On a hot summer’s day, I truly appreciate a delicious iced coffee. Sometimes, nothing says summer better than an ice cold coffee with thick and creamy coconut milk.
Coming from a steadfastly devoted tea-lover, that is a pretty strong statement. I know, I know, with my proximity to Seattle, you’d think coffee would be coursing through my veins by now, but alas, it is tea instead 🙂 It is true though, that when iced coffee is done well, it is most enjoyable and makes me want to do some front porch sittin’ and sippin.’
However, there are A LOT of ways to mess up iced coffee, and instead of wasting time talking about how you shouldn’t brew, lets chat about how ya should.
Two words: Cold brew.
Cold brewing coffee, especially for iced coffee, is a brilliant method and works great for the folks at home who wish to brew the very best cuppa in town. It’s easy, cost-effective, less acidic, (one study showed it to be 67 percent less), and possesses an overall more appealing flavor. Many coffee shops, or at least all of the famous ones, have turned to cold-brewing for their iced concoctions, so instead of paying top dollar, (daily, for those highly addicted), why not make your own at home with minimal effort.
*Hint* Coming soon: A super-cool DIY! A mason jar to-go-cup that would be great for iced coffee!
So what is it about cold-brewing that works so well?
Cold-brewing does a lot to close the smell-taste gap. Taste is in the chemistry, and exposing coffee grounds to hot water releases oils that won’t dissolve at lower temperatures. These oils are full of acidic compounds that give coffee its famous bitter bite. But along with that bite comes acid-shock, which anesthetizes the tongue and prevents the taster from perceiving the subtle nuances in coffee’s flavor. Sure, that acid may be nice in a hot cup of coffee, but for iced coffee, it’s a detriment; it doesn’t let you perceive coffee’s luscious fruitiness. Is it any wonder that so many people add so much milk and sugar?
Additionally, the flavor of cold-brewed coffee won’t change over time. Cold-brewed coffee has never been hot, so its chemistry doesn’t change as it cools. As soon as you filter out the grounds, you’ve got a stable solution. With temperature change comes change in taste, but because cold-brewed coffee eliminates most of that temperature change, flavor is locked in. In other words, your day-old cold-brew won’t taste stale like day-old coffee.
~”Coffee’s Dirty Little Secret”
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There are two camps when it comes to cold brew, and you choose where you fall in.
Option One: 1 part coffee grounds to 2 parts water, a concentrate which you later dilute.
Option Two: 5-6 ounces of coffee to 2 L of water, undiluted. (Use more or less coffee to adjust the strength of your solution.
In each method, make sure all of the grounds are saturated before going about your business. This gets the best steepage. The coffee should be steeped for at least 18-24 hours and then strained. I cover my pitcher and steep on my counter top.
Alternatively, the coffee grounds can be contained within a cheesecloth and tied at the top with a rubber-band and the water is then poured over the bundle and it steeps ike a tea bag. *Note: You will most-likely still need to strain.
Once you’ve brewed your black gold, add it to ice (and water if using the concentrated method), and your sweetener/creamer of choice. One of my favorite ways is to use coconut milk, stevia, and pure vanilla extract.
**For the Thai variation, use sweetened condensed milk with a splash of half and half. Sticky, creamy, deliciousness!
Best tip ever: Freeze some of your cold-brewed coffee and use for your ice cubes in your iced coffee for PERFECT, undiluted, bliss! These cubes also work great when a recipe calls for coffee. Use the concentrate method when the recipe calls for espresso.
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Shared With: Wildcrafting Wednesday, LHITS DIY Linky