A Quick Heads Up
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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!) 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 iced 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 freshly baked bread, 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:
Cold Brew Iced Coffee
Yield 16 8oz Fluid Cups
I call this "SaveUrBucks" Cold Brew and it's a lifesaver in the summertime here in Houston. I make this in huge batches because if I run out I get very cranky 😉
- whole bean - Grind them on a medium grind.
- Add the grounds and 1 L water to large pitcher. Stir with spoon and cover.
- Let it sit overnight.
- Place the strainer without a filter over the pyrex measuring cup. Do a first pass strain of the coffee to remove the large solids. Dump the grounds (or use them for fertilizer) and rinse the strainer. Transfer concentrate back to the pitcher (a few grounds in the pitcher are okay at this point).
- Pre-wet your coffee filter (to keep it from sucking up the precious concentrate) and line the strainer with it. Place over the large pyrex measuring cup.
- Carefully pour your concentrate over the filter paper. This step will remove the fine particulates and remaining large grinds from the concentrate. Carefully press out as much remaining liquid as you can.
- Pour concentrate into a storage container of your choice. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks (if it lasts that long)
- Dilute 1:1 with either milk or water and serve over ice.
- I use a breakfast blend typically, however any will work except for a super light roast.
- I highly recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself - the taste so much better because (to get nerdy for a second) most of the complex flavors of coffee come from volatile aromatic compounds that quickly disappear from pre-ground coffee. If you want to start grinding your own beans, we like the Cuisinart Burr Grinder because it has grind size adjustments, a good size capacity for beans, and produces much more consistent grind sizes than a standard grinder. It's also reasonably priced!
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?1