There’s something about coffee that absolutely delights me. Whether it be it’s energizing factor or straight up addiction, I can’t seem to get enough. I have a reputation for carrying around giant cups of coffee that I use to fuel my retail enthusiasm at work.
That being said, there’s nothing worse than bad coffee. True story: the day of Alex’s graduation I wanted to stop for iced coffee. Ever practical, Alex wanted to get uptown before stopping just in case something went wrong. He assured me that we could get iced coffee at a local bodega. We get to Alex’s school 40 minutes early, he takes me to the bodega and there’s no iced coffee on their “menu.” Upon pointing this out, Alex says, “well they just pour regular coffee over ice.” Hot coffee. Poured over ice. Sure enough, that’s what they did. And you know what? It was just as awful as I anticipated. Even the best hot brewed coffee, when poured over ice, becomes watered down and tastes awful. It just shouldn’t be done.
I first can across cool brew iced coffee when living in New Orleans. Apparently it’s pretty common in the south as both barista jobs I had there employed the process. Brewing the coffee this way cuts down on its acidity and also creates more of a coffee concentrate. Better yet, it creates a lot of coffee, which means there’s always some on hand in your fridge.
(Side note: I was originally going to write some cheesy rap to Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby” about cool brew coffee to go along with the title…be glad I didn’t).
cool brew iced coffee
8 ounces coffee, coarse ground
8 cups cold water
Place the ground coffee and water into a large pot or tub. Stir to ensure that all of the coffee is wet. Cover and let sit for 12 hours. Fasten cheesecloth to a pitcher or wide-mouthed container with a rubber band so that it doesn’t move when you pour the coffee into it. Alternatively, you can rest a fine strainer on top of a container. Either pour the coffee through the cheesecloth/strainer or use a soup ladel to transfer it more carefully. When all of the coffee has been filtered, dispose of the grinds. The coffee concentrate can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. To serve, fill a glass with ice and fill roughly 3/4 of the way with coffee and the rest with milk or water depending on your preference.