Hi guys! I’m back. After a fantastic long weekend, and despite being laid up with a bad back and smelling seriously of menthol because of it – seriously, how old am I?!? – I’m pushing through and posting something new today. Just know I only do it out of love (and a slight need for validation).
In case you’re unaware, I love coffee. To an unhealthy degree, I’ll fully admit. And as much as a love a steaming cup of hot coffee, I think my love of iced coffee is even greater. Maybe I just want to be more like Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The fad of cold brewing iced coffee has really picked up in the last few years, so after spending a long time wondering how it’s done and assuming it required a bunch of fancy contraptions, I decided to get to the bottom of it. As it turns out, it’s incredibly simple and just requires a little bit of patience (which, I fully understand, might be a foreign concept to you avid coffee drinkers out there). Don’t be fooled by the likes of Williams-Sonoma, trying to sell you a $40 “cold-brew” coffee maker – I guarantee you can cold brew to your heart’s content with what you have in your kitchen right now.
First off, let me give a shout out to the folks at Perc, whose coffee I’m using today for all of my cold brewing purposes.
Perc is the local coffee roasting company here in our lovely town of Savannah, and they really do a bang up job. I’m pretty excited that I can walk into most of the great restaurants here in Savannah and order a cup of this stuff.
So, cold brewing! Here we go.
Making Coffee, the Cold Brew Way
*A good thing to note before we really get going is that what you should get out of the cold brewing process is a iced coffee concentrate. Unless you love really strong coffee, you’re going to need to water down the concentrate before you drink it. It’s pretty ingenious – you can make a bunch of this stuff and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks, and because you’re diluting it as you go, you get a really good amount of coffee for a very little amount of work.
*Okay, let’s talk about ratios. Different sources say different things here, but a lot of people seem to think that a 4 to 1 ratio of water to coffee is the way to go. Personally, I find this to be a little weak. This really doesn’t allow much room for watering down, and it doesn’t really accomplish the whole concentrate thing, at least for me – I found myself drinking the concentrate directly without any dilution whatsoever. So I recommend a 3 TO 1 ratio. Again, for those of you who really want to put hair on your chests, this might be perfect as is. But for most of you, this will give you a great concentrate to work with.
*If you are working with whole bean coffee, obviously start with grinding your coffee – you can grind it somewhat coarse. This will help to avoid some silty coffee as your reach the end of your concentrate.
*Next, take your grounds toss them into a sealable container – this is important, because you’ll need to keep it sealed for a while for the brewing process to work.
*Throw in 3 parts room temperature water to your 1 part of coffee grounds. The grounds will be a little clumpy, so just give the whole mixture a good stir for about a minute until all the grounds are evenly distributed in the water.
*Seal the container and leave at room temperature for at least 12 hours. Basically, instead of letting the heat of the hot water to the brewing work for you, you’re letting time do its thing instead. So definitely be patient. I usually leave my mixture sitting for 24 hours which only makes for a better concentrate.
*Finally, once you’ve let it sit for long enough, you can go ahead and strain the whole mixture. I use my French press, which works like gangbusters, but you can use a regular coffee filter, a cheesecloth…whatever you prefer.
*Stick that concentrate in the fridge and you’re ready to enjoy your delicious cold brew! See? Simple.
You’ll notice that the coffee has a bit of a different flavor than what you’re used to. Some of the bitter acids and oils that come through in the normal brewing process do not come through nearly as much in the cold brewing process. The result is a much smoother cup of iced coffee. It’s not for everyone, but personally, I love it – it’s a little bit sweeter, and to me, the flavors of the bean come out a little bit more than in the traditional brewing process.
All in all, I’m pretty excited that I figured out how easy and practical it is to cold brew coffee at home. I’ve got a batch brewing right now, in fact! I’m still tweaking with the perfect recipe, so I’ll let you know if I have any revelations in the future.
Alright, that’s it for now. I’m going back to my Icy Hot patch and tearing through Season 2 of Arrested Development. Thank god for Netflix. See you tomorrow.