Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite money saving recipes. Once upon a time I worked as a barista. I know you’re surprised that a musician and artist would be found working in an establishment such as Starbucks but, yes, I do have a background in the art of brewing. Every morning after setting up the coffee shop for customers I would make my drink of choice. ICED COFFEE. My mouth starts watering even as I write those words on the page! I LOVE iced coffee. I am sad in the mornings if I have to go without it. My husband might say I’m grumpy but I’ll stick to my choice of words. The problem is that once I quit working at Starbucks my addiction became somewhat expensive. I had tried brewing it at home but I could never get the recipe right. Hot brewed coffee over ice would always end up tasting bitter and watered down. One day as I drove up to the menu, the heavens opened and I saw the wonderful new advertisement for the now national phenomenon known as COLD BREW. If you haven’t tried cold brew yet, you’re missing out. The slow method of soaking the grounds over twelve to eighteen hours takes away the bitterness and acidity leaving you with a perfect balance of the sweet, chocolaty, wonderful parts that you want in a cold coffee. I'm definitely not proposing cold brew as a cure to acid reflux but cutting back the acidity was an added bonus for someone like me who suffers from acid reflux. There have been times where I have had to cut out coffee from my diet all together because of the discomfort it was causing. I have found my daily indigestion all but cleared up when I switched to drinking cold brew. It is much gentler on the stomach. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too!
The best part about making your own cold brew coffee is that you can get restaurant quality coffee on the cheap. Each cup averages to about $0.23 per serving! Considering a grande iced coffee at Starbucks is around $4.00, that is MASSIVE savings if you were to purchase a cup everyday. There is nothing too complicated when it comes to the ingredients. You’ll need coarse ground coffee beans and filtered water. As far as the equipment goes, I invested in a coffee grinder because I make coffee at home regularly. I use a Capresso brand grinder which you can purchase on Amazon and I have been pleased with the product overall. I have had it for a year and it is still ticking. It has several different grind settings that you can easily adjust to your preference. If you don’t have a grinder, most grocery stores that sell coffee have a grinder available. The problem with buying already ground coffee is number one, the freshness and number two it is ground too finely for cold brew. You don’t want a bunch of silt or grounds in the final product. I like my iced coffee super smooth. If you are accustomed to buying your beans already ground, I would urge you to make the switch to whole bean. You will never get the same quality of flavor from already ground coffee. I promise there is a difference, especially if you are making cold brew.
As far as the other tools needed, you will need some measuring cups, paper filter, brew funnel and a mixing bowl large enough for 12 cups. I would recommend your mixing bowl have a spout because it is much easier to pour. I’ve read some recipes that tell you to pour the coffee through a tea towel and mesh strainer but I found that this method doesn’t remove all of the grounds and you are left with slightly gritty coffee. Yes, it is much faster to pour it through a tea towel but using a paper filter gives you a better result. So let’s get on to the recipe.
I always make a big batch of iced coffee to get me through the week. My husband and I both drink it in the mornings and there is really no sense in me making a serving at a time. This will give you 12 cups of coffee concentrate and can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks for optimal freshness. Measure your two and a half cups of dark roast coffee and coarse grind the beans. If you are someone who typically goes for a light roast, don’t be afraid of using a dark roast for this recipe as you are essentially making a coffee concentrate. The final product can be diluted with water, ice and/or creamer. I have not tried making cold brew with a light roast but I imagine the final result would not be strong enough. I have been buying Boyer’s espresso roast which is roasted right here in Colorado. It has sweet, chocolaty undertones, which I prefer in an iced coffee. I purchase 36 oz for around $16.00 at Sam's Club. Buying coffee in bulk will typically save you money if you are brewing it everyday or making a large batch of cold brew.
Place the grounds in the bowl and cover with 12 cups of filtered water. Distilled or filtered water will help with the overall flavor. When I lived in Kentucky our tap water did not have a good taste and it would affect the coffee flavor. The tap water here in Colorado actually tastes very pure so I haven’t been filtering it. Stir to make sure grounds are incorporated into the water. Cover and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours. You can leave the bowl on the kitchen counter but I like the idea of being able to pour a fresh cup of chilled coffee after filtering. Don’t rush this step. You cannot rush cold brew coffee. Slowly extracting the flavor from the beans using cold water will give you a different flavor than traditional hot-brewed coffee. If you soak the grounds less than twelve hours, the coffee will end up being too weak.
I bought this plastic container at Wal-Mart and I found the size of the mouth of the lid was perfect for placing my brew funnel and filter on. The only annoying thing about this pitcher is that it doesn’t fit in my dishwasher. I will literally stick everything I can in the dishwasher to avoid having to hand-wash a dish. I use a Bunn paper filter because that is the type of coffee maker I have but I am positive any paper filter will work. It takes me about 15 minutes to get all of the coffee through the filter.
This recipe is slightly time intensive but easy and hard to mess-up. My strong opinion is that it is worth the extra time. I was already making coffee every morning so I'm just squeezing all the work into one day. Once I make the iced coffee, I have a week’s worth of wonderful chilled perfection waiting in my refrigerator each morning.
*I pour the beans directly into the measuring cup. The process of grinding is simple enough but the amount of static build up in the grinder was aggravating. When I would open the grinder cup, coffee grounds would fly everywhere. So I did a little research and one YouTube user recommended placing 2-3 small drops of water in your grinder during the grinding process to eliminate the static. I found this works great for me but you seriously only need 2-3 drops. Anymore than that and I would worry it would effect the grinder in a negative way.