Is Kyoto Brewing Really Better than Immersion for Commercial Cold Brew Production? – The Kyoto Advantage

Written by Ray Buerger – Brew Bomb

Commercial Cold Brew - Kyoto vs Immersion Brewing

The Kyoto Advantage - Kyoto vs Immersion
Commercial Cold Brew has been a bright spot for the post pandemic coffee industry as strong growth continues in both take away and ready to drink products. With Cold Brew consumption presenting a compelling market opportunity, understanding the difference between immersion and Kyoto style brewing is important when evaluating the equipment options for commercial cold brew production.Cold Brew has historically been crafted using 2 primary methods.
  • The Immersion Process
  • The Kyoto Drip Method.

Immersion Brewing

Immersion brewing is a passive process which is most commonly brewed in a plastic bucket or stainless pot. The technique requires the user to combine water and coarsely ground coffee in the bucket or pot and then wait 12-24 hours for the coffee to extract .

The process is passive as there is not any movement between the grounds and water. The immersion technique utilizes either a paper filter bag or a bottom screen to separate the brew from the grounds at the end of the brewing period. Both filtering methods are marginally effective as immersion brewing always results in a muddy brew full of particulates and sediment.

Immersion brewing does require diligent attention as long brew cycles at room temperatures create an environment ripe for growing bacteria and pathogens. Immersion brewing is common due to the convenient availability of buckets and pots which can compensate for the inconsistent cup quality, poor clarity and when brewing just 1 or 2 buckets at a time, the intensive labor requirements are manageable.

kyoto brewing

Kyoto cold brewing is the process of slowly passing cold or ambient water through a bed of coffee grounds. This brewing technique is an active extraction process as unsaturated water is constantly introduced and passed through the ground bed. The continuous flow of water actively extracts coffee compounds which converts the unsaturated water into Cold Brew Coffee.

Kyoto style extraction is controlled by managing the flow rate of the water through the ground bed. Since varying the flow rate directly changes the brew time, this simple control can bring significant craftability to Cold Brew extraction. The filtration in Kyoto brewing is achieved through an extremely effective self filtering process. The ground bed acts as the filter media which results in crystal clear brew. The active extraction process of Kyoto brewing provides fundamental advantages including a more controlled extraction, shorter brew times, greater yields and a bright clarity in the cup.

Historically, Kyoto Cold Brew is crafted in a glass tower brewer. The brewer is an over under device where the water drips from a top reservoir, through the ground bed and into the bottom collection tank. These glass tower brewers are beautiful and are known for crafting small quantities of Specialty cold brew. While Kyoto brewing is recognized for superb cup quality, the small batch size has precluded this method from being a viable option when scaling commercial cold brew. This all changed in 2017 when Brew Bomb Cold Brew Equipment introduced patented technology for scaling Kyoto cold brew production. Brew Bomb offers a number of commercial brewers ranging from the large scale X-60 to the shop level Ace Brewer.

The ace - a 21st century kyoto brewer

The 5 gallon Ace Brewer utilizes leading edge technology to fully leverage the advantages of Kyoto style Active Cold Extraction.

The Ace brewing system is a web connected platform that uses brew profiles to execute an extraction sequence. A brew profile controls all of the brewing variables including origin, grind, brew time, flow rate and recipe concentration. In addition, the Ace takes this a step further by adding interval brewing which separates extraction time from contact time. The benefit of interval brewing is the ability to develop complex cup qualities without over extracting. A complete brew cycle on the Ace Brewer yields 5 gallons in 2 hours or less and yields 20% more than immersion brewing. Since the Kyoto method uses the ground bed as the filter media, the cold brew is sediment free with no filter bags and clean-up is a simple 5-minute process.

web connectivity - smart kyoto brewing

To facilitate creating and recalling a brew profile, Brew Bomb integrated the Ace Brewer into a connected network architecture. This network, managed through a mobile phone or PC, provides the ability to create and share a profile with either a single brewer or complete network of brewers. Once the profile is shared within your brewer network, a local barista simply recalls the profile and follows the onscreen Brew Wizard to set the brewer up with the selected origin and proper grind setting. After the coffee is loaded into the brew cylinder, a barista presses run and the Ace Brewer automatically executes the brew profile including yield, concentration, time, flow rate and the sequencing of the brew and rest intervals. Having connected brew profiles delivers unparalleled control over scaling consistently crafted, specialty cold brew across multiple locations. The connected system also facilitates real time brew monitoring, performance reporting and system maintenance.

The Ace Brewer Scales Specialty Cold Brew with Technology, not Carbon.

The physical properties of Cold Brew require that centrally produced brew be either retorted or distributed with end to end refrigeration. This makes Cold Brew a difficult product to distribute across multiple locations. The Ace Brewer completely solves the logistics equation by web distributing a craft ready profile and then brewing fresh onsite. This technology has many different applications including multi branch retail operations, branded worldwide coffee roasters and even specialty roasters supplying beans and then distributing with their proprietary paired brew profile. With the Ace Brewer, the challenges of retorting, cold chain logistics and FDA compliance are no longer a consideration. Scale smart, scale fresh.

Web Connectivity Brings The Ancient Kyoto Brewing Method Into The 21st Century

"Utilizing Active Cold Extraction with Pulse Brewing, the Kyoto style brewer crafts 5 gallons of tantalizingly delicious Cold Brew Coffee in 2 hours or less. The Ace Brewer makes slow drip cold brew by following a user created brew profile, which when executed by the brewer’s control system, manages the brewing variables such as time, flow rate and yield. The end result is specialty cold brew consistently crafted to precise standards."

Brew Bomb has released a special Limited-Edition Ace Brewer. Check it out here.

If your production model is built around large scale centralized brewing, Brew Bomb has 2 commercial Kyoto models available. Launched in 2017, the X-Series is the go to solution for leading roasters, mixologists and beer breweries around the world.

A few notable achievements include:
  • In 2019 America’s Best Cold Brew was brewed on a X-60.
  • Mostra Coffee, the 2019 Micro Roaster of the Year brews on a X-45
  • Coffee by Design, the 2019 Macro Roaster of the Year brews on a X-60