I love the late days of Spring leading into Summer. It tempts. It teases. It starts to make you believe in the warmth again after the cold, dark winter. It is also signals the coming of warm weather treats and drinks like sangria and iced coffee. Two drinks which for me, mean summer. For the purposes of this post let’s talk iced coffee, or what I like to call my lifelong pursuit of the perfect cup of iced coffee. What? You were thinking this might be about something else? First thing you need to know is that I really, REALLY love sangria. It has the same affect as truth serum on me. So that means I love it AND I respect it’s power. Second, I live off of coffee. Probably because I drink so much that I need it the next day. It also marks the start of a new day and new beginnings. Circle of life.
When I was a young barista in college I was introduced to the wonder that is the Toddy machine, which is a basically a fancy brand name for the cold-brew coffee system. It changed my life in many ways and one day in particular but I’ll get to that later. Before the Toddy, I suffered but accepted the fate of iced coffee - basically a cup of hot coffee poured over a giant glass of ice only to be diluted and feel its life slip away with each sip. I also tried brewing a pot of coffee and keeping it cold in the fridge so that it would not be a diluted mess. Sadly, that just ended up tasting like a cup of coffee that had been sitting out too long. I felt like there had to be a better way. Enter - the cold brew.
I was lucky as a budding barista. I worked for great bosses who owned their small business and took pride in training their staff in the art of the brew. It was because of them I even learned anything about coffee. So you can imagine my delight at the first time I tasted a cold-brewed espresso. It was so delicious that I had 5 double shots in the span of my shift. It probably helped that I was working the morning shift, hadn’t slept from the night before and was maybe still a little drunk. But, don’t let that take away from the fact that it was delicious. I don’t know what happened during the rest of that day because the next thing I remember was waking up in my apartment on my bed in a towel. It seems I somehow managed to bathe before falling into a coma.
But I digress…
The perfect cup of iced coffee. It’s possible and easy to do in your own home if you don’t want to invest in the machine and the actual process really does not take that long but you do have to wait 12-24 hours. It’s worth it. I promise.
You will notice it takes considerably more actual coffee beans/grounds to make a smaller amount of drinks which makes cold-brewing more expensive than your hot brewed cup but, when you think about what your spending at your local Starbucks or coffee shop you are still saving so don’t lose any sleep.
How to Cold-Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee
- 1/3 cup ground coffee (medium to coarse grind is best). I like a medium to dark roast coffee and if you want to feel good about yourself try Three Avocados coffee. It’s pretty yummy as well.
- Milk (But you could drink it black. It’s that good.)
- In a jar (mason jars are great), stir coffee grounds and 1 1/2 cups water with a spoon. A gentle stir but get it all mixed up.
- Cover the mixture and let it sit at room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours but I like to leave it overnight. Anything more is asking for trouble.
- Next, strain the mixture through a coffee filter at least twice. Now you have the coffee concentrate
- To drink, take a glass with ice and mix equal parts of the concentrate and water or milk, depending on how you take your coffee. As I mentioned, it’s good enough to drink black.
- Refrigerate the rest.
Note: The above makes about two cups. If you want to adjust the above proportions to make 4 glasses you can but, anything above that is a little much in my opinion. It takes away from the taste and the smooth quality.
The perfect cup.