When I was at university, I worked at this cool little neighborhood coffee shop. I loved working there and learned so much about coffee from the owner (he roasted, in-house, all the beans we sold and used!). My favorite thing to drink there, other than a nice piping-hot cup of freshly-brewed Jamaican Blue Mountain, was an iced coffee. Never having been much of an iced coffee drinker before working there, I was blown away at how adding ice to their coffee base did not make it taste like coffee-flavored water, which is how I remembered iced coffee always tasting. And the reason why their iced coffee was so much better…because of a method called “cold-brew.” Often times, most coffee shops just pour hot, brewed coffee over ice and what you end up with, as the ice begins to melt immediately, is a very watered-down cup of iced joe. But that is not the case when you cold-brew the coffee.
As far as the cold-brew method, the process essentially requires steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for 18-24 hours. While I use a system called the Toddy (given to me as a graduation gift by my boss at the coffee shop), I was curious to see if it could be done without one. And apparently, it can be. In fact, it looks as if it is is not only possible but quite easy and cost-effective. For a sampling of other ways to cold-brew, look here and here and here.
Iced Coffee (using a Toddy)
12 oz dark roast coffee beans, ground coarsely
7 cups of cold water
1. Grind your beans to a coarse ground.
2. Making sure the stopper is in the bottom of the white tub portion of the Toddy and the filter is securely placed inside, pour in one cup of cold water. Then add half of the coffee grounds. Slowly pour in three more cups of water. Then add the rest of the coffee grounds. Wait about 5 minutes and then slowly pour in the last 3 cups of water. Finally, using a spoon, gently press down on any dry grounds to ensure all grounds have been moistened.
3. Place some plastic wrap over the white tub and put in the refrigerator for about 18-24 hours.
4. When you are ready to extract the coffee base, simply set the white tub over the glass pitcher that comes with the Toddy and carefully pull out the stopper. The coffee will begin to drain slowly. It will take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to fully drain. (One full batch of coffee base, for me, can last about two weeks if I only make one iced coffee a day).
What you are left with is just pure awesomeness. Strong, full-bodied and ready for whatever you want to add in.
For an iced coffee, generally, the ratio of coffee base to your liquid of choice is 1/3 coffee to 2/3 liquid of choice (usually water or milk). But of course, you can always tweak the portions to make it stronger or weaker based on what you like. I use the above ratio and prefer using almond milk and a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy!
*If you use the Toddy or one of the other methods, I would love to hear how it turns out!
“Everybody should believe in something. I believe I’ll have another coffee.” ~Author unknown.