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Apparently keeping coffee hot and reheating it both lead to bad flavors:

How can I reheat coffee without imparting bad flavor?

Why does coffee taste awful after reheating it in a microwave oven?

However, can you cold-brew coffee and then heat it (microwave or other) without ruining the flavors? If so, why?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, you can.

In fact, this is a specific technique known as a "coffee toddy" which is a good way to take liquid coffee camping with you if you don't want to take brewing equipment. Some people even prefer coffee made this way to other methods of brewing.

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+1 jolly good link. –  Doug Dec 22 '11 at 1:24
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@FuzzyChef how is this toddy thing better than leaving my grind in a glass of water overnight? –  Midhat Dec 30 '11 at 7:43

Yes I would imagine that is would be possible to heat cold-brewed coffee without losing flavour (excuse my Canadian spelling of "flavor"). It's not the heating of the coffee that makes it lose it's flavour, it's the staleness of it. When coffee is brewed it is full of flavourful oils, but once those oils become stale the coffee loses its taste.

So, as long as cold-brewed coffee is fresh, you won't lose any flavour by heating it. Of course, once it is stale it WILL lose its flavour.

Edit: It's my understanding that cold-brew coffee takes a much longer time to make than heated coffee, and probably takes longer to become stale, but I'm not familiar with the mechanics of cold-brew or how long it would take to become stale.

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Can you clarify 'stale' at all? What happens to the oils? Is it exposure to air or just mixing with water that makes it go stale? –  keflavich Dec 19 '11 at 20:39
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@keflavich I'm not 100% sure of this myself, but I've read of 2 different reasons coffee gets stale: 1. Increased acidity over time. 2. Oxidation of the oils. –  Bizorke Dec 19 '11 at 20:56
    
@keflavich Forgot to mention that oxidation is a result of contact with air. However I'm not sure what would cause an increase in acidity, or whether that's really a cause of staleness. Even if coffee is stored away in a container and not exposed to air it will still oxidize by the oxygen and other compounds dissolved in the water (albeit a little bit slower than if exposed to air). –  Bizorke Dec 19 '11 at 21:59

Heating didnt work for me.

I tried this today. Yesterday I soaked a tsp of illy in water for 24 hrs. It came up quite good. Not very bitter. I filtered it and heated it on very low heat, (a setting of 3 out of 6 on my hot plate) until it started to give off a little steam. Now it felt quite bitter on tasting.

I always make my hot coffee in a moka on this temprature and its doesnt burn, So I dont think I burnt my cold brew

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Cold brewing and storing in the fridge can be done with an Aeropress without loosing flavor.

This thread talks about both cold brewing and keeping it in the fridge: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/432108

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My experience of heating coffee in a microwave is very negative, although I cannot explain the mechanism for it turning out so awful. It may be the effect of the hot coffee cooling down, rather than the effect of the reheating.

We've all experienced coffee that's been sat on the hotplate for too long; bitter and acrid. You risk this "burning" effect if you heat cold coffee on a hotplate.

Cold press coffee is generally brewed very strong indeed; about twice as strong as espresso. Hence you can add boiling water at a ratio of, say, 3:1 and have an acceptably warm cup of coffee - and this is what people usually do.

If you want to microwave for extra heat, just microwave the full-strength cold-brew for 10 seconds or so, before adding water from the kettle.

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