One of the food bloggers I follow had posted a photo on Instagram of a jug that looked like beer, that she referred to as cold brew. One of the commenters referred to the beverage as “crack liquid” and naturally my interest was piqued. I haven’t had a good cup of coffee in a long time and am starting to worry that I’ve reached a tolerance level that can only be met with high grade designer narcotics.
Coffee and I have come to a boring impasse in which it has agreed to stop meeting my caffeine needs in the morning and I have agreed to continue to drink it out of habit and not make any complaints about it unnecessarily staining my chompers. I am 90% sure that the acidity has directly contributed to the extended disintegration of the chip on my front tooth which qualifies me as a hillbilly in some states. Or maybe it’s the quart of wine I drink every week.
I can’t remember the last time I had a cup of coffee that I could feel pulsing through my veins moments after downing it. I miss that feeling. I derive a lot of untapped power with a good cup of coffee.
So I’m branching out and trying new coffees and methods of brewing that will let caffeine shine the way it should in my circulatory system. Which brings me to the cold brew method.
I followed these instructions and I use the term follow somewhat loosely…
I didn’t grind my own beans because my friend Lindsay gave me a bag of coffee someone had brought her from Ecuador.
She said she was too lazy to put it in her Keurig.
This is why we are friends.
Her laziness became my laziness because although all of the techniques I read recommended “freshly ground” coffee, as far as I was concerned that unopened bag was as fresh as it was going to get. I had a perfectly good excuse not to grind my own beans because someone had generously provided me a FREE bag of already ground beans.
Also this was good coffee because it’s shade grown and organic. I didn’t know what the significance of shade grown meant until Lindsay Googled it while we were at lunch. Basically, it’s coffee that’s grown naturally- no trees were plowed down in the process and no creature habitats destroyed. So you can drink your coffee guilt and pesticide free. How it’s organic, I don’t know, Lindsay ended the Q&A session abruptly before I could continue mocking her about her knowledge of shade grown coffee.
I measured out the coffee per the specifications, but instead of 4 cups of water, I only added 3 because I didn’t want my French press to overflow. Stir. Cover. Sit. Another article I read recommended stirring it again 10 minutes after soaking the grounds “to maximize contact with the ground coffee.” I have a short attention span, so two episodes of Seinfeld later, I stirred the grounds some more (a significant portion had floated to the top) and then let it sit for 24 hours.
When I removed the lid the next day, the coffee had a really pleasant smell-like chocolate-and no strong or bitter tones to it. I filtered with a sieve and coffee filter which I found unnecessary because it drained like honey. Next time I’d probably nix the filter because the grounds were coarse grind and didn’t pass through the sieve.
If you come across a technique for cold brew that recommends using fine grounds and then pressing the coffee with a French press before filtering-DON’T. You will damage your press and possibly injure yourself with exploding glass because presses are designed to filter coarse grounds. The fine grounds get stuck in the filter and all of that pressure can be dangerous. Although this scenario is more likely with hot water, better not to risk the chance of explaining to the ER why you’re covered in coffee grounds and glass.
After straining, I let the coffee sit in the fridge overnight and made iced coffee the next morning using a 1:2 ratio of coffee to water and then sprinkling some sea salt in it per the recommendation of the second article. The thing with the sea salt is you need to stir it a lot to dissolve it and I got a nasty gulp of salty coffee halfway through my morning routine. I don’t really know what the difference is without the salt, but I guess I’ll find out another time.
As I got to the bottom of my cup, I added some more coffee concentrate as my earlier concoction had been watered down by ice and added a splash of creamer. I always add creamer to my coffee to cut through any bitterness, but this version didn’t need any.
Overall the coffee was nicely fragrant, smooth and best of all was lacking the horrible aftertaste I’ve been experiencing with coffee lately. I read that bitterness can be affected by the water temperature at which coffee is brewed which would explain the shitty cups at Starbucks but not the cups I make at home in a Keurig, so I guess there’s more experimenting in my future, likely starting with a deep clean of the Keurig.
This is a great way to make iced coffee-it is simple and low maintenance and as far as I can tell is caffeinated enough to prevent me from exercising verbal abuse on anyone. It keeps in the fridge for about a week and is ready when you are to drink it. Best of all it’s cheap, but it doesn’t taste like it.
Want cold brew? Make your own!
1 1/3 coarse coffee grounds- ground fresh or from an unopened bag that was gifted to you
4 cups of room temperature, filtered water
Put grounds in a french press or a large measuring glass with a spout.
Pour water over grounds and stir.
Wait 10 minutes and stir again. Or stir again when you’ve remembered what you were doing.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
Filter coffee through a fine sieve with a filter if you’d like, but not necessary. If you used fine grounds for whatever reason, definitely use a filter.
To drink, mix one part coffee to as many parts water as you’d want, but I wouldn’t recommend more than 3 unless you are a weenie.
You can add a pinch of salt as suggested, just make sure you dissolve it really well. I’d recommend using liquid sugar or agave if you plan to sweeten.
Use immediately or store in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.