Sometimes things trend for a reason. Cold-brew coffee. I never even heard of such a thing until about two years ago. And upon first hearing, I thought, ‘Ugh. The next thing.’
Last year, I was giving a class at a venue that required I have lunch with the participants afterwards. It was a very nice feature because it allowed us to really talk, and gave them time to think about the information. For my beverage that day I chose iced-coffee, one of my all-time favorite beverages. I was told that the coffee was cold-brewed. I said that was fine, although I had no idea what that even meant, just that it was the new thing. It came in a bottle. I snickered on the inside. Coffee in a bottle. It looked a little pretentious. But I have to say that was a damn-fine cup of coffee (to paraphrase Agent Dale Cooper, even if I didn’t drink it as black as a moonless night).
One day, I was out to lunch with a friend and once again ordered an iced-coffee, and had a similar experience. I did a little research, read about the science of coffee, and remembered a few things from my chemistry class: when I make a solution (extracting elements from a solid with water), the temperature of the liquid has a direct impact on the solubility of different compounds in the solid. I am not completely ditching hot-brew coffee, but the flavor of the cold-brew was different and lovely, so I decided that I would try it at home. It is very easy to do and produces a really excellent cup of cold coffee. If you prefer warm coffee, it holds up very well to a gentle heating.
Here’s how to make it:
Put ¾ cup of medium grind coffee (you can use fine grind, but is makes a bit of sediment in the bottom of your coffee that needs to be stirred back in) in a 1-quart jar. Add 2 cups of water and stir the coffee into the water. It gets kind of muddy. Then fill the jar the rest of the way with water. Let the jar sit on the counter anywhere from overnight to an entire day. Strain out the coffee grinds. I use a strainer lined with a piece of old cotton sheet, but you can use a funnel with a coffee filter inside.
This creates a coffee concentrate that should be diluted 1:1 for the best flavor.
I froze some in ice-cube trays and used them to make really great frozen coffee drinks:
- 4 coffee cubes
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 T chocolate syrup (make your own!)
Put all of the ingredients in a mini-blender and process until smooth. Serve right away!
Happy Summer coffee!