Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Morning Java: Cold-Brewed.

Got an email from my Mom this week along the lines of "still waiting for the cold-brewed coffee recipe..."

I will never use our auto-drip coffee maker again--nor any other hot-brew method. The coffee produced in this cold-brew way seems to taste so much better, and it's not a lot of work. Here's how:

First, you need a large container, like a one-gallon jar. I like glass but plastic seems to work fine. Fill that container with 12 or so cups of room temperature water. Now float three cups of ground coffee on the top (see the photo).

Now leave it sit for several hours. I tend to make mine early in the morning and let it sit for 12 hours. Overnight would be perfect. You may be tempted to shake it up, but I don't think that's necessary--the grounds tend to slowly fall down one by one to the bottom over time. This gives every ground a good chance to let off its flavor. If I look at it after several hours and don't see much of it falling, though, I give it a shake to mix it. I tend to shake it a few times before straining it, also. Not sure if it helps or not.

Now, when you're ready to harvest the coffee, you'll need some kind of filter. You could, at this point, simply pour the mixture into a drip coffee filter over a coffee pot. I use a steel mesh coffee filter and a funnel I bought in the automotive department at Wal-Mart. I pour the mixture into the filter sitting in the funnel and let it drain into an empty glass jug. I get about three quarts of "coffee concentrate" from this process. It will look like very thick, black coffee. I store it in the fridge for a week, using it when I want. Here's how to enjoy it:

For Hot Coffee: Fill a mug one fourth to one third full with the concentrate. Boil water in a teapot and top off the mug with the boiling water, leaving a little room for milk or cream.

For Cold Coffee: Mix one part concentrate with one part cold water, adding ice cubes.

For Kathy's Favorite: Put several ice cubes in a large mug. Pour some coffee concentrate in, filling the glass about one third full. Now add chocolate milk to fill the mug two thirds full. Add a little skim milk and stir. This makes the absolutely best tasting iced mocha you'll ever have--trust me.

A few notes:

1. For best results you can use distilled or spring water. I don't, though, and it still tastes great.

2. Even cheap coffee will taste better this way than expensive coffee that is scalded in an automatic drip pot that is allowed to heat the coffee after it is brewed. Some say the coffee produced this way has less acid.

3. If you grind the coffee yourself, you can grind it a little coarser than usual. Or not.

Special thanks to David Adamson, who mentioned cold-brew coffee to me one afternoon in a little cafe in Pittsburgh. Thanks, Dave! You sure know your Java (both types).


Jackie Ballarini said...

I've been waiting for this too! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Don't drink coffee, but this is cool, really cool........ I think this method is a much more original and productive approach...a compliment if I may...leaving you with a suitcase full of "Poetic Justice" :)


Anonymous said...


Just received the recipe for cold coffee and will get a gallon going this afternoon after I get done using the computer. Thanks.