I chanced upon a recipe on sous vide coffee while reading a post by someone who tried sous vide coffee with the Anova. I first tried it with some organic coffee that someone had gifted me from England. After I had sous vide it, I kept it in the fridge and drank it as cold coffee. I loved it and thought I would try to make some more.
Another friend had gifted me with some coffee from the Middle East. Without thinking, I followed the same ratio as the coffee I had used before and proceeded with the sous vide. After a couple of hours, I cooled the coffee and proceeded to filter it. That was when I started noticing something was different with this coffee. The residue was so fine that the filter could not filter everything out. And because it was so fine, it took forever to filter. In fact, I had to filter one lot twice as some of the residue went through the filter. In the end, I left it to drip for hours. I found out what I had been given was Arabic coffee (after I YouTubed to find out how to make it) and the coffee was produced in Jordan. I learnt that to drink it, it had to be brought to a boil and then covered and cooled slightly before it is served. Here I was with almost two jars full of sous vide Arabic coffee that I had just made at 65.6 degrees C.
I was in a dilemma. Do I throw the whole thing out or do I try and still have it as cold coffee? Perhaps I should try and see what the difference in taste is first, between how Arabic coffee is normally made and my sous vide version.
I did not have a pot dedicated to boiling coffee so I washed out a pot that I normally used for boiling rice. According to the instructions on the packet, I am supposed to add a teaspoon of coffee powder to 60 ml of water. That was a very small amount, small even for my smallest pot. I decided to do a ratio of 1:8, which was the ratio I had used for the sous vide coffee. I used 1/4 cup coffee to 2 cups water. Due to the different methods of doing Arabic coffee on YouTube, I decided to boil mine until a nice froth had formed and I continued simmering it for about 10 minutes instead of 20 minutes. I noticed that the longer I simmered the coffee, the darker the froth became. So I stopped after 10 minutes and just let the coffee rest for the other ten minutes.
Firstly, I was amazed at the colour difference. I guess the reason why the boiled version ended up being lighter than the sous vide version may be due to the time that the coffee powder was in contact with the water. Sous vide coffee was made over two hours, while the boiled version was made over 20 minutes. (Side note: Apparently, Arabic coffee is only lightly roasted, which is why the colour of the roast is lighter than other coffees I have used for filter coffee. The light colour of the roast is not evident in this photo. Arabic coffee that is correctly prepared looks more like tea without milk).
The coffee packet I received already had spices added into it. In comparing the boiled version with the sous vide version, I thought the coffee taste was more obvious in the boiled version than in the sous vide version.
From what I had read before, boiling coffee tends to burn it, which is why sous vide coffee is supposed to be better for folks with stomach problems as it is less acidic. I am not sure if adding spices would moderate that somewhat. Boiling coffee also supposedly burns the coffee. In making Arabic coffee, depending on which YouTube video one follows, the coffee is either just brought to the boil or it is simmered for up to 20 minutes. Spices are added after that. This explains why the taste of coffee seems more obvious (as in the taste comes out more) in the boiled version than in the sous vide version. However, while the taste may be more obvious, it may actually be less concentrated due to the shorter contact time the coffee powder has with the water.
Which one do I prefer? I think I prefer the boiled version though I would not let it simmer throughout the 20 minutes. I am inclined to just bring it to the boil, turn off the fire, cover the pot and leave it for that 20 minutes. I tend to drink my coffee with milk and I do not add sugar.
What shall I do with my sous vide coffee then? I would probably heat it up a little in the microwave and drink it with milk, without sugar, and tell myself to check the coffee I am going to sous vide before my next attempt. Perhaps I should invest in a smaller pot for boiling coffee next.