My coffee addiction started later than most. Somehow, I made it through my undergraduate degree without drinking much coffee. Grad school, on the other hand, was a different story. During my year off between degrees, I worked in a hospital’s nutrition department and spent a decent chunk of that working in the on-site cafe. Fortunately for me, that meant a lot of free coffee drinks. An added bonus was that my sister, whom I was living with at the time, was working as a barista at a really good coffee shop in Boulder. I frequently visited her at work for more discounted coffee. It’s no surprise that after a year of free coffee, I was officially addicted. Moving to Washington didn’t help either. I couldn’t drive more than two blocks in Spokane without passing a cute coffee stand on the corner. As much as I wanted (probably, needed) to get coffee every day, I didn’t want to spend extra money on it (I was in grad school, after all). It wasn’t a big deal in the winter, when I could make hot coffee at home, but in the warmer months, when all I wanted was an iced americano, it was a different story. Brewing hot coffee and cooling it the fridge was a good, quick fix, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the flavor. I started making this iced coffee recipe instead and I haven’t strayed from it since.
Cold brew coffee brews for about 12 hours in room temperature water, which makes it taste less bitter, less acidic and naturally sweeter than hot brewed coffee. For me, it only needs ice and a splash of milk, or half and half if I’m treating myself, to taste great. No added sweeteners necessary. Colin is the true coffee addict of the family and he drinks his plain black. I’ve found that a medium roast, full bodied coffee works best for cold brew. The coffee bean to water ratio is higher than what is used for hot brew so dark roasts tend to get very strong, even with ice to dilute them.
Now that we live on a hot, tropical island, there is always a pitcher of iced coffee in our fridge. And even though we live across the street from one of the most popular coffee shops in the area, on most days, this iced coffee is all I need.
Cold Brew Iced Coffee
- 2oz (about 10 tablespoons) ground coffee (medium, full bodied roast)
- 4 cups water, cold to room temperature
- Splash of half and half or milk
- Sugar or flavored syrup
- Sprinkle of cinnamon (my favorite)
- Add ground coffee to a French press, glass pitcher or container.
- Mix in water, making sure all grounds are wet.
- Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.
- Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth or paper towels and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.
- Keep coffee refrigerated until use.
- To make iced coffee, fill a glass with ice cubes. Pour coffee over ice cubes until glass is 2/3 full. Add additional add-ins, to taste.
1. For this recipe, the ratio of coffee to water remains the same for any size container. For ease of multiplying, 0.5oz (about 2.5 tablespoons) of ground coffee is needed for every 1 cup of water.
2. Since we purchased a French press, I've started using it to make my cold brew too. I still strain it through a fine mesh strainer lined with paper towels to remove small reside, but the French press does most of the straining for me. If you don't have a French press, don't worry! A glass pitcher or container works great too. You'll just have a lot more coffee grounds to strain out.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman