I’m a coffee drinker. It took me awhile to develop the habit, but I am now well and truly hooked. In fact, a while back I decided to take a 2 week break from coffee as I felt I was overly addicted. While at least it’s not to the point that I get a headache or anything when I shut off the coffee intake, I was certainly more zombie-ish in the morning than usual. And cranky. So I’ve made peace with my addiction. When I moved down to Houston and away from my beloved coffee maker, I got myself a Keurig. I love it. For one person, I think makes a lot of sense. It’s so easy, and I like getting to try all the new flavors. I’m particularly looking forward to seasonal flavors this winter. Of course, with the heat index breaking 100 degrees here on almost a daily basis, hot coffee has its drawbacks. Enter iced coffee.
I used to make iced coffee with instant coffee and cold water. Simple enough, but shockingly bitter. Then I ran across this recipe for Cold Brew Irish Coffee, which introduced me to the idea of cold brewing. By the way, if you’re thinking about making the above recipe, I’ll warn you that while it’s good, the end product tastes more like coffee-infused whiskey than whiskey-infused coffee. It’s strong. Anyway, cold brewing looked easy enough. You basically just steep the grounds for a long time at cold temperatures, strain, and you’ve got your coffee concentrate.
Most of the recipes I found for cold brew coffee recommended a 4:1 or 4.5:1 ratio of water to coffee by weight. Lacking a scale, I went looking for volumetric ratios. I found a reference to 1:1, but it failed to specify if the coffee is in bean form or grounds. That said, I decided to try a few ratios. I just got a bunch of mason jars, which seemed a perfect vessel for my experiments.
Note: flourescent pink labels are optional, but recommended.
If you can’t read the picture, I went with a 1:1, 1:1.5, and 1:2 ratio of coffee to water. In each case, I used 1/2 cup of grounds (which by the way, are recommended to be on the coarse side), and the appropriate amount of water. I mixed it up last night, and pulled it out this morning. Then it was just a matter of filtering out the grounds . I used a very fancy tool to accomplish this:Yep, it’s a paper coffee filter in a pint glass. Oh, and a rubber band.Observer the goodness at the bottom of the glass. I got 1.5 oz, 4 oz and 6 oz of concentrate from the respective mixes.
Now be warned, this stuff is pretty bitter. If that’s how you like your coffee, by all means, down the hatch. For most people however, this is the time to dilute with some ice-cold water. I’d start with a 1:2 ratio of concentrate to water, and then adjust it your tastes. I think my go-to mix will use the 1:2 ratio to make the concentrate, and then dilute 1:1 with water. But I’d encourage you to find what works for you. I think that this morning I ended up drinking about 6 cups of coffee (or 3x my normal). But it was for science. And I’ve got another couple batches steeping. One is my new normal, and one is that plus some vanilla extract. We’ll see how it turns out.
For those of you who like iced coffee, I think this is just as good as anything you find at a coffee chain. And while I haven’t run the numbers, I’m guessing it’s a lot cheaper. So enjoy your caffeine fix without the heat until the weather turns back to the cool side. Which around here might be December.