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A Beginner's Guide to Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

by Theodore Scott Jun 12, 2009
Being a coffee drinker in the summer can be a sweaty habit. About a month ago, I switched from my regular hot coffee ritual to cold-brewing iced coffee every day. It’s cold. It tastes great. It also takes 12 hours to make.
Why Cold-Brew?

Chilling hot coffee is a common way to make quick and easy iced coffee. Cold-brewing takes several hours. Why bother?

Cold-brewing extracts the flavor and caffeine of the coffee grounds, but less of the oils and acids. Without heat, you get great-tasting iced coffee without the bitterness. Try the two side-by-side sometime. You will be converted.

The Recipe

Fill a glass container with 6 tablespoons of ground coffee.

Add 2 cups filtered water.

Cover and let rest for 12 hours.

Strain the coffee through a filter.

Fill two glasses with ice and add coffee.

(Optional) Add cream and sugar to taste.

Develop Your Caffeine Habit

Twelve hours is a long time to wait for coffee. To make cold-brewed coffee regularly, you need to plan ahead.

First, get a French press. They are easy to use for brewing both hot and cold coffee. Each night, around dinnertime, fill the press with coffee grounds and filtered water.

It will be ready at breakfast.

After you try it a few times, experiment with the amount of coffee grounds and the timing. I like the portions in the recipe above, but you might want to adjust the strength. Also, some people prefer a 24 hour brewing. On the other hand, you can cut it down to as little as four hours – make it at breakfast and enjoy it with lunch.

Cold-brewing Tips

To get great coffee flavor, buy good whole-bean coffees. Look for fair trade. Make sure it was roasted recently.

Coarse grind your coffee. The mesh screen on the French press will do a better job of filtering.

Add a little cream and sugar if you want, but try it plain first. It is smooth and probably won’t need as much extra stuff added as you are used to with hot coffee.

For variety, add a bit of honey or cinnamon to the coffee grounds. Or try adding some peppermint loose leaf tea. Flavored syrups will work as well.

Use filtered water.

If you drink iced coffee all day, you won’t be able to make them fast enough with this recipe. Consider purchasing the largest French press you can find. Multiply the recipe to make large batches. You can store the extra coffee in your refrigerator. It will keep for days and it won’t get that nasty old coffee taste.

Community Connection:

Travelers looking to make coffee on the road should check out Matador’s Coffee Gear for Coffee Fanatics. Also, don’t forget how your purchases affect the lives of coffee producers. Read more at Fair Trade for Beginners.

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