Coffee has become more than just a beverage for Americans. Many of us rely on the caffeine as well. If you haven't or don't plan to wean yourself off the stuff, then you'll need to prepare for emergency coffee! For this blog I will compare a few 'cold water' recipes for making coffee and compare taste with the hot stuff. Obviously with a panel of 1, this is highly subjective.
The experiment included a couple of leading brand instant coffees and a leading brand of ground regular coffee prepared with cold water. I used distilled water to avoid the water being a significant factor. Other than using cold water, I followed the ratio of coffee per cup in the directions on the packages.
The good news is that for both of the instant coffees, adding cold water WILL dissolve the granules. It just takes a little longer than hot water -- maybe 30 seconds or more. Both were cloudy for several minutes after mixing. I tried Folgers Classic Roast (FCR) and a Nescafe Tasters Choice (NTC) instant coffee. Both of the initial coffees have been in my preparedness supplies. One was within the BEST BEFORE date, the other was not. I checked aroma, clarity and flavor on both instants immediately after mixing and again about an hour later.
The FCR instant coffee dissolved well and was not as 'cloudy' initially as the NTC. It had an aroma I can best describe as 'carmelly.' The flavor is also like roasted sugars or grains, more like Postum than brewed coffee. It is very drinkable cold with no additives but does not have a flavor that screams COFFEE. After sitting for an hour, it had slightly more coffee-like flavor.
The NTC, not so much. In all fairness, the first cup was past its BEST BEFORE date. So I went to Target and bought the 7-individual serving pack with a BEST BEFORE date in 2013. It was noticeably better upon first taste and had a much better aroma than the old coffee granules. It was not as palatable as the Folgers. The aroma was more like brewed coffee at first, but had an undertone I can only describe as 'skunky.' This scent increased at the later tasting. It was the skunkiness in the outdated NTC that caused me to go buy the newer stock. In both cases, the taste was coffee-like, just don't breathe once your nose is near the cup.
The last item I tried was regular Starbucks House Blend ground coffee mixed with cold water in a glass container, allowing it to stand for an hour or more, then filtering into a cup and drinking cold. I checked on the 'brew' and stirred it about every 30 minutes. At an hour it looked strong enough to try. It was OK, but weak. After another half hour it was better. It tasted more like coffee than the other two, but not so much better that it overcame the mess and long lead time to drink.
So of these three, I would recommend the instant Folgers or the cold-method preparation of regular coffee but not the Tasters Choice for those emergency mornings when coffee is a must-have and hot water isn't available. If you are not planning to rotate your coffee every year, then go for the Folgers.
P.S. I 'bought' both the original Folger's instant and the recent Tasters Choice with 'rewards currency' from K-Mart and Target respectively.