I have tried making iced coffee about a gazillion times. And the results have always been a total fail. I’ve followed recipe after recipe in search of a coffee base that tasted like actual iced coffee and not like some weird watered down coffee someone left on the counter all day. In my head, I figured that great iced coffee was really just hot coffee that was cooled down and then poured over ice. Man, was I wrong!
The answer to my iced coffee dilemma wasn’t hot coffee at all. It was cold brew! Yup, C-O-L-D brew. To be honest, when I first started seeing stuff about cold brew I didn’t think it would really work for us regular at-home people. I thought that coffee needed steam to do it’s magical coffee thing, and anything delightfully surprising about coffee took place in an industrial test kitchen somewhere. Not so, my friend. Cold water still makes coffee. It just takes a lot longer. But the results are sooooo worth it. Cold brew coffee is mellow and flavourful and still has that actual coffee kick that makes a good hot cuppa joe so delicious.
Here’s the deal on Cold Brew Coffee.
Cold brew coffee is a method of brewing coffee in cool water over an extended period of time. Instead of pouring boiling water over the grounds, cold brewing extracts the coffee from the grounds through a steeping process (much like making tea). Yes, it takes a long time, but it’s also ridiculously easy. What you end up with is this amazingly mellow coffee that has all the richness of regularly brewed coffee, but with none of those bitter tasting oils. And it tastes uh-mazing over ice. On it’s own. Seriously.
Now, if you’re not feeling iced coffee, sans cream and sugar, that’s okay. This cold brew coffee concentrate is a great base for any barista-esque-mocha-lacha-dream you can come up with.
Two caveats before you make this delicious coffee concentrate:
1) you must use coarsely ground coffee beans. As coarsely as you can grind them. French press or percolator grind. Any finer and the result will be cloudy and have little gritty bits in it (not yum).
2) Use water that tastes good. I know this seems obvious, but if your tap water tastes like fish or chlorine or whatever, use filtered. That taste will carry over into your final product, so keep that in mind!
Even though the instructions for straining the grinds is super easy and requires no special gadgets, you can also use a french press instead, if you have one, to steep AND/OR strain!
My hands down favourite way to drink my Cold Brew Coffee concentrate on a hot summer day!
My husband and I went to Vietnam for our honeymoon. We wandered around, very sweaty, for a month. And we drank a lot of Vietnamese coffee. Normally I don’t put sugar or even cream in my coffee, but there is something about Vietnamese coffee that just screams summer. The syrupy sweetness coupled with the bitter edge of coffee, especially when poured over way too much ice is the perfect was to keep cool while getting that euphoric caffeinated kick. It is literally the easiest thing to make, even if you’re sweaty, and tired, and just sort of want to melt into your refrigerator.
Here’s what I do:
Take a big ole’ glass. Fill it full of ice. Like full. Pour 1/2 cup or so of the cold brew coffee over the ice. Because you’re cold brew is already cold you won’t get a lot of wateryness. Awesome, right? Drizzle 2 tablespoons of condensed milk over top of the coffee (not evaporated. It’s not the same thing. At All. It has to be sweetened condensed milk. Like Eagle Brand. The stuff your mom made fudge with. Or those Magic Bars. Those are amazing. I could eat a whole pan. Then cry a little, but still feel pretty good about it).
Give the coffee and condensed milk a stir and you’re good to go.
Bonus: toss the mix into popsicle molds and you’ve got awesome icy vietnamese coffee pops.
Super Bonus: add a shot of baileys. Just do it.
Happy Cold Brewing!