Upon learning that Crema, a Brooklyn coffee shop, was launching an at-home cold brew coffee kit, I knew I needed it in my house immediately. There is nothing I like more than a Brooklyn coffee shop. Unless it’s a Queens coffee shop, which is closer to my house, because I am lazy.
Laziness aside, I’m happy to make my own coffee to save a little money. Usually, I make cold brew by leaving coffee grounds and water in a French press overnight and pressing it when I’m ready for caffeine in the morning, but I was ready to try something much more official.
The cold brew coffee kit from the founders of Crema BK is branded under a new name, Alkemy Brewlab, and can be purchased at Crema or online. The $18 kit is good for two rounds of cold brewing, equaling 8 cups of coffee per kit. For non-math people, that’s $2.25 per cup.
The kit comes in a sealed bag, which becomes a smart vessel for cold brewing. Inside are two disposable coffee filters with coffee grounds and instructions for cold brewing. Perhaps the best part of Alkemy’s cold brew kit is that it is portable, unlike say, a glass French Press, so you can pack it with you when you travel or just for a day at the beach.
To brew the coffee, all you do is fill the bag to line A, add a coffee packet and wait.
The instructions say you can brew the coffee for up to 24 hours, though the experts recommend 18. I started at 3:30 p.m., which was perfect for my 9:30 a.m. wake up time. Okay, 10:30. I work for myself.
As the coffee brewed itself, I lived my life and the next morning removed the filter bag, which I was surprised hadn’t filled with too much water, and added water to line B to dilute the concentrate. Eager to make a second batch, I poured my cold brew into a glass carafe and started the process again.
Apparently the bag can be reused up to five times, but since I had no idea how much coffee was in the sealed disposable filters, or where I would get such a thing, this kit peaked at two rounds of cold brewing.
My first batch tasted good, not great. Though I brewed for almost precisely the recommended 18 hours, the cold brew tasted weaker than what I was used to. For the second batch, I left the filter in an entire 24 hours and was much more pleased with the results. The coffee was dark and chocolatey as the tasting notes promised and the cold brew was smooth and easy to drink with absolutely no hint of coffee grinds, a common cold brew problem.
I would have continued doing this — it was seriously so easy without the straining usually required for cold brew — but I didn’t have any sealed filters left and had no idea how to make one. Still, the kit was certainly worthwhile and while having cold brew ready-to-go for a week in my house was definitely a perk to waking up each morning, I can’t say I quit the coffee shop. It’s a lifestyle.
The cold brew kit is currently available for purchase at Crema BK (182 Driggs Avenue) and online. Alkemy provided a free sample for this test.