Iced coffee is so good. Lately I’ve been drinking at least two glasses a day, if not three. Now in the winter months I’m not a big hot coffee drinker. Sure I like a good latte as a treat, but I have a sensitive stomach so the acidity in regular coffee often leaves me with an upset tummy. But when the temperatures start rising, I start hitting the iced coffee hard. It tends to be gentler on my stomach and is also smoother, with less of that bitter/burnt taste that coffee sometimes gets.
About a year ago I heard about cold brew coffee, which was promised to be even less bitter and acidic than traditional ice coffee, which is brewed hot and then chilled. After a couple of months I gave into the hype and ordered it at some fancy coffee shop. Let me tell you, it was delicious and definitely lived up to the hype. I was hooked. The only problem? Cold brew coffee is definitely not cheap. It takes longer to produce and requires extra planning on the part of coffee shops. My solution? Do it myself at home, which as it turns out is incredibly easy and delicious. I got to tell you, there’s nothing like chilling on your patio in the morning sun with a cup of cold brew in your hand – a cup that you didn’t have to get dressed or drive to go get.
The key to any good cup of coffee lies in the beans. Never buy ground coffee if you can help it. Buying whole bean coffee and grinding it right before you use it makes ALL the difference. We just started buying the brand Kivu Coffee Roasters, which is Fred Meyer’s private label coffee. It’s roasted either in Seattle or Portland and can be purchased in bulk, which we like. It’s affordable as far as coffee goes and they’ve actually won some tasting competitions. Now we also buy lots of other coffee brands, so this is also just what we currently have in the cupboard.
A french press is probably the easiest way to make cold brew coffee. You can also make it just in a bowl or jar, but this method requires straining the final product through cheese cloth or a coffee filter. The process of cold brewing in a french press is so easy that it takes less active time than brewing a pot of hot coffee! It’s pretty basic. Start by measuring out and grinding your beans. You want to coarsely grind them.
Pour your grounds into your french press and then add the appropriate amount of cold water. I use a 1:4 ratio. For every one cup of coffee, add four cups of water. Use a wooden spoon to gently stir the mixture around once or twice to combine. Then cover the press and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours. I don’t like to put the top on the french press while it’s in the fridge, as the plunger handle sticks out on top. I just cover it with saran wrap.
After your coffee has brewed, remove it from the fridge and put the plunger/top back on your french press. Slowly lower the plunger all the way to the bottom of the pot and then you’re ready to chill out and enjoy. Be warned that cold brew coffee is stronger than your regular cup of joe. I like to enjoy over a lot of ice with nondairy creamer. I’m a slow sipper, so it reaches a normal strength by the time the ice melts. You can also dilute it with a 1:2 coffee to water ratio.
Homemade Cold Brew Coffee
– 1 cup coarsely ground coffee
– 4 cups cold water
Add ground coffee and cold water together in a french press. Stir gently once or twice to combine. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (or up to 24 hours). After an appropriate amount of time has passed, remove the press from the fridge and attached the plunger/top. Slowly push the plunger all the way to the bottom of the pot. Serve the coffee over ice, stirring in water or milk to dilute. A 1:2 coffee to water ratio is typical. Refrigerate the remaining coffee concentrate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.
Have you tried cold brew coffee? It obviously takes some planning ahead to make at home. The key is to make a big enough batch that you can enjoy it all week long.