Summer is well under way and with that comes the plethora of iced beverage concoctions. On the java front, everything from blended coffee drinks to simple iced coffee pop up on menus everywhere. With Starbucks taking the lead on the coffee front, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts attempt their own version of the infamous frappuccino. And while there are those who do not have a taste for chilled coffee, there are many that do and in these dry, hot months are looking for economical ways to get their buzz on.
The complaint many have is how to make homemade iced coffee that is not bitter and watered down. Enter the cold-brew method. Typically coffee is brewed through the heating process which brings out the bitterness of the coffee bean. While this is fine for a hot cup of joe, it is not so pleasant when drinking a refreshing iced coffee drink. The cold-brew method soaks the coffee grounds overnight in cold or room-temperature water. The result is an amazingly smooth cup which can be enjoyed as is or with some cream and sugar.
A cold-brewed cup of coffee is simple to make and the easiest way is to use a French press or a glass jar and sieve. Rachel Meeks, author of smallnotebook.org gives step-by-step directions on her blog.
1. Soak ¼ cup of coffee grounds in one cup of cold or room-temperature filtered water. Let it sit overnight. (Note: Meeks suggests letting the brew sit overnight, while Dan Souza of America’s Test Kitchen Feed recommends letting it sit for 24 hours for best results.)
2. After the allotted brew time, press the coffee or strain it through a filter. What is left is the coffee concentrate which can be diluted with water and poured over ice or added to milk. Any leftover concentrate can by frozen in an ice tray and used as ice cubes in the future. This reduces the coffee being watered down by regular ice cubes.
Author’s note: I tried this method myself and was amazed at the smooth and delicate balance of the coffee. Because it was not bitter, I barely used any sugar and drank it black. I even added a pinch of salt per Dan Souza’s suggestion which enhanced the coffee’s complex flavor. I would definitely drink this over any hot-brewed iced coffee and recommend it profusely.