When it comes to coffee, selecting the appropriate beverage requires an order of operations. Everyday grogginess, for example, is best combated with a normal cup. If something more is needed, an espresso shot can do the trick. And if all else fails, cold brew’s extra powerful jolt can save the day.
But when you desperately need to caff up, those options are not always enough. Which begs the question: What do you do if the average mug of cold-brewed Joe fails to sate your exhaustion? What if you require a newer, bolder beverage that can beat back the mid-week blues?
What if what you needed, all along, was cold brew made with cold brew?
Fittingly, I first learned about this daring idea in Seattle, home of everyone’s favorite mermaid-mascotted mega chain. A roommate told me that a friend once made cold brew using coffee, which was first brewed in an average drip pot. The resulting pitch-black product, deemed “mud,” sounds like a potent enough potable in and of itself. And for those who simply want to take their caffeine intake up a single notch, it might be the best option. But I decided to take it one step further, by starting with cold brew instead of brewed coffee. My end goal: coffee concentrate, concentrated. Mud 2.0.
If you’re unfamiliar with how regular cold brew is made, a quick overview: Coarsely ground coffee beans are steeped in water overnight, usually by placing a glass container in the refrigerator. The resulting liquid is then strained the following day to produce a smooth, rich concentrate which should be diluted with either water, milk or cream. While hot water can extract more caffeine from coffee than cold, cold brew’s secret is in upping the amount of beans used to make the beverage. Generally, cold brew requires twice as many grounds as a regular pot of coffee, and therefore contains a far greater amount of caffeine than your average cup.
Watch: How to Make Irish Coffee Jello Shots
For this cold brew deluxe, I used a Bodum French press and some Tim Horton’s dark roast coffee, which was left over from my latest Canadian cooking phase. I allowed the first batch to chill overnight Saturday, and then Sunday, I poured the resulting cold brew into a Mason jar, put in fresh grounds, and repeated the process all over again, using the first batch of undiluted concentrate as the liquid.
Surprisingly, the end-result concentrate was not quite as dark as I anticipated; its shade was more akin to maple than to the pitch black hue I was expecting. However, if I was disappointed in the drink’s appearance, I wasn’t in its potency. Mud’s taste alone is strong enough to overwhelm the taste buds. It’s a drink that brings back memories of caffeine-crammed college study sessions, in which I would order drinks with four espresso shots just to stave off sleep deprivation. It also tastes extremely bitter, which is probably an inherent hazard of using pre-made coffee to make more coffee. Powerful and frightening, its potency demands that it be treated with both respect and caution. Even with just a small, diluted glass, I still was left feeling jittery within 30 minutes of drinking some mud.
Mud isn’t recommendable for daily, or even frequent use, but it could become a life-changing weapon in your caffeine arsenal. When used judiciously, mud could turn out to be delightful experiment in meta brewing—one that provides you with just the right boost.