Today, I’m infinitely more disciplined when it comes to drinking coffee. When I took my first job at a public accounting firm, I worked a ton of late nights (more late nights than in college – really). To keep up, I had coffee coursing through my veins 24/7. I’m relieved to have moved on from job. With that said, it took me forever to wean off the caffeine machine.
Now, I’m much more particular about how I consume my coffee. If I have a cup of joe, it will be in the form of cold brew coffee. Unlike regular coffee, cold brew is never exposed to heat. Cold brew uses time instead of heat to extract the coffee’s sugars, oils and caffeine. As a result, you are left with a smooth tasting coffee.
Cold brew coffee is not made like traditionally brewed hot coffee. A few things to note:
- COFFEE GROUNDS: For cold brew, the coffee should be ground coarsely. If you grind your beans where you purchase them, use/request the coarsest setting. A finer grind will result with a bitter brew.
- BREWING: Room temperature is the ideal climate to steep your coffee. You can leave your steeping mixture on the kitchen counter 12-24 hours. After 24 hours, you risk having your cold brew go bitter.
- COFFEE/WATER RATIO: You can vary the strength of your coffee. Lots of cold brew recipes recommend 1 part coffee to 8 parts water. As I’m sharing a recipe for coffee concentrate, my ratio is 1 part coffee to 4 parts water. My recipe is a lot stronger, this concentrate will be diluted with water 50/50 when serving.
After the requisite sitting time (12-24 hours), it’s time to filter out the grounds. There are a lot of filtering contraptions to choose from, such as: French press, specially designed cold brew systems, coffee filter specifically made for mason jars or a cold brew carafe. I’m sure these items work well, but I’m exercising some self control . I went through a kitchen clean up (or I should say clean OUT), so I set a self-imposed moratorium on new kitchen gadgets. I’m opting for a low-tech option and use what is readily available kitchen items.
Here’s the short list of kitchen equipment needed:
- Quart sized mason jar – any quart size container with a cover will work.
- Strainer – I use a gold coffee filter that came with my coffee machine.
- Disposable coffee filter (or cheesecloth). I highly recommend layering your strainer with a disposable paper filter or cheesecloth. This with further eliminate any sediment that could slip through.
Your efforts will be rewarded with a drink that is refreshing and NOT bitter. Bonus – cold brew concentrate will maintain its taste up to two weeks in the refrigerator. I will often double or triple the recipe. I will have enough coffee to last me a couple of weeks (or days).
Less acidic than traditionally brewed coffee, you can even get away with drinking it black. That’s a little boring. Cold brew coffee with homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk makes a yummy Thai or Vietnamese style iced coffee. If that isn’t your thing, top off your cold brew with your favorite plant-based milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon – YUM!
COLD BREW COFFEE CONCENTRATE
Save your money – make homemade cold brew coffee concentrate.
Equipment needed: quart sized mason jar with lid, strainer (or gold coffee filter), paper coffee filter
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 hours
- Total Time: 12 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 3 1/2 cups
3/4 cups coffee, coarsely ground
3 cups filtered water, room temperature
Add ground coffee to quart sized mason jar.
Add 1 1/2 cups filtered water to mason jar. Stir to ensure that all grounds are moistened.
Add remaining 1 1/2 cups filtered water to mason jar.
Let cold brew mixture steep at room temperature 8-24 hours.
Using cheesecloth or paper filter lined strainer, strain coffee into a large measuring cup or bowl.
Rinse out mason jar, and use it to store the filtered cold brew concentrate.
Serve cold brew concentrate over ice, with 1/2 cup concentrate and 1/2 cup filtered water. Add sweetener and choice of milk.
Concentrate can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.