Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
While I was visiting Boston, one day when I was in need of a caffeine fix, I stopped by this little coffee shop and – darned if I can remember the name of it, but they had a large sign outside proclaiming they had “cold brewed coffee”. I was like… Cold Brewed Coffee? Really? Of course, I had to try it. And it was awesome. Particularly, in the humid Massachussetts summer heat. They served it sweetened and blended with ice and milk, and it was probably the best coffee drink I could remember having in a long while. Atleast, until I started brewing my own.
When I got home, I did a little research on it, and discovered I was a little late to the game – people have been talking about cold brewed coffee for a while now, in fact there are even places where you can buy a whole system just for brewing cold coffee. When I dug a little deeper though, I found out that you don’t really need any special equipment, and I already had all the basic tools neccessary to make – the biggest difference was getting a different grind of coffee. From what I found out, the best grind for cold brewed coffee is a very coarse ground. In the picture above, you can see on the right hand side is the grind we normally have around the house, which we use to make Espresso. It’s very fine, almost powdery. On the left is the grind I used to make the cold coffee.
Cold Brewed coffee is similar in preparation to French Press Coffee, in that you want a coarse grind, and it’s lightly filtered through a metal sieve. The biggest difference is that in cold brewed, the steeping process is much longer. About 12 hours is what you want to shoot for, and obviously – you use cold water.
There are some pretty different opinions on things like stirring, filtering, etc – and having only made it twice now, I can’t say that I’m an expert, but the method that I’ve used has worked pretty well for me. The resulting coffee was less acidic than regular coffee, with lots hints of chocolate and caramel. It’s great all by itself, but I got to say, I love it sweet. During the summer months, I will probably be keeping a batch in the fridge for quick and easy coffee – it’s perfect for those days when it’s way too hot for a traditional coffee.
Miss Thing has also become very fond of the cold brewed coffee – of course, that might have something to do with the fact that she mixes it with copious amounts of cocoa, sugar and milk – resulting in something that probably has more in common with Chocolate Milk than coffee. She’s starting to develop quite a coffee habit herself – although I’ve been trying to keep her limited to every other day or so. She’s never been a big caffeine drinker, and I’m trying to keep it that way.
The first time I made cold coffee, I used a flour sack towel lined sieve to filter out the sludge – but this time I decided not to, and just filtered it twice with a fine mesh sieve. I think in the future I’m going to try and find a good coffee filter that will fit inside the mouth on a canning jar, because the coffee this time – where I didn’t run it through a towel, came out much better than the last batch. If you prefer to filter all the sludge out, you can of course, use a coffee filter, towel, or whatever, although my feeling on that is that I think it also absorbs some of the yummy oils and stuff, leaving the coffee tasting a little more bitter. (Not as bitter as traditional coffee, but still…) The sludge does, however, settle to the bottom of the jar/container in the fridge, and if you are careful when pouring, can just be left in the bottom of the jar. Along the same vein, I haven’t really found any sites that can corroborate this theory, so please be advised that this is my personal theory – I do not recommend using plastic for any stage of the cold coffee making process, for pretty much the same reason why I don’t recommend the paper/cloth filter, I believe it will absorb the oils and flavors, leaving your brew bitter. YMMV.
I’ve taken to making up a big batch and keeping it in the fridge – it will keep for about two weeks, although obviously, it’s better the first week. When the weather cools down later in the year, I might try and see how the cold brewed coffee does in recipes or other things, but right now I have my hands full staying on top of all the fruit we get in the weekly box from FFTY. Oh – one other thing. Several people have said that the cold brewed coffee is stronger than regular coffee, although I haven’t found that to be the case from my perspective – although to be fair, I usually drink espresso. Anyways, you may want to dilute it when drinking, depending on your tastes.
- 1 lb of Coarse Ground Coffee (Dark Roast Recommended)
- 9 cups of Water
- Place the coffee in to a large stainless steel or glass bowl (I don’t recommend plastic)
- Slowly pour the water over the coffee
- Gently stir the coffee to mix
- Cover and set aside for 12 hours
- Strain coffee through a very fine mesh sieve
- If desired, filter a second time to remove and ‘sludge’ using a coffee filter or towel lined sieve (optional)
- Store covered in Fridge for up to 2 weeks (Recommend storing in Glass Jars or Vessels)
- Can be served Hot, Cold, Sweet, Unsweet, with Milk, without Milk, etc…