Earlier this summer I had read an advertisement in a magazine for an “iced coffee french press.” The instructions were pretty simple. Put grounds and cold water in this thing, stick it in the fridge overnight and press it down. Drink. Supposedly enjoy. It also said that it worked for hot coffee too. I didn’t really get it. Cold water? I was sure that I had read somewhere or another that to get all the tasty goodness out of your beans, water needed to be a certain temperature, (as in hot…). Much like the functionality of speaker wire, it made no sense to me. I was done. I was over it…until later that week.
Ok, well, I guess I need to back up a little. I apologize, but there’s sort of another story here. A story you should know…
We used to have an espresso machine at work. One of the perks of the day (in warmer weather) was making a delicious iced latte to reward yourself for plowing through all the tubs of dough and to help give you a boost to make it through your shift. It was glorious. It was magical. And then…it went away. I was beyond bummed. What was I to do when the weather turned warm again and I needed to guzzle that sweet, amber-colored Guatemalan glory juice? Those were dark days. The weather turned colder and I dusted off my trusty French press and was able to brew pretty good stuff all through those colder months. Then it started to get warm again. As the temperature climbed, I could feel a dark cloud of disappointment billowing in near the coffee station at work. What was I going to do? I’m a natural born chugger, people. I wasn’t about to sip my way to refreshment.
I finally decided that I was going to brew an extra strong batch of coffee and that way when we iced it down it would even out. So I did, and it kind of sucked. It was ok at best. I had decided that I would drink my coffee warm in the morning and that was that. I had acquiesced defeat…Until I decided to try an experiment based on that ad I had read. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work. I was sort of sure it wouldn’t work. I mean I was hoping it would, but I had my doubts. I filled up my trusty press that night with a little more than my usual amount of grounds and cold water, stuck it in the fridge and went about my day. Later the next day, I pressed the coffee and poured it into a thermos with a little milk and then I stared at it. You see, I WANTED this to work. I missed those iced latte breaks, big-time and didn’t want to get my hopes up, just to have them shattered. So I finally took a sip. It. Was. Bonkers. So incredibly smooth that it kind of threw me for a loop. I had become used to the fair amount of acidity in a regular brew (and a reg. Iced latte, for that matter). It was like tasting something entirely different. Things like chocolaty, and caramely, and deliciousy were coming to mind. I was blown away. I couldn’t wait to make a big batch at work, but soon realized that due to the extra grounds and whatnot I couldn’t get much actual coffee out of it. So I did some research. I don’t know why, but the internet is kind of a last resort for me. Turns out, it was full of information. Will remember that for next time…
Anyway, I discovered that lots of people do this using a jar, or a BIG jar. I liked the big jar idea so my boss and I tried this method (grounds and cold water in jar overnight). Then, after this, you strain it through a sieve and then filter it through a paper filter. It was even better than the press method. The paper filter gets rid of a ton more silt than the French press and you are left with a really clean, really smooth end product. We have been making this now for about a month, and I have to say that I, for one, am hanging on to this warmer weather for the sole purpose of this delicious treat. So my advice to you: Go grab a big jar (we repurpose an empty, large mayonnaise jar, clean of course), follow the ridiculously easy method, and sip (or chug) away these last days of autumn.
COLD BREWED COFFEE
Fresh ground coffee: 6 oz (by weight) (I used a med sized grind)
Cold water: around 8-9 cups (honestly, I just fill it to the top, there’s no exact science in my method)
Put coffee and water in jar. Stir to moisten all grounds. Cover. Put in fridge. Wait 24 hours. Strain through a mesh sieve, then strain that liquid through a paper filter. Pour into a glass and add milk and ice if you’d like. Raise said glass to lips and drink.
Also: this is for a pretty big batch. If you want to make a smaller batch, just use a smaller jar and around two more cups of water than the total weight of coffee (ex –3 oz of coffee would equal 5 cups of water). But you should make a big batch. It gets better as it sits in the fridge and will stay fresh for around a week, but I doubt you’ll have it around that long
Ps. I did a quick test on some ice-brewed tea, and it turned out great. I just used tea bags (earl grey, my favorite), so I can’t give an accurate result for you loose-leaf lovers, but the method is also ridiculously simple, except here there is no straining required. I love iced tea so I’m pretty much going to have a batch of this stuff going at all times now.
I just used a medium sized pitcher and three tea bags.
About the Author. Steve Dishman is a great friend and an all-around culinary mastermind. He is employed as a baker for Le Quartier a local bakery well known for it’s high quality goods. Check out his blog at THE LATEST DISH where he shares his delicious creations.