brew Coffee earned an excellent four coffee mug rating on the Daily Shot Of Coffee scale. It was head and shoulders above any other cold brew concentrate that I’ve tried. If you’re looking for some cold brew coffee this summer and you don’t want to make your own, I highly recommend checking out the Secret Squirrel.
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