Whoever came up with cold brewing coffee was a genius.
It’s hot. It was 91 here today, but with the humidity, it felt like 100. At least that’s what the Weather Channel told me. I didn’t spend much time outside. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying an afternoon pick-me-up.
Cold brew coffee is an entirely different chemical reaction than your hot morning joe. Now, I’m gonna go all coffee-snob on you here… but coffee is such a complex thing! Grind it fine or grind it coarse, and you get two different flavors. Same thing when put in hot water or “cold” (i.e. room temperature). Force steam through it for 20 seconds and it taste totally different than if you force steam through it for 30 seconds. Completely different.
Coffee really is complex in that there are so many compounds that are extracted when hot water is poured over the ground coffee, that aren’t extracted when room temperature water is used. As a result, cold brew coffee really is smoother. It’s less acidic and even has less caffeine that your hot morning coffee.
To make iced coffee, I suppose you can just brew coffee hot, then let it cool and serve it over ice. Some people prefer that, but I certainly don’t. I think it makes it taste very sharp and bitter. To me, it has an almost metallic taste.
I like to buy a cold brew coffee when I’m out and about, but there’s no need to spend a fortune on it when it is so easy to make.
I used to use the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for iced coffee, but I’ve adapted it and, frankly I’m lazy, so I take short cuts. But really, there’s not much to cold brew coffee. It’s not like there’s a fancy and elaborate recipe out there.
I have two of these two-quart mason jars that belonged to my Granny Ramsey. That lady was a canner from way back. I wish I could’ve canned with her, but she died when I was young, before I got into canning. Anyway, people used to can in two-quart jars, but today, it’s not recommended for safety. It’s just too hard to get a jar that size up to a high enough temperature for safe preserving. So, I use my two big two-quart jars for making big batches of iced coffee and kimchi.
For two quarts of cold brew, I use 4 ounces of ground coffee. I buy the expensive coffee for making hot coffee, but for cold brew coffee, I just buy whatever is on sale. I cannot tell a difference between the high-end stuff and the cheap stuff like I can with hot coffee.
Just put your coffee in the jar and fill it up with water. It’s that simple. Well, pretty much.
Leave it sit for at least 12 hours at room temperature, but 24 hours is really the sweet spot. The longer, the stronger. Then, I just put a coffee filter over a strainer and strain out the coffee grounds. This will take a while, and I generally have to change out the filter two or three times.
I used to be less particular about how well I strained it and just dumped it through a finer strainer. But it seemed like it would get more bitter the longer it sat with some grinds in it. And this will last me a couple weeks. Or sometimes just a weekend. I actually also make a great mocha breakfast smoothie with this coffee and chocolate protein powder.
I usually like to order cold brew coffee with just a little half and half. Nothing really sweet and sugary, but sometimes a little vanilla is nice, too.