Two Cold Brew Coffee Methods

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Tis the season for iced coffee. While it’s been suggested that drinking hot coffee may cool you down, it’s not entirely natural to reach for a hot cup of joe when the heat index is 105. On the other hand, you don’t want to constantly fork over cash to your local coffee shop for iced coffee, when you like your blends you already get at home, right? Why not just cold brew your coffee yourself?

If you look up recipes on the Internet for cold brewing coffee, it can be daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be. Cold brewing coffee is really quite simple, and there are two methods to doing so. One is usually called the “hard way” and the other the “easy way,” but neither is easier than the other. More accurately, one takes far more time than the other. In addition, each method produces its own unique coffee flavors.

Traditional Cold Brew Coffee Method

The traditional cold brewing process takes 8 hours to complete. This method also reduces the acidity of the coffee, giving it a “flatter” taste with more hints of chocolate flavors. If you aren’t a “coffee snob,” then this method is really the way to go. It’s also ideal if you want to sweeten it up with milk or other syrupy flavors.

  • Pour one pound of ground coffee into an airtight container.
  • Add two gallons of water and make sure all of the grounds are submerged.
  • Seal the container and leave it in the refrigerator for 8 hours (overnight).
  • Get another container and place a wire mesh strainer over it.
  • Drape a cheesecloth over the mesh, and pour the coffee into the strainer.
  • Press down on the grounds with a spoon to squeeze every last drop into the strainer.
  • For extra cold coffee before serving, seal second container and put the coffee back in the refrigerator for at least another hour.
  • Pour into a glass, add milk, and ice (frozen coffee cubes work best) and serve!

Japanese-style Cold Brew Coffee

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If you’re a fan of the bitterness of coffee and like to taste each flavor of your brew, then this is the method you should use. This also only takes the same amount of time it would take to brew a regular pot of hot coffee.

  • Fill large carafe with 32 oz of ice.
  • Put a coffee filter cone over the carafe.
  • Moisten the filter to prime it.
  • Add 4 and 1/3 oz of coarsely ground coffee into the filter.
  • Take 32 oz of boiling water, and add 1/3 of it to the coffee in the filter.
  • Pause and let the coffee bloom.
  • Slowly pour over the rest of the water.
  • Steep for 3 minutes, and then release the coffee mixture into the ice.

Alternatively, you can make double-strength coffee in a French press and then pour that over ice. It has about the same result.

Cold Brew Coffee Tips

No matter which method you prefer, here are some tips to help you brew the perfect cup of iced coffee:

  • For the traditional method, use light or medium roasted beans. For the Japanese method, use dark beans.
  • For either method, the coffee must be coarsely ground.
  • When pouring the water over the coffee grounds, remember to let it “bloom.” Pour only a third of the water and wait for the bloom, which is the time period when the moistened coffee releases gases. You can even see the mixture bubbling during the bloom.

Good luck with your cold brew, no matter which method you choose! What are your favorite iced coffee methods?

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