Scientists Have Found a Way to Make Cold-Brew Coffee in Just 3 Minutes

If you’re a fan of cold brew, but you don’t like waiting so long for the perfect glass of coffee, scientists have got your back.

A group of researchers just discovered a way to make cold-brew coffee in three minutes, with the help of ultrasonic waves, the coffee-focused website Sprudge reported on Friday. Coming from the University of New South Wales in Australia, the scientists had originally been trying to find out whether ultrasound could get more antioxidants out of coffee. While that effort was unsuccessful, they stumbled upon a finding that may leave cold-brew drinkers buzzing.

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“There’s nothing like it,” Francisco Trujillo, the study author, told New Scientist. “The flavor is nice, the aroma is nice and the mouthfeel is more viscous and there’s less bitterness than a regular espresso shot. And it has a level of acidity that people seem to like. It’s now my favorite way to drink coffee.”

To arrive at the speedy cold brew, the researchers used an everyday espresso machine, a much more accessible item than the £15,000 ($18,800) ultrasonic equipment they had initially employed. After pulling cold water through an untamped espresso puck, they exposed the coffee to ultrasonic waves for varying amounts of time. After one minute, the cold shot was similar to a 24-hour cold brew, but with a less intense aroma, Sprudge noted. After three minutes, the aroma was more akin to that of your average cold brew, but the flavor was more bitter. The ideal exposure time, then, may be somewhere in the middle.

While the science behind the expedited cold-brew process is likely complicated to an everyday coffee drinker, the researchers said that through “acoustic cavitation” the ultrasonic waves basically smash up the coffee grounds. That allows for more extraction in a shorter period of time. And while Trujillo noted how pleasant the resulting cold brew is, the coffee will be more opaque than regular old cold brew because the ultrasonic waves emulsify the oils in the coffee.

The cold-brew findings are just the latest entry in the science of coffee. Late last year, researchers also discovered that adding some moisture to coffee beans before grinding them resulted in a better cup of joe. Thankfully, these scientists are doing the hard work for us. I’d bet that most wouldn’t have much success trying to figure this out before their morning mug—or two.

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