When I first heard about “cold brew coffee” I thought it was just some hipster nonsense. I thought it was a way to make coffee weirder, harder and in using more coffee, more expensive. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and am ashamed that I had such a harsh impression of the ONLY way I drink coffee anymore.
I have been drinking iced coffee for years. Most morning I would pour my hot coffee over a cup of ice, only to have a watered down version of my coffee, and usually a bitter tasting drink whose only saving grace was now that it was cold, I could drink it fast to get my morning caffeine fix. I tried my hand at cold brew a few times because I did hear it made a better iced coffee. I heard the flavors were more distinct, less bitter and well, quite the bit stronger. That was exactly what I was looking for. Though my first few attempts ended in an undrinkable sludgy mess, I have perfected a simple version that I put together in the evening, and is waiting for me in the morning. It’s simple enough to make, and the taste is not only better, but less acidic, smoother and the soaking time brings out the more round, fruity notes not always prevalent in a hot cup of joe.
Another thing that I like about cold brew is you can make it anywhere. It doesn’t require anything too fancy to make, and can be made various ways. There is no right way as long as you have water, something to stir with, a jar, coffee and a filter/strainer. Now there are cold brew kits, but do not be fooled, you don’t need them. Although I use my french press for convenience (and they are cheap), you certainly could just use a mason jar and a strainer.
The coffee taste great, although its technically a concentrate, I drink it straight, but my wife likes it better half milk, half coffee (and a pound of sugar…just kidding). You can make it in large batches and you can even store it, unlike regular coffee that tastes stale, I think cold brew taste even better after a day or two if you let it last that long. You can really store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It taste great and is better and cheaper than an iced coffee at a coffee shop and it is a fun way to turn coffee into a tough guy/girl project. It’s certainly a rewarding cup of coffee to say the least.
I have tried many methods and ratios and this is the best I’ve tried. You can add more or less coffee/water if you would like, but this is a starting point and it will be hard not to keep you hooked once you give it a shot. I make my coffee in a french press, but you can try any varied method you find, though Id still suggest following my ratio.
Here’s what you’ll need to make cold brew iced coffee.
Yield: 2 cups of concentrate (enough for 2-4 drinks).
2/3 cup coffee, coarsely ground
3 1/2 cups water
Now, let’s see how to make it.
Step one: Put 2/3 cup of coffee into the french press. If you have a smaller french press just split the recipe in half. I have used all different grinds and roasts. It will make your cheap stuff taste better and your expensive stuff taste like magic. Course grind is best, but whatever your french press can handle is fine.
Step two: Pour in the water. Make sure to soak all the grounds and relish in the delicious sludge you are about to make.
Step three: Stir. Make sure all the coffee grounds are wet. I have read somewhere that it’s important to use something that isn’t metal as it can give the coffee a slightly off taste. I don’t know if thats just nonsense or not, but why risk it? Coffee is serious business.
Step four: Place the lid on your french press, but don’t strain it. Leave the plunger up.
Step 5: Place it in your refrigerator for at least 12 and up to 18 hours. I have made enough space to be able to put my french press in my refrigerator with the plunger up and it works great that way. Simple pour first thing in the morning. I usually put the coffee in after dinner so I can have it waiting for me in the morning.
Step six: After 12-18 hours just push down the plunger in your french press. I don’t know why exactly its harder to do after sitting there all night, but it is. Anyway, push down completely.
Step seven: Optionally, you can also strain it through a coffee filter to get rid of the “coffee dust” that can be seen in the bottom of you cup. I don’t mind it, and it doesn’t effect me at all, so I don’t waste any more valuable coffee drinking time.
Step eight: Serve and enjoy. It is a concentrate, though I drink it straight, and you can do half milk, ice, half water, creamer, any variation. Transfer any left over into a different jar or pitcher, and don’t forget to clean out your french press!
Give it a try! It’s definitely worth it, and I have a hard time drinking coffee any other way now. I use a decent quality coffee and am surprised at the difference in taste from the traditional hot coffee. I have also read you can infuse it over night with things like a piece of chocolate, or sea salt for different flavors. Sounds fun, but I like my coffee to taste just like coffee. Make as little or as much as you like, it stays fresh for up to 2 weeks and is the perfect jolt for the morning, afternoon, or even to keep you hanging in there for late nights.