It is the middle of summer and we have a long time before it cools down again. Time for iced coffee! There are three main ways to make iced coffee. 1. Brew hot coffee and let it cool in the fridge. 2. Brew hot coffee double strength and pour over ice (this is sometimes called the Japanese method because it is similar to a popular way of making iced Japanese green tea). 3. Combine coffee with cold water and let it sit for 24 hours before filtering and serving (cold-brew). The method I want to feature today is the cold-brew method because it is my favorite (and because we are going to start offering cold-brew iced coffee by the cup at the Imperial Farmer's Market this weekend).
The cold-brew method is about as low tech as possible. You can make a great cold brew with a big Tupperware container and a coffee filter, but there are some items that make this method a little simpler. When compared to traditional brewing, I find cold-brew coffee to be almost a different beverage in terms of flavor. For example, our Guatemalan coffee is bright and fruity with a light body when brewed hot. But use a cold-brew and you get a cup that is bold with a balanced acidity and a thick, velvety body that blends well with cream. The flavor reminds me of a dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. Both beverages are delicious, but they are distinctly different. This is because different temperatures pull out different flavors. Please note that the brewing method below is for making one half-gallon of iced coffee, you can double the recipe if you want a whole gallon.
1. Grind 8-oz of coffee to a coarse consistency (that's a little more than half of one of our bags).
2. Find a container with a lid that can hold at least 1.5 quarts, and a pitcher that can hold 8 cups for later.
3. Add 5 cups of cold water to your 8-oz of coffee grounds and stir it up a bit (remember to use good filtered water).
4. Let your cold-brew coffee sit in the fridge (or at room temperature) for 24 hours (12 hours if fine if you can't wait that long).
5. Grab your pitcher and strain the coffee through a coffee filter that is over a strainer. You should end up with about 3.5-4 cups of coffee concentrate.
6. Dilute your iced coffee by adding 3.5-4 cups of water (it should be a 1:1 ratio). This should bring it to the right concentration, but you can always add more or less water based on your taste.
7. Serve your coffee over ice. You can enjoy the coffee black, but I like it best with a splash of half and half. You can keep the iced coffee in your fridge for about a week. Though it probably wont last that long.
Note: I always like to make a batch but if you just want to just try iced coffee you can make two servings using 1/3 cup of ground coffee and 1.5 cups water. Follow the same process and dilute 1:1 with water.