Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

I love good coffee. Espresso especially, but good coffee with hints of chocolate and a smooth rich finish is like heaven to me. In the summer I keep a jar of iced coffee on hand for my morning (or sometimes afternoon coffee). Many coffee shops these days make cold brewed iced coffee, and I thought I'd finally try it at home. Cold brewed iced coffee, when done right has all the delicious rich flavor of coffee without the acidity, that's the appeal (also, you don't have to boil water in the 100 degree weather). I had seen some crazy contraptions for this brewing method, but a google search made me realized you don't need anything special to make it at home.  I found this excellent post from a chef at Cooks Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen. He seems to have tested the heck out of this recipe and includes great instructions and photos. I will summarize and simplify it here, but check out his post for more details: - photos and description   and: - recipe (I altered this a bit).

His recipe uses 1:1 coffee to water ratio. I'm sure this makes great coffee, but it is a bit too costly for my wallet, so I used less coffee, and still got a great result. I suggest you play with this recipe, trying different roasts of coffee (medium or dark) and different amounts of coffee. The variables I wouldn't change are: 
1. grind your coffee very fine (espresso or turkish coffee fine)
2. let it steep for 24 hours. It may look dark and ready to go, but it really won't have enough flavor until it steeps for the full 24.

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

2 cups (or up to 3 cups) finely ground coffee (medium roast is recommended)
4 cups room temperature water

  1. Stir coffee and water together in a french press or other jar. Let stand covered for 24 hours. Stirring once or twice, especially in the beginning.
  2. After 24 hours: If using a french press, press the solids to the bottom of the press. Pour the coffee through a paper filter set in a strainer (this will take a while). If you don't have a French press, pour the coffee through a strainer to remove large solids and then through a paper strainer to remove the fine grinds. 
This will result in a concentrated coffee which you can pour over ice and add a desired amount of water to get the richness you like and enjoy. (His recipe dilutes the coffee with an equal amount of water, pours over ice, and adds a pinch of salt.....I enjoyed mine with a bit of cream...)

If you are interested in some other fun summer drinks check out:

Farmers' Strawberry Lemonade (this has cream in it)

And then there are the spritzers....juice or fruit syrups with seltzer....I love summer drinks!

But, back to coffee. For you die-hard coffee heads out there, what are your cold brew techniques?


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  2. Hey Tagan,
    I fully agree - Cold Brew Coffee gets hot these days and as a world traveler I can confirm this is true for many parts of the world, especially Asia.
    The article mentions a 24h steeping period which I fully agree - for a decent Cold Brew you Need more than the often quoted "up to 12 hours". On ColdBrewTest.com we compared some methods of how you can brew a Cold Brew Coffee beside just putting it in a jar e.g. French Press, Toddy, Cold Drip... bring some real good results in your cup. Feel free to have look.

  3. I just would like to tell you that for nearly a full year I've been drinking Coffee made from my Chefs French Press Espresso Coffee.