Summer has at last arrived! Now that the temperatures are steadily above 75, I typically lean more towards cold beverages. Its safe to say that when I lived in NYC, I spent a mini fortune on iced coffee on a daily basis. — If you’ve never experienced New York City in the summer trust me when I say that the subways feel like saunas, except you’re wearing makeup and your work clothes and have to think cold thoughts and chug cold drinks and try your hardest to not as profusely as you do in Soul cycle. (Needless to say, Im glad I don’t have to go through that this summer). — Iced coffee in New York was never just Iced Coffee. It was usually Cold Brew Coffee and with that name it typically ran me 4-5 dollars for a 16 ounce.
What is Cold Brewed Coffee? And why is it so expensive? And why is it SO delicious? It really is the same coffee you would use for regular drip coffee. The difference is the method of brewing; Rather than rapid brewing with hot water, the freshly coarse ground beans are set in cold filtered water and left to soak for 12-24 hours. This brewing typically yields a more concentrated version of coffee to which you can then dilute with filtered water or a milk of choice. Cold brewing creates a low acidity coffee which means you can enjoy a couple cups without worrying about what your stomach may do afterwards. Due to the low acidity, the cold brewed coffee also has a smoothness like no other cup of coffee; none of the bitterness that a standard hot cup of joe might have. When you cold brew you create a concentrate with more caffeine per ounce than regular coffee.
This whole process is incredibly simple and very quick in regards to hands on work (unfortunately you still have to let it sit for at least 12 hours). I bought organic bulk coffee from a local health food store here in Watertown, but any whole beans would work. If you grind the beans at the store, make sure to grind them on a coarse setting, to ensure your coffee will strain well and isn’t cloudy. You can also opt for PRIME freshness of your coffee by grinding your beans at home. You don’t need a coffee grinder for this, you can simply use a food processor or small bullet blender (again though, make sure to not grind then beans to finely). I advise using a glass container for the brewing to avoid staining and to also avoid a plastic-y flavor. If you do use plastic, be sure you’re using a BPA free hard plastic! Also I suggest using filtered water for this rather than tap water to ensure you yield the smoothest of smooth coffee. For this first batch I used a 32 ounce mason jar (currently 50% off at Jo-Anns Fabric!) and 1 cup (1/4 pound) of coffee grounds. I brewed this batch for 18 hours and then strained. Straining can be done in a variety of different methods. I personally found it incredibly easy to strain with a flour sack towel (equivalent to cheese cloth), the same as when straining homemade almond milk. I placed the towel over a large bowl and pour the brewed mixture and rinsed the left over grounds from the mason jar. I then grabbed the corners of the towel together and twisted around the grounds to squeeze out excess coffee aka liquid gold. I then simply dumped the ground into the trash, rinsed the towel in the sink and then threw it into the laundry basket. If this is not practical for you, then I advise using a fine strainer or sieve. After straining, return the brew into the mason jar and store in the fridge for as long as two weeks (I suggest only 1 week). This batch yielded 6 iced coffees with about 6oz of the concentrate, 6 oz filtered water and topped off with almond milk. You could also go 1:1 with the coffee and milk to get a Cold Brew Latte. Corey and I agreed that this was the smoothest iced coffee we had ever drank; and I will certainly be making two batches of this on a weekly basis (Or will be purchasing a 64 ounce jar).
Cold Brew Coffee
What you need:
- 1/4 lb or 1 cup coffee beans (coarsely ground)
- 4 cups filtered water
- 32 ounce mason jar (or other container)
- Place 1 cup of coarse ground coffee into mason jar.
- Add 4 cups of filtered water.
- Cover and let sit for at least 12 hours on counter or 24 hours in fridge.
- Strain coffee into bowl with cheese cloth, flour sack towel, or sieve.
- Return to mason jar.
- Serve as 1:1 dilution with water or milk.
- Store in fridge for up to one week.