Cold Brew Coffee has been all the rage for a while now, and there are several places around town where you can get an ice-cold jolt of joe. But with summer almost here, why not get in the habit of brewing your own? It’s super simple, and totally delicious, and a vat of the stuff will keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks at least, ready to be served as is, or with ice and cream and sugar, or even heated up as your morning hit.
Cold brew coffee has a different profile than coffee that is made in any of the traditional methods; percolated, dripped, French pressed or what have you. Typically room temperature or cold water is used, and the coarsely ground beans are steeped for anywhere from twelve to twenty-four hours. After steeping, or brewing, the coffee is strained and the grounds removed, leaving you with a beverage that is lower in caffeine and acid, and as a result tastes less bitter and slightly sweeter. The idea behind cold brewing takes into account that the caffeine, acids and oils in the coffee bean dissolve in the high temperatures of regular hot or boiling water extraction, so traditional methods of brewing result in a beverage that is higher in these three components.
Iced coffee that is made in the traditional manner is simply regular coffee chilled and poured over ice, which most often dilutes the beverage and results in a wan and rather uninspiring drink that calls for cream and sugar to jazz it up. When you cold brew coffee, the coffee to water ratio is a little higher, anywhere from a ratio of 1 part coffee to four or up to eight parts water; it takes more ground coffee to make, but it can handle ice cubes without becoming an uninspiring drink, and you don’t feel the need to doctor it up. It really doesn’t matter what type of bean you use, just use your favourite type of coffee, even espresso beans work well!
To brew your own, coarsely grind your beans and put them in a large glass pitcher or mason jar. Add water; half a cup of grounds requires about 2-4 cups of water. This may be a matter of taste, depending on how strong you like your coffee. Let it steep for at least twelve hours, either on the counter or in the fridge. When it is time, you can strain it through a strainer lined with cheesecloth, or use a paper filter. If after the first straining your coffee still has some unwanted grounds, just strain it again. Another method that would work well, depending on the amount you want is to use a French press like a Bodum.
And there you have it. Super simple and affordable and delicious; make your own homemade cold brewed coffee and you’ll be the coolest cat on the block this summer!