Elizabeth Karmel, AP
Cold brewed coffee is no more complicated than it sounds. Instead of running hot water through ground coffee, you use cold. And instead of straining the water through it quickly, you steep the grounds in it for longer, as much as 8 to 12 hours.
The result is a rich coffee concentrate that is worth the wait. You then dilute the concentrate to produce a cup of coffee that is light, yet rich and virtually acid-free. This is because the grounds steep slowly, which is a gentler extraction process than traditional brewing.
There are a few points to consider when making your perfect brew. For cold-brewed coffee, you must use coarsely ground coffee. If you use a fine grind, it will be difficult to strain the coffee and your iced coffee will be filled with sediment. I use a 4-to-1 ratio of water to coffee. It is easy to remember and makes a good strong coffee “concentrate,” but not too strong.
Another iced coffee tip — whenever you have leftover coffee (no matter how you make it), pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Then when you make iced coffee, use those cubes instead regular ice. This way as the ice melts, your coffee just gets better rather than watered down.
A final note about sweeteners. Anyone who loves iced coffee surely has noticed that granulated sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold beverages. So instead use simple syrup (sugar and water mixed at a 2-to-1 ratio, simmered, then cooled), agave syrup or even maple syrup.
This recipe walks you through prepping the iced coffee and gives you the proper proportions for each serving. Since cream and sweetener are such an individual matter, we leave those to you. Start to finish: 8 to 12 hours.
- 4 cups spring water
- 1 generous cup coarse ground coffee
- In a glass jar slightly larger than 1 quart, combine the water and coffee. Stir well. Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 to 12 hours.
- When ready to strain, uncover the jar and stir. Line a mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth, then set it over a large bowl. Pour the coffee mixture into the strainer and let the coffee concentrate drip into the pitcher. Depending on the size of your strainer, you may need to do this in batches. Discard the coffee grounds.
- Pour the coffee concentrate into a clean glass jar and refrigerate until ready to drink.
- To serve, fill tall glasses with ice and any desired sweetener or cream. Pour 1/2 cup of the coffee concentrate into each glass. Stir and serve immediately.
This post was originally published July 15, 2013.