“Cold brew” coffee is quite popular up here in Minnesota. Some of my former co-workers swore by it, and my favorite Minnesota-area coffee shop Dunn Brothers makes a growler full of it that you can take home, chug, and refill.
Cold brew coffee is made different from regular coffee in that there is no heat involved in the brewing process. It’s sort of like making coffee from concentrate. A small amount of coarsely-ground coffee is combined with fresh water and then allowed to sit at room temperature for about twelve hours. Afterwards, the coffee is strained off and the remaining liquid is refrigerated. Depending on your desires, you can serve the concentrate with cold water and/or with milk.
Most coffee shops that serve iced coffee cool down traditional “hot” brewed coffee either by chilling the resulting liquid or by brewing a super strong batch and adding ice. This is how Starbucks used to do it when I worked part-time there, before the VIA days. I heard from someone they’re going back to the hot-brew, super strong batch method but who knows.
Anyway, most cold brew recipes around say to start with a pound of coarsely-ground coffee. Frankly that’s a fairly large commitment to something you may not like. You can make a much smaller batch using these instructions.
- Grind up 2/3rds cup of coffee beans. Directions all over the place say “coarse,” but I cranked my crappy Black and Decker CBM210 all the way down and then backed it off three clicks.
- Mix the grounds with three cups of cold, filtered water in a watertight container. I used a stainless steel pot with a handle; I recommend using something besides plastic if you can. I’m still nervous about BPA leaching from my containers and at the very least the coffee might stain plastic containers.
- Cover the container and let it sit for twelve hours.
- Strain the mixture into a separate container. I use a handheld mesh strainer with a coffee filter inserted inside.
- Store the mixture into the fridge.
I mostly mix 1/3 concentrate with 2/3 cool water. You are welcome to do whatever you like — some go 1/2 concentrate, 1/2 water. I really like adding three teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk to a glass, but that’s also adding 120 calories per drink. If you like Thai iced coffee this is the way to go. It’s super delicious, but I hate drinking my calories so it’s usually concentrate and water for me.
Give cold brew coffee a try. It’s easy to do yourself and you may like the taste of it. I hate iced coffee normally, but I’ve really enjoyed the cold brew. The best part is that it requires no additional equipment unlike trying other coffee preparation methods.