Friday, July 16, 2010

Cold brewed iced coffee

Yeah, I'm a good year behind on this one. LOL I did find it last year when it swept the web, and I've enjoyed it since. But today I decided to share it here for my friends and readers. With so many places offering expensive cups of mostly ice and some bitter/sweet, high fat cold coffee, this treat is so much better. It costs less, it tastes better and it can be customized to your heart's content.

The basic recipe is one I came across here. It may have started with the New York times, as many viral recipes do.

1. The night before, start with 1/4 cup of coarse ground coffee, and add 1 cup of cold filtered water.
2. The next morning add 1 more cup of water.
3. Strain and pour into a chilled glass over ice (makes two glasses).

I add a generous amount of milk and a spoonful or two of raw sugar. You could even make a simple syrup with a little vanilla. If you like extra milk, then add less water. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for next time.

So that's where I started. But after doing that a few times I decided to ramp things up a bit. I doubled the base recipe, for starters, adding all of the water at once instead of only half of it. So here's what I do...

1. Add 1/2 cup coarse ground coffee to a French press (or glass measuring cup). Pour over 2 cups of cold water and let stand overnight (on the counter or in the fridge).
2. In the morning, press the plunger down slowly.
3. Fill a glass that has a little ice in it half full with the coffee concentrate. To those two parts of coffee, add up to one part water and one part cream, milk, soy milk, rice milk, goat milk or any other creamy beverage. I tend to use more cream/milk than water.
4. Sweeten with simple syrup to taste (I keep a jar in the fridge - one part water with one part sugar, heated until the sugar dissolves).

You can play with this, of course. Flavoured coffee works well. So does a splash of vanilla extract (or even a split vanilla bean added to the simple syrup when you make it). A swirl of chocolate syrup in place of the simple syrup turns out a nice mocha beverage. I'm sure my husband would add caramel. And for those not opposed, there are plenty of non-dairy flavoured creamer type thingies out there.

I like that the sugar and fat can be controlled in this. And there are no chemicals, unlike (I suspect) in a certain coffee shop iced brew. (I really don't know for sure, since if you want the actual ingredient list you have to contact them directly. I'm guessing it's more than "coffee, milk/cream, sugar.")

So last night I picked up and ground some organic beans at the Bulk Barn (what an age we live in when you can buy organic at a bulk dry goods store). Added a cup of them to my French press (yes, I doubled my already doubled recipe) and added the water. And this morning I made a lovely cup of iced coffee. The cold brewing process doesn't seem to leach bitterness out of the grounds, which makes for a smoother cup of coffee. You can heat it up after the fact by mixing it with hot milk/cream (or stirring it into some hot chocolate). I've made some hot brewed iced coffee this year already and the difference is amazing. Well worth the "effort" required to start the concentrate the night before. And I have enough for my husband and I for today and into the weekend (maybe). ;-)

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