My Order

What Is Coffee Concentrate?

Coffee concentrate (and coffee extract!) explained.

by Kayla Baird | September 09, 2020

There are many iterations of coffee concentrates — from cold brew concentrate, to hot coffee concentrates, and coffee extracts. While concentrates use water as a solvent to extract solids, extracts use alcohol, often to extract compounds from the coffee to produce health benefits. The resulting liquid can be used in small amounts to add flavoring to just about anything.

What is coffee concentrate?

Coffee concentrates are a great way of brewing a larger amount of black coffee in a short amount of time, or for creating a base for your favorite coffee-themed recipe. In contrast to alcohol used in extracts, water is used as a solvent to extract solids from roasted, ground coffee to create a brewed coffee.

What makes a concentrate different from a regular cup of joe is the addition of coffee (or subtraction of water). A traditional brew recipe might call for 25 grams of ground coffee to 400 grams of water, while a concentrate recipe might call for 50 grams of coffee to 400 grams of cold water.

While a coffee concentrate will be stable in the fridge for a few days, it is best to use the liquid as quickly as possible. This is because coffee starts to lose flavor and aroma as volatile aromatic compounds change, while chlorogenic acids present in the coffee start to sour and produce a bitter taste.

What is green coffee extract?

All green and roasted coffees contain those aforementioned chlorogenic acids, most notably caffeic and quinic. These compounds are associated with antioxidants that are present in both green and roasted coffee, though the chlorogenic acids break down when the coffee is roasted. Green coffee extracts have been developed to get the highest health benefit by creating an extract from green coffee, boasting lower acidity, and bitterness. Since the breakdown alters the presence of caffeic and quinic compounds, which contribute to bitterness in darker roasted coffee, the resulting drink will be less bitter but lacking all the sweetness, body, and natural acidity that makes a roasted cup of hot coffee so special.

What is coffee extract?

Coffee extract is a product of using coffee beans and alcohol to create a concentrated coffee flavoring that can be used in baked goods, ice cream, and cocktails. Whole coffee beans are crushed up coarsely, and mixed with alcohol over a period of weeks. The alcohol acts as a solvent, extracting solids and the essence of the coffee itself. The result is a shelf-stable extract that can replace vanilla extract in any recipe, like these Fluffy Coffee Pancakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups oat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon coffee extract

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, melted butter, and coffee extract. Mix until smooth
  3. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour the batter onto the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake
  4. Brown on both sides and serve hot with creme fraiche and fresh fruit

Coffee concentrate pro tips

While coffee extracts are a convenient way to add coffee flavor to just about anything, the same compounds that give us body and pleasant flavors degrade over time and lead to unpleasant sour and bitter taste. To get all of the flavor of coffee extracts with none of the unpleasantness, try our AeroPress coffee concentrate recipe. If you don’t have an AeroPress coffee maker, our cold brew concentrate recipe is easily adaptable and more shelf stable. This cold brew coffee concentrate will make it easy to create all of your favorite coffee recipes.

Coffee recommendations for making coffee concentrate

Now that you're familiar with coffee concentrate you can start making all of your favorite coffee recipes. The following recommendations are not only great as regular drip coffee, but can be turned into coffee concentrate to create the perfect coffee mixture.

Blueprint’s Peru Cajamarca is chock full of heavenly sweetness! This drink has notes of deep-brown sugar, ripe pear, with a lingering essence of fresh vanilla and caramel.

Anodyne’s Colombia La Pradera combines sweet, earthy tobacco with a complex and juicy orange acidity that makes it a mouthwatering choice for any coffee concentrate recipe.

Stay Golden’s Estate La Esperanza is slick and juicy with dense brownie sweetness, gentle strawberry, and kiwi acidity — and a long lingering aftertaste of panela sugar.