Coffee – the most traded commodity after petroleum, which really says something about how much people value this ancient beverage. If you love coffee like we do, than you almost certainly have your preferred method of preparation. Improving on that method can not only be a challenge, but perhaps needless – why mess with success. But I’m here to tell you that cold brew is worth a shot…so to speak.
My favorite brewing method is the French press, but I do like basic drip coffee if it’s done well. I’ve heard all the hype about cold press coffee, but I have to admit I was a reluctant to give in to the hoopla. Then it just so happened that cold brew coffee came to my rescue in a time of need.
My wife and I were on a remote camping trip recently and the stove we brought broke on the first night. We initially took this in stride until we considered not having coffee the next morning – that’s when we started to panic. After calming ourselves down, my wife said, “Hey, how about making cold brew coffee?” Brilliant. We put the same amount of coarse ground coffee that we would use for a hot brew in our French press, and then let it sit overnight. In the morning we plunged the grounds and voila, coffee…silky smooth cold coffee.
The main benefit of cold brew coffee is lower acid, which is great if you suffer from heartburn or just want a less acidy taste. Lower acid makes the brew smoother, more sweet, and really pronounces the more subtle flavors. My first pot of cold brew coffee was made in a French press, but it’s easy to brew right in a pitcher. Here’s a simple recipe below that makes a concentrate for mixing with milk or water (if you drink this straight, you’ve been warned).
Keep in mind, if you’re going to try cold brew for the flavor experience, don’t drink it out of a crusty old travel mug – clean the mug with Bottle Bright, which won’t leave any residual taste behind. This will provide a clean flavor palate so you can experience the difference and see if cold brew is for you.
For the coffee:
4 1/2 ounces coarsely ground coffee (about 1 3/4 cups)
3 1/2 cups cold water
Milk, half-and-half, or water
For the coffee:
Place the coffee grounds in a 2-quart pitcher, add the water, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
Line a fine-mesh strainer with a standard coffee filter and fit it over a medium bowl. Slowly pour the coffee into the filter until all of the liquid has passed through the strainer (the coffee will pass through in a slow stream; don’t force it through); stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the pitcher (don’t pour them in). Discard the grounds and the contents of the strainer.
Wash and dry the pitcher. Transfer the strained coffee into the pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.
For each cup of iced coffee, dilute the concentrate with an equal portion of milk, half-and-half, or water. Sweeten with simple syrup if desired and top with ice.