Cold Brew Coffee :: A Step-by-Step Guide {along with a story}

Once upon a time there was a recently-turned-thirty-one year old gal who loved to live it up and get fun drinks at places like Starbuck’s, Peet’s Coffee, Nordstrom E-bar, Pannikin, Bird Rock Coffee Company… you get the idea. Iced beverages were her favorite. It started with freshly brewed and often flavored {but never sweetened} iced teas. From there her obsession moved toward the occasional nonfat latte. Then, in an effort to save a little cash and eliminate nonfat milk from her life {whole milk! all the way!} she switched to iced coffee. This opened up a whole new world to Little Miss Live It Up, a world in which she discovered that Japan was even more obsessed with iced coffee than she was, and that her favorite type of iced coffee was brewed cold.

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Cold brewed iced coffee was smoother and less acidic, but it was also a little harder to come by.  Little Miss Live It Up only treated herself to it once or twice a week. At $2.15 a glass, she felt good about living in moderation while still enjoying a hint of the luxe life.

Enter the fiscal cliff. Nope, not THAT fiscal cliff. This fiscal cliff was a little more personal, impacting only the fun-loving Little Miss Live It Up and her fun-loving-but-slightly-more-sensible hubby.  Iced coffee had to go. Not forever, but for a little while.

Whatever was Little Miss Live It Up to do? What would the world think of her if she didn’t have a brownish beige beverage to sip out of a straw while running errands in workout clothes?!?! Not to worry, my friends, she figured it out and started cold-brewing her own iced coffee at home.  Phew. That could have ended badly.

Here’s the How-To:

Start with 1 1/2 Cups of coarsely ground coffee. I bought whole beans and ran them through the grinder at my local grocery store. You could also have them ground for you at a coffee shop, just make sure you ask for them to be ground coarsely.

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Place it into a French Press to make life easy, or just pour it into a medium-sized bowl.

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Add 3 1/2 to 4 cups of cold, filtered water.

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Cover with plastic wrap and let sit either in the refrigerator or at room temperature if your house feels like a refrigerator. Allow it to sit for 12-24 hours. It will be very sludgy and kind of look like mud.

If you used a french press, press it on down and pour the liquid into a carafe.  If you used a bowl, use cheesecloth to strain the coffee grains out of the liquid, then pour the liquid into a carafe.

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The rich brown liquid you are left with is your iced coffee concentrate.  It is FULL of caffeine.  Don’t be tempted to drink it as-is or you may never sleep again. Trust me.

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When you are ready for an iced coffee, I use a 1 to 2 ratio of concentrate to other liquids. You can experiment and see what you like best, but here’s how I make my perfect iced coffee: 1/2 cup coffee concentrate, 1 cup cold filtered water, 2 tablespoons half and half or whole milk, 2 packets sugar in the raw.

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Put a lid on it and slurp!

~Kristin