Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Recipe: Cold Brew Coffee

It's summertime and officially cold brew coffee time for me!! I love to have coffee in the morning but once the heat starts in I can't deal with having hot coffee. Who wants to sweat first thing in the morning?!! Plus, if I was to buy an iced coffee most mornings that would add up pretty quickly. I stumbled across the cold brew concept a few summers ago. Making this coffee is a bit different than most might be used to. It involves steeping coffee overnight (or a minimum of 8 hours).  You can read more about it here and here.  I also just found a recipe for a blood orange ice coffee here that sounds amazing.

Cold brew coffee makes for a still really lovey tasting and less acidic coffee. Since you store it in the fridge when it's finished, you've got cold coffee at the ready for as long as your pitcher lasts you.  Don't worry, it's really easy to make big batches at a time. In the interest of saving space in our refrigerator I use a 2 liter pitcher which lasts me about a week and a half. (I tend to one small glass in the am only.)

Above are the items you'll need for this recipe. Remember that you make the coffee in two stages so you won't need all of these items all at once.

Glorious Cold Brew Coffee

  • 4 oz (about 1 1/4 cup + 1 Tbs) good quality coffee - I use a blend of medium and dark coffee
  • 8 cups of water - room temperature

  • If you're using a scale to measure your coffee you'll that and a container (*mine wasn't actually dirty, I'd already poured some coffee into it before taking the photo)
  • Strainer
  • Cheese cloth or large coffee filters
  • Ladle 
  • Pitcher

Iced coffee ingredients - optional:
  • ice, milk, cream, water, sugar, etc. 


Measure out your coffee. The type of coffee you choose is up to you. You just must choose a well ground coffee. Or make sure it's really well ground if you do it yourself. The original recipe I tried from Pioneer Woman used Cuban espresso and it was SUPER STRONG. It's a coffee I use regularly when making Cuban coffee but it was just too much for me. I made it a few times before figuring out that it made me feel bad (sometimes I'm slow).  Don't get me wrong, I love strong coffee, but that was just TOO STRONG for me. I use coffee beans that I get from Trader Joe's and then I grind myself. I make my own blend of the TJ's medium and dark roast coffees. I've used coffees like Dunkin' Donuts (in an attempt to appease my husband's tastes) and ended up using more coffee because it wasn't strong enough.  I've also used Starbuck's medium and dark roasts independent of one another and they were also really good.  You can use pre-ground coffee if that's what works for you! 

Pour your coffee into a large bowl and then pour your water over the coffee. Give it a stir and then cover it. (True fact: I don't always bother to stir it if I swirl the water in!)  Leave it in a spot in your kitchen where it won't get bumped and forget it for 8 - 24 hours. The nicest thing about this recipe is that you can't really mess it up.

The longer you seep your coffee the stronger it gets, so soak time is up to you (but it needs at least 8 hours). Another trick is if you decide you've made your coffee too strong (which happens) you just need to add more water to the coffee concentrate. It won't ruin it, it'll just cut down the strength a bit. (Be sure to add a little at a time.)  

Once you're done letting your coffee steep, get out a strainer and either cheese cloth or large coffee filters that will fit in the strainer.  I like to do this step in the sink because I'm a klutz and I have knocked my drip coffee over before, so I don't take any chances and I just do it in the sink. You'll notice I also put the coffee bowl in the sink so that if any drips when I'm ladling it into the filter set-up I don't have to worry about making a mess. 

Mmmm! Sometimes I have to change out the filter if there are too many grounds in there - which can happen. If you don't want to bother changing the filter and you just have to wait a bit longer to strain the coffee. Walk away and do something else, it will, eventually, drop into your pitcher. It just might take a little more time.  I'd say this process takes about 15 - 20 minutes depending on how much I walk away to let it strain thoroughly. 

Once you're all done, you've now got liquid gold!! Put the pitcher in the fridge and you can either enjoy it right away, or wait until it's nice and cold and go from there. 

When I make hot coffee, I tend to drink it black, but there's something about iced coffee that makes me crave something a little sweet. I use 3 big ice cubes, and a splash of French Vanilla Coffee Mate. Perfection!! 

(07.01.2014 - ADDITION) I've started trying to stay away from extra soy and unpronounceable chemicals in my diet so I've been making my own creamer. Here's what I do: In a jar I mix together 3/4 cup almond milk with 3/4 cup coconut milk, and a few healthy dashes of vanilla extract. Put on the lid, shake, shake, shake, and you've got delish creamer to go with your coffee!!  (Some brands in the refrigerator section of the store sell this combo in one carton making for instant creamer - even easier!)


When I made this batch (using only 8 cups of water) it was a bit strong so I added 1 cup of water to my pitcher.  It should be just perfect!! 

Enjoy some cold brew coffee next time you get a hankering for coffee!! There's nothing more lovely in the morning than a cup of iced coffee.  I prefer to take it out to enjoy on the porch along with a good book. It's usually still a bit cool and with my iced coffee and book it's like a glorious little escape a little before I start my day. 

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