A few weeks back, I had a coffee pot go kaput. The smell of brewing coffee is what gets me out of bed in the morning, so I often set the timer on the coffee pot the night before. It was Wednesday. The coffee didn't start. And lucky for me, I had a back-up coffee pot ready to go. But, just in case something goes wrong with the one I'm using now, I have a jar of this delicious concentrate waiting in my fridge. Stores such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods also carry this marvelous elixir, but why not try something new and brew a batch at home?
In case you're unfamiliar with cold-brew iced coffee, here's skinny: Cold-brew coffee is made from coffee grounds that have been steeped in cold water for a long period of time rather than brewed through a drip coffeemaker with hot water. It's less acidic than hot-brewed coffee, which allows the rich, mellow flavor of the coffee to emerge.
Basic Cold-Brewed Coffee Concentrate You can find cold-brewing systems at kitchen stores, but you really don't need special equipment and to make this special brew. The process is really simple: Just combine ground coffee with cold water in a container, cover it, let it stand at room temperature for a few hours, and strain out the grounds. What you have is essentially a concentrate that you can mix with cold or hot water (or even hot milk) to wind up with a delicious cup of coffee.
This easy recipe makes about 3½ cups of concentrate, which will yield eight 8-ounce cups of coffee. Double or halve the recipe as desired. Just make sure your filter is big enough to accommodate the whole batch.
•1¼ cups medium-to-course ground organic coffee
•4 cups water
1. Combine your water and grounds in a large glass jar, stir well, cover, and let the mixture sit undisturbed at room temperature overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 18 hours.)
2. Pour the coffee mixture through a coffee filter (tips below).
3. Drink it up! For hot coffee, mix 1 part concentrate with 2 parts boiling water. For iced coffee, mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part cold water and pour over ice. For café au lait, mix 1 part concentrate with 2 parts hot milk.
Store any unused concentrate in a closed jar in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze single portions to drink later.
Filtering Your Brew Probably the easiest way to make cold-brew coffee is to use a French Press. After the coffee and cold water have steeped for the appropriate length of time, just push the plunger down to filter.
But if this is your first effort, and you're not looking to buy anything new, line a standard sieve with a clean tea towel, and put it over a bowl to catch the concentrate. Pour the coffee (grounds and all) into the lined sieve, and wait until the dripping stops.
Most importantly, enjoy!