I love iced coffee. I’d you ask my husband it is an unhealthy obsession (just kidding) but when the steamy summer months roll in around these parts, I’m not interested in drinking hot coffee. Feeding a habit like that at Starbucks, even at
$2.00 $3.50 (updated for 2016!) a pop, adds up quickly! I mean, I could get two pedicures a month, or one facial, or one nice dinner date with my husband for what I could spend on coffee in a month.
I was introduced to the beautiful thing that is cold brewed ice coffee last summer when my husband was playing a gig at a small coffee shop in Cypress, TX. Seriously, this poor little shop would have been right at home in a trendy hipster neighborhood, like The Heights in Houston, because it was all about fresh baked breads, pastries, and organic locally roasted coffees. They also liked to host local musicians for weekend patio shows. It was definitely too cool for the neighborhood.
Anyways, it was super hot the day of the show so I ordered an iced coffee. The drink I received was completely unexpected though, creamy and smooth, with an almost sweet chocolate finish. I grilled the barista/owner about how this divine nectar was made and discovered that it was made by the magical process of cold brewing, which I had never heard of before.
Essentially the process involves mixing coffee grinds and water at room temperature, and then letting it sit for 12-24 hours before straining. Now, if you travel to the intense parts of the coffee interwebs people debate and argue over the best time, grind size, water to grind ratio, weight versus volume…. You get the idea. I’ve experimented with some of this myself, and find that this works best for me.
What you need:
- 3+ cup mason jar (or container with lid)
- 1 cup coffee, medium grind (I used a breakfast blend, but anything except a super light roast will work)
- 3 cups water, filtered
- fine mesh strainer
- paper coffee filter
- container to catch concentrate (I use a large pyrex measuring cup)
- container to keep your concentrate in (w/a lid)
How it goes:
- If you bought beans – GOOD! Grind them on a medium grind. (if you bought pre-ground use it quickly, but even then start buying whole beans and grinding them yourself… the flavor dissipates too fast otherwise)
- Add your beans and water to the mason jar. Add the lid and shake it up.
- Let it sit overnight.
- Pre-wet your coffee filter (to keep it from sucking up your precious concentrate) and line your strainer with it. Place over your collection vessel.
- Carefully pour your concentrate over the filter paper and watch it pour! You may have to do this in batches if your filter/strainer aren’t large.
- Carefully press out as much remaining liquid as you can, then discard (or better yet – use as fertilizer) your grinds.
- Pour your black gold into your storage container.
When you are ready to drink your heady brew, dilute 1:1 with water, milk, cream, or if you are really feeling saucy – sweetened condensed milk.
My cold brew’s final resting place was … err… borrowed from another cold-brew coffee company. But hey, they are from Austin, TX so they will be okay with me recycling. It’s good for the environment!
Update (Summer 2016)
I now make this is larger batches because… well, because I’m lazy and the straining process takes a while. Also, I use a kitchen scale to weigh my coffee and water because it’s more precise, but if you don’t want to it will still work. I’m including both weight and normal measurements. So, here’s what’s new:
- Coffee grounds – 464 grams (1 lb) – ground on a medium size if you own a grinder
- Filtered Water – 2000 grams (2 liters)
I recommend to sift your grinds through your strainer before adding to the water to get rid of the coffee “dust” – this will gum up your filtration later on, I have learned from experience. After this, I mix the remaining grinds and water in a giant plastic drink container and let it sit out overnight. Then I do a first pass filter through a fine mesh strainer (we love this Culina we got from Amazon) to strain out the large grinds, pressing gently on the pile to liberate any additional concentrate trapped in there. Dump your grinds (or save them for your garden) and rinse the strainer before adding your (moistened) paper filter to the strainer basket. Pour your concentrate back through this paper filter setup to eliminate any fine particulates. Once that’s all cleared you can store it in the fridge in the plastic container or something fancier if that’s your thing. That should last you about a week or two, unless you’re a coffee fiend like me and then it’s about 4 days. 😉
Have you ever tried to cold brew your own iced coffee? Or do you prefer to brew directly over ice (I do that too when I forget to make a batch or don’t have time by the way – the Brooklyn Roasting Company K-cups are particularly well-suited to this technique) Or maybe you are like my husband and just don’t really prefer iced coffee at all?
Talk to me!