I drink iced coffee all yearlong, even when there's snow on the ground. But buying iced coffee on the daily can get expensive, so I've taken to making my own coffee--cold brew, to be specific. So what the heck is cold-brew coffee, anyway? Well folks, pay attention, because I'm about to show you the way. (Oh, and since you don't need electricity for this method, you can thank me the next time the power goes out and you can still get your caffeine fix!)
So what's the difference?
Cold-brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in room temperature or cold (ie. no heat here!) water over a long period of time and straining the liquid to create a concentrate. As no heat is applied, the bitter flavor components of the bean are not released, producing a less astringent and less acidic coffee that some even describe as sweet.
How do you make it?
Step 1: Pour room temperature water over coarsely ground coffee, stir then let sit for a minimum of 12 hours. (I used the ratio of 1 1/2 cups coffee to 8 cups water.)
Step 2: Filter coffee through coffee filter lined strainer.
(You could also do steps 1 and 2 in a french press and press the coffee instead of straining.)
Step 3: Pour over ice and enjoy! Note: Some people dilute the coffee with water at a 1:1 ratio, but I like my coffee slap-me-in-the-face strong, so I prefer it with only a splash of water.
Is it worth the effort?
Heck yes! With cold brew, the coffee bean’s fruity, nutty and chocolate notes are more pronounced and create a sweetened effect so you don't have to add as much or any sugar or milk. Furthermore, since most people end up diluting the coffee concentrate, the total coffee "yield" ends up being up to twice as much as you brewed, meaning you can make a week's worth of iced coffee all at once. Lastly, cold brew is a great excuse way to play around and try new coffee beans and create your own blends. My personal favorite is 3 parts medium roast, 1 part dark roast and 1 part mocha java. It's not too bold and has nice roasty and toasty chocolate notes.
Have you tried cold-brewing coffee or have a favorite coffee bean blend? Tell us about it in the comments below!