With these hot summer temperatures, nothing tastes quite as good as a cold, refreshing glass of iced coffee in the morning. For a long time I foolishly thought iced coffee was made from simply chilling hot coffee. No, no. Silly me. Luckily Jolian, being a bit of a iced coffee connoisseur, opened my eyes to the world of cold-brewing. By mixing coarsely ground coffee beans with cold water and allowing them to steep for 12+ hours, you produce a coffee that is smoother, less bitter, with lower acidity. Besides being delicious, one of my favorite things about it is not having to brew coffee every morning and clean the coffee maker every night. Make a batch of the cold-brew coffee concentrate and it’ll last in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, ready to go every morning. There are lots of recipes out there, all varying slightly in their water/coffee ratio, time left to steep, etc. You can make it by simply mixing the coffee and water in a pitcher, or by using a specially designed cold-brew system. We’ve been experimenting with a few different methods this summer, and the recipe below is our favorite.
First, mix 1 lb. of coarsely ground coffee with 10 cups of cold water in a large glass jar. My Fido glass jar fits this quantity perfectly, but feel free to use any container you have on hand. For the coffee grounds, have the person you’re buying them from grind them coarsely, which will be easier to strain out and result in a clearer liquid. If this isn’t possible, no worries, you’ll just have a cloudier coffee. Cover the mixture and allow to steep overnight. I like to leave mine 15 hours.
The next morning, place a fine mesh sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth over a large bowl. Dump the coffee into the sieve and allow to drain through. Discard the cheesecloth and coffee grounds. Reline your sieve with a large coffee filter and strain the coffee mixture again. I sometimes skip this step. It does make a clearer coffee, removing the fine grounds that got through the sieve and cheesecloth, but it takes about 45 minutes to drip through. If I’m in a hurry, I don’t do it, and honestly, I don’t notice that much of a difference. Pour your coffee concentrate in a pitcher or jar and place in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to use your concentrate, fill a glass full of ice. If you are really serious, you can make coffee ice cubes so that your drink doesn’t get diluted as the ice melts. Fill your glass 1/3 – 1/2 full of the concentrate, depending on how strong you like it. Fill the rest of the glass with milk or water. I like to use water and then put a splash of half and half on the top. Sit back, sip, and enjoy!