On Cold-Brew Coffee

When you order cold coffee drinks at most coffee shops what the barista usually does is brew the coffee with hot water and then combine it with ice. Cold coffee aficionados will tell you that this is not how it’s supposed to be done. If you merely chill hot coffee, without all the sugars and creams, what you end up with is a drink that is much too bitter. Chilled coffee should be smooth and sweet. It should almost taste like very dark chocolate. In fact, great chilled coffee is properly done without any heat at all.

While there are some great systems for cold-brewing coffee, such as the Toddy Coffee System, all you really need is a few easily accessible items and a little time. The main thing you’ll need is a French press. If you don’t already have one of these for your hot coffee you’re missing out on what is probably the best way to brew. French presses are inexpensive and widely available. Your grocery store might even carry them. They’re also quite attractive! When you drink a cup from a French press what you usually have is a fine residue from the coffee grains in the end. This doesn’t bother me, but if it bothers you, another item you might want to consider is a common coffee filter.

Here’s how you make cold-brew coffee:

Cold-Brew Coffee Using a French Press
French Press (One That Can Hold 3 Cups)
1 Cup Ground Coffee
2 Cups Water
1. Slowly combine the coffee and the water in the French press.
2. Stir the coffee so that all of the grounds are wet.
3. Wait 10 minutes. Stir the coffee again, breaking up any coffee that has floated to the top. Cover the French press with the plunger or some plastic wrap.
4. Wait 12 hours. Simply keep it at room temperature for the duration. Some say that the coffee is ready in 4 hours. Others say that 24 hours is the sweet spot. The norm is 12. If you let it brew too long the bitter parts of the coffee can start to come out.
5. Press down slowly on the French press plunger. Pour the concentrate into an airtight container. If you don’t like the residue from the coffee grounds use a coffee filter when you pour. The concentrate stays fresh for up to 2 weeks in a refrigerator. For even longer storage, freeze the concentrate in an ice cube tray and keep the cubes in a freezer storage bag.

Cold-Brew coffee concentrate makes great coffee that is less bitter, sweeter and gentler on sensitive stomachs. Usually it’s combined with water and cream to make various coffee drinks. However, heating up a couple of ounces of the concentrate by itself makes a great expresso and would probably work well for recipes that call for it. Here’s a few recipes:

Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate Recipes
Coffee 3 oz Concentrate, heated (not boiled) + 8 oz. Hot Water
Iced Coffee Combine equal parts Concentrate and Cold Water over Ice + a pinch of Kosher Salt
Expresso 2 oz Concentrate, heated (not boiled)
Iced Latte Combine 3 oz Concentrate + 9 oz Milk + Sweetener/Flavor syrup (optional) over Ice
Iced Cappuccino Combine 2 oz Concentrate + 6 oz Milk + ⅛ teaspoon Vanilla Extract + Sweetener/Flavor syrup (optional) over Ice
Iced New Orleans Coffee (Cafe Noir) When making the cold-brew concentrate add 1 oz roasted and ground chicory to the ingredients. Combine 2 oz Concentrate + 6 oz Milk + Sweetener/Flavor syrup (optional) over Ice