Saturday, October 22, 2011

No Knead Pain Au Levain

Lets talk about Jim Lahey's no knead bread. I have made it a few times in the past, and thought it was alright..but only recently realized how good it really is. As much as I love the entire bread making process - it can be a bit of a pain to do on a regular basis at home. So I have been playing around a bit with the no knead recipe because it is practical to make regularly at home. I want to see what I can do to improve on it. First things first - get a weight measurement rather than volume - which is what was printed in the New York Times. Easy enough. I think my third time making the bread I weighed everything and this is what I got (and have been using since).

472 g Bread Flour (I use King Arthur)
1 g Instant Yeast
8.3 g Salt (8 g is fine if you dont have a scale that measures less than 1g)
370 g Water (Filtered or Spring. 24 degrees C)

Simply to combine everything, let it ferment 18 hours, turn out onto a bench & fold a few times. Rest. Shape. Proof two hours - when you start proofing turn your oven on to 450 & put a dutch oven in it. Once the bread is ready to bake, put the dough into the hot dutch oven, cover and bake 30 mins. Remove cover and bake until done, 15 - 30 additional minutes. 

With that down, what is the next step I can take to improve the bread? 

Use a poolish. 

There are...different interpretations of what a poolish is but in the interest of brevity and ease (remember I want a bread that is a breeze to make often) I would recommend using one that I learned from this man. What you do is start with your water in the container that you plan on fermenting your dough. Sprinkle your yeast on the surface of your water, and then add your flour. No need to mix, just let it sit as is. Put your salt in a small well on top of the flour. Let this sit at room temperature a minimum of 15 minutes - and then proceed as normal (mix everything together, ferment, and so on)

How much does this improve the flavor? Marginally, if at all. So what else is there?

Pate fermentee. 

This is what I was doing for a while, with consistently good results. You start as normal, mixing everything together and letting it ferment 18 hours. Immediately after folding your dough, that is after turning it out onto your bench, cut away a fist size piece and put it into a container. Keep this in your fridge until you are ready to make another batch.  The next time you make the bread, add the (couple day) old dough to it. After the bulk fermentation, cut out another piece and save it for the following time you make bread.  Keep doing this every time you make bread. I felt that this helped the flavor of the bread quite a bit. 

And now the pain au levain, or pane levan, or whatever you want to call it. This is naturally risen bread. Made without the use of commercial yeasts. If you are looking to make this bead I can only imagine that you have a starter that you maintain. I keep mine refreshed at a 1:1:1 ratio. So if you want the bread you see in my should too. But its not that important. If you have a liquid starter or a firm will all work so long as it is alive and active. 

Here is the recipe that I use - as you can see it is a modified version of the regular recipe. 

475 g Flour
370 g H2O (24 C, filtered or spring)
8.3 g Salt
190 g Levain 

Measure the water, add the levain and mix until it is pretty much dissolved. Then add the other ingredients and mix until they form a dough. 

Put the dough in a large container & ferment for 18 hours. As you can see below, my dough had expanded to about 2.5 Q.

After fermenting 18 hours, turn your dough out onto a floured bench. Fold it a few times until it feels manageable. Let it rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Shape however your heart desires and proof for two hours - on a floured couche or silpat if your using the dutch oven. I use a banneton/bratform. It all depends on what shape youre going for. In the end you should bake it at 450 for close to an hour. Its a big loaf (if your not using the dutch oven you could divide it into two loaves). 

This is what you get. Beautiful crust & crumb. Lovely sourdough flavor. Just a great loaf of bread. And easy enough to make every day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How Wet Is Your Dough or A Visual Representation of the Effect of Dough Hydration on Hearth Baked Bread

Left to Right: 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%, 110%
So I wanted to give a visual representation of the effect that water has on your bread.  The hydration level of your dough is directly related to the amount of flour in your dough. To figure it out you  divide the water weight by the flour weight. For example if you have 100 g of water and 200 g of flour, your formula would be: 100/200 = hydration level or 100/200 = 0.5 which means you have 50% hydration. Simple enough, right?

I seem to have 'misplaced' my notebook where I wrote the specific recipe that I used but the ratios were based off of Jim Lahey's 'No Knead' recipe (which I translated to weight measurements a while ago). I just scaled it down to have smaller loaves and - of course - I changed the water measurement. 

I decided on making doughs with 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%,  and 110% hydration. In order to eliminate as many variables as possible I did not knead any of the doughs...seems appropriate for using the no knead forumla. Anyway - I also skipped over some techniques that bakers use to make higher hydration doughs more...friendly to work with. I did not score the doughs. I did not use steam (pitching ice cubes). I baked everything for the same amount of time at the same temperature regardless of how 'done' it was.

The actual process went as follows: 
1. I scaled everything
2. I mixed all the doughs
3. I fermented the doughs at 24 degrees C for exactly 18 hours. This would provide adequate time for gluten to develop without kneading the doughs. 
4. I folded the doughs 2 times
5. I rested the doughs 15 minutes
6. I shaped the doughs into 'boules'. (I am using that term loosely)
7. I proofed the dough at 24 degrees C for exactly 2 hours.
8. Everything was baked for exactly 45 minutes and then cooled on a wire rack until room temperature. 

Clockwise from the top right: 60%, 80%, 70%, 50%
The 50% was not extensible at all and was rather difficult to shape. Things got progressively easier as the hydration level went up (go figure).

Clockwise from top right: 100%, 110%, 90%
This is where the hydration started to make shaping the dough more difficult. The boules are a bit larger because rather than holding a nice shape, they spread out.

50% - Notice the tight, round shape & fluffy, sandwich bread like crumb.

60% - Shape still holding pretty well, crumb starting to have larger bubbles. This looks like a store bought loaf of 'french bread' to me. 

70% - Maybe a bit more open structure than 60% but still pretty similar

80% - Losing its shape a bit, noticeable change in the crumb.

90% - Not sure why this one held its shape better than the 80%. 

100% - Less round shape, crumb looks moist, chewy crust.
110% - Flattest shape, open structure, moist interior, chewy crust.

Lets take another look at the first photo:
Left to Right: 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%, 110%
Here you can see pretty clearly that the crumb progressively became more and more open and moist - as well as the fact that the dough held its shape better as the hydration level went down. 60 - 80 were a joy to work with. 50 & 90-110  were not so much. I had a batch of 120% but it was more like a batter and...well it didn't survive. It could have though, if I was more prepared for it. Ill give it another shot sometime soon.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back Online


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sous Vide Coffee ..?

A few days ago I was trying to figure out what temperature I should try my first round of sous vide coffee at...I sat on the web for hours trying to find any bit of information on making coffee this way and...well I didn't find any. Ive already talked about how crappy my googling skills cut me some slack here. This caused me a bit of stress because there were an infinite number of variables...any temperature (above say...4.5 C) for any amount of time. So there I was trying to think of other things...similar enough to coffee that I could try to find some times and temps for. As I was doing this I was sipping a cup of coffee and I realized that it was a very nice temperature. Not super hot, still I stuck a probe in it and took the temperature....51.5 C (124.7 F for my fellow Americans). And with that I had my starting temp. 

For this round, the brew was the same for all cups - the variable was the time.

Brew: Standard, Sous Vide
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Water Bath Temperature: 51.5 C
Grinds: 10.6 g, room temperature
Water: 171 g, filtered through a Brita, room temperature

Brew Time(s):
Bag A: 10 minutes
Bag B: 30 minutes
Bag C: 60 minutes
Bag D: 120 minutes
Bag E: 180 minutes
Bag F: 240 minutes

(*some bags stayed sealed at room temperature for a few minutes while I filled and sealed the other bags)

Bag A:
As you can see this brew is pretty clear. I decided on 10 minutes as my first pull because the water temp was...about half what a normal brew would be so...therefore it would take twice as long (logical, right...ugh). Really, I was having a particularly groggy I wound up guzzling the entire glass before realizing I should save some for a comparison at the end of the test. Oh well.

So what did I think of the 10 minute brew? Not bad, actually. It was a little...watered down. That is, the flavors were not very intense yet. It was mellow, nutty, roasty - had a sweet middle and was definitely not very acidic. 

Bag B:
Maybe a shade darker than Bag A? 

This brew had a slightly stronger flavor. It was actually a really good cup of coffee. Not very acidic, lots of darker flavors, the perfect amount of bitterness. I also drank this entire it was not present for the comparison at the end. I suspect this was my favorite brew but it may have been...

Bag C:
Getting darker..

Very similar to Bag B. Enough so its difficult to describe their differences...but I think this one was just a tad better. The finish seemed a little more bitter...and it was just slightly less sweet overall.

Bag D: 
Looks pretty dark now

So this one was the first brew that was opaque. As you can see, light was not passing through it completely. It also did not filter as easily as the others. It wasn't bad either...bitter up front that quickly dies into a mellow...sweet flavor..and then finishes bitter. Overall the flavor was starting to seem a little out of balance. Maybe a little too much bitter flavors here.

Bag E:
Hard to tell if its any darker than Bag D, but...well its dark.

This one tasted a bit...chalky. Is that a flavor? Kind of bland. I don't seemed odd.

Bag F:
Definitely the darkest of all the pours

This was...okay. A bit acidic now.

So in the end, I had kept some of Bags C, D, E & F in the fridge to see how they compared to each other.  Here's what I thought:
1: Bag D (120)
2: Bag C (60)
3: Bag F (240)
4: Bag E (180) - I thought this ones flavor was the most similar to the n2o cold brew I was doing, but it had a very strong bitter finish that kind of ruined the flavor.

Now..I drank these cold, and...if you don't already know - you perceive flavors differently at different temperatures. This is why you should always adjust seasoning after tasting something at the temperature you intend to serve it at. Initially, for the hot pours I thought that my favorite was either Bag B or Bag C, but cold I definitely liked Bag D more than C. So...a definitive line up is hard to give. Here's what Katie thought (she only tried the cold pours of Bags C,D,E, & F):

1: Bag F (240)
2: Bag C (60)
3: Bag E (180)
4: Bag D (120)

What does that tell me? We both liked Bag C? Hmm...yeah, but really its the same as before - all of this is totally dependent on flavor preferences...which can change at any time for any reason. If I ran this today my results could have been completely different. 

One conclusion I did make with this though? This middle temperature brewing kind of brought the best of both worlds (as far as I am concerned anyway). It wasn't too sweet, like cold brews have a tendency to be. It wasn't too acidic, like a lot of hot brews are. It had a very nice balance of both slightly sweet (cold brew)  and darker, more roasty (hot brew) flavors. I'm excited to explore it some more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coffee Break

No new coffee stuff today. Probably tomorrow. Not a whole lot of time for a write up, but thought I would share some photos from the ACF National Convention. These are all from the petite fours part of the ACF Culinary Youth Team USA's cold food display. What a nightmare these must have been to construct!

 Pistachio & Raisin Nougat, Pistachio Croquant and Macaron:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Layered Cake, Grape Glaze, Marzipan Grapes: 

Lemon, Vanilla, Champagne and Concord Grape Pate de Fruit, Meringue Sticks, Pate a Choux Filigree, Sugar Champagne Glass:

Goat Cheese Mousse, Wine Poached Pear, Honey Tuile, Chocolate & Royal Icing Wine Bottles:

Strawberry Bavarian and Gelee with Rose Glaze, Strawberry Jam Sandwich Cookies, Strawberry Crisp:

The petite fours display:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

(Mis)Adventures in Coffee Making

I had some big things planned for today. Okay well maybe not that big - but I was going to break out my immersion circulator and make some sous vide coffee but then we had a hurricane hit in freaking upstate New York - I suspected that I would lose power (which I did) and didn't want to have that bad boy running when that happened. SO instead I decided to make some other ridiculous (to me anyway) brews and force them on my father and sister. I didn't really go the same length to record temperatures and times and all that stuff so...just have fun with it.

What did I make?
Norwegian Egg Coffee: Basically this is coffee that you brew with eggs in it. The something or polyphenols and with which to bind i--- just read this if you give a shit. Heres my recipe(s):

Batch A:
Brew: Norwegian Egg Coffee
Grinds: 40 g, mixed with 50 g cold water and 25g egg whites
Water: 500 g boiling, 141 g cold.

Basically you make a paste with the grinds, water and egg whites. Toss it into the (500 g) of boiling water. I let it rip for 3 minutes, at which point I took it off the heat and added the remaining cold water. I let it sit for 3 more minutes and then strained/filtered it.

Batch B: 
Same as above except I used 25 g of whole eggs rather than just the whites

Getting ready to strain and filter my egg coffee.
The egg white coffee came out pretty was very middle of the road, no real strong or objectionable flavors. I would definitely make this again. Sadly, I cannot say the same about the whole egg coffee. While it wasn't tasted like...well coffee with eggs. In fact if you told me you had some egg flavored coffee I would assume it was way worse than this actually was....but thats not to say it was particularly good. 

I also decided to make some salted coffee. Adding salt to your coffee has been on my radar for a while now but Ive never bothered to try it...basically because I never remember to. When I was searching for stuff to make today it dawned on me to give salted coffee a whirl. The idea is pretty straight forward. Salt is a flavor why not use it to enhance the flavor of your coffee? The trick that everyone seems to mention is adding a bit of salt to your tonic water to make the bitterness from the quinine disappear. 

So after a bit of research - and I do mean a bit - I decided that I should be adding about 0.05 g of salt per 300 g of coffee. Some people add the salt prior to brewing, some after. I added it after. Only reason was so I had some plain coffee to contrast with the salted coffee. So anyway...I made my normal coffee (31.8 g grinds, 510.29 g water), scaled it to 300 g, added the salt and...well that was it.

The regular coffee was alright, but...the flavors were not balanced at all. It was really all over the place and pretty acidic...I wasn't too crazy about it. The salted version was...much better. The salt definitely helped to calm down the made it taste much more balanced...but the finish wasn't the best. I think that has more to do with the crappy coffee I was using than the salt. Its probably worth looking into this a bit more. 

I wanted to have something else to try...mostly because I was bored. When I was looking around online I stumbled across a recipe for Taiwanese sea salt coffee. Apparently this is the number one selling coffee drink in Taiwan. The recipe I found said it was pretty close to the 85 C (think...starbucks) I gave it a whirl. I had a bucket of regular old cold brew coffee in the fridge. All I had to do was make some whipped cream with salt and put some on top. Easy! The recipe said to use 6 g of salt per 230 of heavy cream, which I did...and was INCREDIBLY salty. guessed it. This was gross. I could see it maybe being okay with a lot less salt...but it was definitely really salty. If I ever goto Taiwan (it could happen)...or if I happen to be in Irvine CA...I will buy a cup of this stuff to see how far off mine was. 

So...interestingly enough...all three of us didn't really agree on what was best and what was worst. Heres the results..

1: Black Salted 
2: Black Unsalted
3: Norwegian Egg White
4: Norwegian Whole Egg
5: Taiwanese Sea Salt


1: Norwegian Egg White 
2: Black Salted
3: Black Unsalted
4: Norwegian Whole Egg 
5: Taiwanese Sea Salt 

1: Black Salted
2: Norwegian Whole Egg 
3: Black Unsalted
4: Taiwanese Sea Salt 
5: Norwegian Egg White 

1: Black Unsalted
2: Norwegian Egg White 
3: Black Salted
4: Norwegian Whole Egg
5: Taiwanese Sea Salt

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adventures in Coffee Making Part III

Todays coffee only differs slightly from yesterdays. When I was living in Chicago, I pretty much stuck with cold brewing coffee because I had such a small window of time in the morning every second saved was...well..appreciated. I would stick with four scoops in my nalgene, topped with cold tap water and in the fridge until it was time to drink it (usually 14 hours minimum). I really enjoyed this brew but never experimented much with it. Occasionally I would fill the nalgene with hot water from the tap and then place it directly in the fridge - and I always thought/suspected that it produced a better tasting cup. So...thats my lead up for todays experiment. What I did for this was place the grinds in the brewing vessel, topped them with 100 g of 94.4 C water, let them sit for five minutes, and then finished filling them with room temperature water. You'll notice my ratio is slightly different (+7.61 g of water) than it has been - this is just because of an accidental over pour and not wanting to toss the whole batch.  For the heck of it I also compared it with my regular old automatic drip again. I did regular and aerated pours for each batch. Here we go:

Batch A:
Brew: n2o in 1 liter canister
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: Tap, filtered through a Brita, 100 g @ 94.4 C, 418 g at room temperature
Charges: 2*
Brew Time: 15 hours 18 minutes in fridge
* When I first sealed the canister and started the first charge I noticed some gas leaking. I immediately discharged all gas, opened the container, resealed it, and then charged it with 2 new charges. I dont think this had any effect on the brew.

Batch B:
Brew: Grinds and h2o in 1 liter plastic container
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: Tap, filtered through a Brita, 100 g @ 94.4 C, 418 g at room temperature
Brew Time: 15 hours 18 minutes in fridge

Batch C:
Brew: Automatic Drip
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: Tap, filtered through a Brita, 518 g at whatever temperature my KRUPS brews
Brew Time: A few minutes

So the first thing I noticed this morning was that the two cold brews were darker in color than they have been. Batch B & C were both relatively clear, while Batch A was as cloudy as it has been.

Batch C:
As you can see, the color is dark and it is relatively clear. Sorry about the condensation on the lens.

Batch B:
 You may have to click the photo to enlarge it - but, again - you will notice that it is relatively clear compared to batch A below

Batch A:
 Dark in color, very cloudy. The oils that I mentioned seeing on the surface of the n2o brew day 1 were back today on Batch A - as you can see here:

Batch B: 
There was also a very small amount of oils on the surface of Batch B.

While its not entirely apparent in the photos above, because of different lighting, Batch A & B are virtually the same color - the only difference seems to be their clarity. Batch C was a slightly darker shade than the other batches. 

Batch C - I think I prefer the regular pour over the aerated pour..for no particular reason. It still tastes a little funny when compared to the cold brews. Much more acidic, the flavors seem...out of whack.

Overall, the flavors of Batch A & B seem less sweet to me than they have in the past. They're definitely still sweet up front, but it dies off much faster than before. The dominate flavors are dark and roasty. Batch A finishes with a flavor that I can only describe as wheaty or malty.

Like yesterday, Batch B tastes pretty much like a watered down version of Batch A. It also tastes...cleaner (if that makes sense). The flavor does not linger at all - once you swallow it is gone. Batch A really sticks with you for a while after swallowing. Definitely gives you coffee breath.

Thats it for observations. Heres the rundown.
1: Batch B, Regular pour
2: Batch A, Regular pour
3: Batch A, Aerated pour
4: Batch B, Aerated pour
5: Batch C, Regular pour
6: Batch C, Aerated pour

So it seems the aerated pours, which I have preferred leading up to the post, were not favored today. Could this be because of the method used in brewing? Or just because of the flavors I wanted this morning? Who knows. Definitely seems like the hot automatic drip sucks though. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Adventures in Coffee Making Part II

So for todays coffee I redid the n2o cold brew that I made yesterday and compared it to what I would consider my normal cold brew coffee.

Batch A: 
Brew: n2o in 1 liter canister
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: 510.29 g, tap, filtered through a Brita, room temperature
Charges: 2
Brew Time: 15 hours in fridge

Batch B:
Brew: Grinds and h2o in 1 liter plastic container
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: 510.29 g, filtered through a Brita, room temperature
Brew Time: 15 hours in fridge

So I did break out my 'real' camera for todays comparison. However its pretty apparent that I still do not really know the finer points of photography. I tried using a backlight to really show the difference in color between the different brews but that just kind of made my pictures really dark. Either way - if you look at the picture above you can see the difference - Batch A, on the left is much more opaque than Batch B, on the right.

Above you have the regular pour of Batch A. The only difference I noticed between today and yesterday was the absence of the oils on the surface. Not sure what would cause this but...okay. The flavor was, as far as I could tell, identical to yesterdays brew. One thing I did not note yesterday, and which happened again today was I had to change the filter in the middle of straining Batch A because of an excess of fine particles. This was not the case for Batch B - which was identical with the exception of the n2o.

Above you have the aerated pour of Batch A. My process was the same as yesterday, pouring the coffee between two glasses 20 times. The bubbles you see on the surface are there because this was the last cup I poured before snapping pictures - it did not have time for them to work their way out. 

 This was the regular pour for Batch B - it looks a little weird in the picture mostly because its a crappy picture. This looked identical to the aerated pour which is pictured below - showing the clarity much better.

Okay so..Batch A tasted more or less so exactly the same as yesterday. The aerated pour wasn't quite as mellow as I remembered it being yesterday, but it was still my favorite pour by a large margin. Batch B tasted much more like Batch A that the hot automatic drip did - making the comparison a little more difficult today. For the most part Batch B just tasted like a slightly watered down version of Batch A. As I mentioned above, and from what you can see in the pictures - Batch A was much more opaque than Batch B. From what I understand of coffee brewing in general - the pressure on the grinds when you make espresso helps extract oils which emulsify and become the crema in the end. My best guess here? The pressure in the isi canister is much greater than what is produced in an espresso machine - so maybe the oils are suspended throughout the coffee rather than in crema on top?

 Or maybe Im an idiot. 

So top to bottom. Best to worst. My favorite was the aerated pour of the cold n2o brew. A distant second  would be the regular pour of the regular cold brew. Just a hair behind that would be the regular pour of the cold n2o brew. And in last place is the aerated pour of the regular cold brew. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adventures in Coffee Making Part I

Okay - so first things first. Im going to apologize now for the less than stellar photography in this post. Everything was done in a bit of a rush and I can see that its going to require a bit more thought and maybe even breaking out my 'real' camera. These coffee posts are going to be..on going - so it will be fun to see the evolution of the photograph...I guess.

So a friend and I have been randomly bullshitting about coffee and fun ways of brewing it (stemming from him having some ordeal with a broken burr grinder and a coffee snob, and me then talking about the old silex that was found in my attic). So fast forward a bit and I was sitting around thinking about making some desserts and how I have yet to use my iSi canister that Ive had for about a year...and I remember reading about how you can make instant infusions with the iSi canister. For some reason the first thing that came to mind was coffee...and then I was off, in the bowels of the internet, trying to find any information I could possibly come up with. And there was a couple sites that had talked about playing with it. And I mean a in two. Im sure theres more but my googling skills are only so-so. 

Anyway, in the time I spent searching for information on what I will now refer to as the "n2o brew" I came across about a million other variables that people take into consideration when brewing coffee and some pretty interesting ideas on how to get the perfect cup.

 Im rambling now. Time to get down to business. Ive decided to pursue a better cup of coffee - no matter how impractical it is. And because of the lack of information out there (or at least the lack of information-that-greg-can-find-quickly) I am going to document my results on here. Because theres a lot of really long brew times, I only have one iSi canister, etc.. these wont be very...scientific, but I will do my best to document everything and be as consistent about things as possible. So here goes (and please remember my disclaimer about the photos!)

Brew: n2o in 1 liter canister
Room Temperature: 24.4 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: 510.29 g tap, filtered through a Brita, room temperature
Charges: 2
Brew Time: 15 h 24m in fridge

So I simply put room temperature water and grinds in the canister, charged it twice and tossed it in the fridge for 15 hours & 24 minutes. Today, when I was going to taste the n2o brew, I also poured a hot cup of coffee made in my KRUPS automatic drip with the same ratio and ingredients. This is more-or-less what I have every day. I also took a cup of the n2o brew and poured it between two cups 20 times to aerate it a bit (just like you would with wine. Sadly I do not have one of those wine aerators so instead I made a huge mess). This gave me three different cups to taste (aerated n2o cold brew, n2o cold brew, automatic hot brew)

 What you see above is the n2o cold brew on the left, and the automatic hot brew on the right. Its a bit hard to tell, but the n20 brew is a lighter color and cloudier than the hot brew.
 There was also a noticeable amount of oils on the surface of the n2o brew - did my best to capture these with my iPhone.
 Versus the complete lack of oils on the surface of the hot brew.
 I was having a hard time capture the colors with my phone so I put all three brews into pipettes. From the top down you have the aerated n20 cold brew, the n20 cold brew, and the automatic hot brew. As you can see there is virtually no difference in color between the two n2o brews and the hot brew is noticeably darker.
L-R: Aerated n2o, n2o, hot automatic drip results. The two n2o cups were very similar - Im not sure how effective my aerating process was but I do think that the aerated cup was the most enjoyable - same flavor profiles as the plain n2o but not quite as in your face. Both n2o cups were very sweet (everything was unsweetened and black) up front and then mellowed into a somewhat complex, roasty flavor. Definitely good coffee. Now for what was most shocking to me - the hot brew, which I mentioned I have been drinking daily, was practically undrinkable by comparison. The flavor was completely different - if this was a blind test I would not have believed they were made from the same bean. 

So my conclusion - Aerating the coffee helps soften the flavors, n2o cold brew is tasty - but is it tastier than a normal cold brew? And I cannot believe how bad my normal coffee is.