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Cooling-Off Period

Some drinks are worth a 72-hour wait.

We all love the odd glass of ice-cold joe or cuppa to quench our thirst on a sweltering hot day.

But truth be told, compared to a properly brewed cup, the gelid version lacks the body and oomph a connoisseur craves. Local cafes have found a solution, but here’s the catch: It takes up to 72 hours to prepare it.

Les Delices in the Kreta Ayer neighbourhood serves Chinese tea to pair with its signature French pastries. But don’t expect a steaming cup of Pu-erh or oolong tea. Instead, the cafe steeps the unblended tea leaves in cold water then leaves them overnight in the refrigerator.

“This cold-brew method naturally draws out flavour compounds without extracting the bitterness and other unpleasant compounds that result when tea is brewed with hot water,” says tea consultant Kenny Leong. A cold-brew Pu-erh, for instance, is fruitier and more delicate in flavour, and complements lighter cakes.

It’s not just tea that receives this treatment. Jewel Coffee, which has outlets in Shenton Way and Rangoon Road, has both cold-brew and cold-drip coffee as alternatives to an iced Americano. The latter method is also a tedious wait – baristas put ice in the top column of glass tower drippers, then wait for it to melt. Valves between the ice and coffee grounds ensure that the water doesn’t flow through too quickly for the maximum amount of caffeine to be extracted.

It takes over 18 hours to produce just 1.5 litres of coffee per tower (two pictured above) – that’s seven glasses of brew.

Just Want Coffee in Everton Park uses a similar cold-drip method, but takes it a step further by fermenting the cold coffee for another two days. This extends its production time to 72 hours.“The fermentation plays a significant role in creating a rich and fragrant body for ice-drip coffee, and can contribute complex wine-like flavours,” says manager Shaun Chua.

But the wait is worth it. “If you put ice into hot coffee, it usually ends up tasting weak and flavourless as hot coffee itself is already lighter than an ice-drip one, which has a higher caffeine level,” says Chua. Perfect for when every bit of caffeine counts.

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