Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cold-Brewed Coffee

My wife and I drink a fair amount of coffee together but not enough to say we drink a lot. Sometimes, like right about this time of year, it's hot out, though, and an afternoon coffee is only good every now and then. More pleasant, it seems, is a nice iced-coffee drink in the hot afternoons, something we can cool down with particularly if we've been working together out in the yard or garden. Usually now, we make pseudo-espresso with my very favorite kitchen gadget, freezing the "Presso" and the steamed milk until it just starts to ice over before making an iced cappuccino with it by the usual recipe.

Another beautiful way to do this kind of thing is to instead cold-brew the coffee, although this takes planning due to a much longer brewing time. A variety of methods are possible, although I prefer to do it in a French press. Here's how it goes, resulting in a beautifully smooth, pleasant cup of coffee that is, indeed, cold and very nice over ice with cream and sugar (as well as a bit of vanilla or a favorite syrup).

  • Grind the coffee as usual (you should always use fresh, whole beans for good coffee results), same amounts, same grind (rough for French press, finer for drip machine);
  • Add the desired amount of cold water to the grinds and stir thoroughly (in a French press, you should stir with a plastic or wooden object to prevent breaking the glass.. and some people say that metal changes the flavor and quality of the coffee and should be avoided for that reason anyway);
  • Place in the fridge for 8 to 15 hours (overnight!);
  • Either press down the plunger in the French press or pour the whole mess into a filter in your drip machine and let it drip on through (leave the machine off);
  • Serve.
Since this coffee is cold, it requires a bit more effort to make anything dissolve in it if you like to take it with sugar. A blender is nice for that (see the link, halfway down or so). I usually dump the coffee, some sugar and vanilla, and some cream into the blender and just fire away, serving it optionally over ice. This stuff is a seriously good idea, particularly on hot, slow summer days.

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