Have you tried cold brew coffee yet? The cold brew method is much less acidic than iced coffee, which allows notes of the sweeter dark chocolate flavor to shine through. My cold brew coffee recipe is quick and easy enough for a busy weekday morning. Perfect for daily coffee drinking, this only takes a few minutes to throw together the night before, about the same amount of time it takes to set the programmable coffeemaker. In the morning, just filter and enjoy cold over ice.
Oh coffee, should I compare thee to a summer’s day?
(…except it’s February, so how about I compare thee to the hope of a spring morning?)
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
But how thou rough grounds in cold water doth create terrific cold brew,
which I enjoy very most after the rough winds of May have blown through.
(Uh I think I just heard Shakespeare roll over in his grave. Sorry, Billy.)
As a warm chinook blew through Kansas at the end of January and melted all the snow, I started dreaming of mornings on the back porch (I don’t have a back porch) with my feet up (with a one year old, ha) and with a glass of smooth homemade cold brew coffee in my hand (I didn’t know how to make cold brew).
So I thought I would maybe try to bring about this dream in the one area I have control over, and thus began my journey to achieve the perfect glass of cold brew coffee. In February.
I have spent a lot of money on cold coffee over the years, for better and for worse. My problem is that I’m a bit of a coffee snob.
I have always been a picky coffee drinker. I like it very strong and fresh and prefer it to be made with filtered water instead of our hard mineral water in Kansas. And with my face hidden, I admit that I don’t drink coffee at our local beloved roastery because I think that the flavor is inconsistent, and it bothers me.
New York City is one of my favorite places in the world to wander, but I have to tell you that I had nothing but horrible iced coffee on my last summertime trip there. I dragged my family into every deli advertising iced coffee just to spend $2 on yet another stale, extremely bitter slosh that I inevitably tossed after just a couple of sips. I eventually came to realize that what I was buying was probably yesterday’s unused coffee poured over ice. Ew.
I do like Starbucks iced coffee. I have a friend who is a professional barista at Starbucks, and I asked her about why the Starbucks iced coffee is so yummy. The reasons? First, it only has a shelf life of 12 hours. If it sits any longer than that, they toss it. Second, Starbucks brews the iced coffee double strength to account for the ice melting.
But this post isn’t about iced coffee. It’s about cold brew. What’s the difference you ask? Well, essentially, just the temperature it is brewed at and the length of time it takes to make.
Iced coffee is brewed hot, normally in a drip coffee maker, and it’s much more acidic but can also have a fuller body taste due to the hot brew processes. Cold brew coffee is never hot. Instead, the cold brew process allows the water and coffee grounds to come together over time (12 hours or so) in a cold refrigerator, which results in a much more caffeinated and sweeter coffee with notes of dark chocolate.
And now that I’ve successfully made it myself, I am OBSESSED with cold brew. I can’t believe how easy it was!
I will admit, I was completely intimidated by the process at first! I remember when the Pioneer Woman wrote about Perfect Iced Coffee back in 2011. I loved the idea, but I took one look at her gigantic 12 quart container and her cheese cloth filtering system, and I thought NOOOPE. Way too hard. I’ll just drop grab one on my way to work.
That was years ago! Think about all the times I was seriously craving awesome homemade cold brew coffee just to be at the mercy of all those cups of yesterday’s slush over ice. I could have easily made it for myself this entire time!
Alas, it was reading this account of drinking horrible iced coffee in NYC on Jamie Oliver’s site, in his charming accent of course, that finally made me brave enough to give at-home cold brew a chance. I completely identified with that story!
I pulled out a trusty mason jar, my mesh strainer, and a regular coffee filter. I bought the cheapest coffee in the store. I actually just used water from the tap.
And the results were AMAZING. I was so pleased! The cravings of this coffee snob were completely satisfied!
I do have to admit, that this coffee didn’t store well. I LOVED LOVED LOVED it when it was fresh the first day, but when I tried a sip on the second day it was drinkable but stale. I think that making this in small batches for the next day is best.
Cold Brew Coffee
- -Coffee coarsely ground
- -Cream or sugar optional to taste
Add coffee to the bottom of a mason jar(or other tightly sealing container) and cover in warm water in a 1:4 ratio. For instance, 2 oz coffee per 8 oz water, 4 oz coffee per 16 oz water, and 8 oz coffee per 32 oz water. (I prefer my coffee very strong. You can adjust this ratio to your tastes. In his post, Jamie Oliver recommends a 1:8 ratio.) TIP: measurements are printed on the side of the mason jar!
Stir contents of the jar to ensure that they are well mixed. Or, shake it up!
Place in refrigerator for between 12 and 24 hours to allow it to brew.
Once brewed, strain using a mesh strainer lined with a basket shaped coffee filter. (This process takes a few minutes, almost as long as brewing hot coffee.)
Drink over ice black or with cream or sugar.