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We coffee lovers just love our coffee hot, curling up with a blanket or a good book, and wrapping our hands around a warm mug with our favorite coffee drink in it. There is nothing quite like it is there? The heat brings the aroma to our nose and we feel the steam on our cheeks as we smell and taste that sweet coffee. Unfortunately though, not every day is welcomed with a warm cup of coffee. Some days are just too hot to entertain the thought. So why not have that same sweet taste without the heat.
Let’s throw some ice in that coffee and see what it’s all about!
Now I know you coffee lovers out there have indeed enjoyed your coffee over ice a few times before, or more. I am also sure that you all have heard of the ever so popular cold brew coffee that has taken over the coffee shops and cafes around the world. For those who have not or those who are looking to learn something new and maybe even try something new, you are in the right place. I will help you discover how to make the best iced coffee at home, whether it’s cold brew or hot brew.
So let us take a break from the heat, and cool off with a sip of an ever so refreshing iced coffee!
Cold Brew Coffee
So this is where it’s at these days, the beloved Cold Brew coffee. Just typing it makes me want one! Cold Brew is the new go to for coffee lovers. It’s no wonder, the taste is sweet and deliciously smooth. It’s super easy to make, and you can have ready to drink iced coffee at your fingertips for up to two weeks. How nice would that be!
So what is Cold Brew coffee?
Well, cold brew coffee is a coffee concentrate, which is basically ready to drink coffee that you can pour over ice or throw in the microwave for a couple minutes, however you like it, hot or cold. It is made using cold or room temperature water (preferably filtered water), and steeped for 12-24 hours depending on how strong you like it. I always say, the longer the stronger.
When making cold brew you want to use about the same amount of grounds that you would for a normal pot of hot drip coffee,1oz coffee per 1 cup water, drip coffee uses about 1/2 oz coffee per 1 cup water. You can add more if you like it stronger or plan to let it steep the whole 24 hours, which makes for a super strong cup of joe. I always use more to help extract as much flavor as possible during the steeping process, and let it sit for about 14-16 hours. I feel this gives it the best taste for my liking. You can try it out and up the coffee or lessen the coffee until you get it just the way you like it.
You will want to use coarser ground coffee (like cornmeal or raw sugar) for this process, as the finer grinds would inhibit the proper brewing cycle. If you use fine ground coffee it may make it harder to separate from the coffee concentrate and leave your drink muddy and gritty.
When separating the grounds from the coffee, you should use a cheesecloth and a strainer. DO NOT push down on the grounds while in the strainer, let it drain naturally. If you do this, you will be releasing those bitter flavors that no one wants in their morning cup. So resist the urge to squeeze every last drop of coffee from the grounds! You will get plenty on its own.
You should remember, when a normal pot of hot coffee is made, it’s the heat that helps extract the flavor. It is that same heat that extracts the acidity of the coffee which gives you that bitter taste, depending on how long it was roasted and how fine it was ground. Without the heat, the process takes a lot longer. The positive of cold brewing is that the cooler temperature of the water does not allow for extraction of those bitter flavors. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely over brew cold brew. If allowed to sit for too long, the extraction process will continue and definitely get to those bitter flavors, ultimately ruining your sweet iced cold coffee fix.
Cold brew coffee will naturally have a stronger flavor from the grounds being completely immersed in the water for so long. So it is perfectly fine to dilute it with water or milk, or add ice to it and make it extra cold for those hot mornings, without losing your coffee flavor or caffeine fix.
If you really want a kick in the morning you can freeze some coffee in an ice tray and use those for your ice cubes! How clever is that!
The best part of Cold Brew coffee is that you can make enough to last up to two weeks if you like, or just enough for a couple days. I feel if you are going to take the time to steep for long hours, your best bet is to make it in a big batch. This way you can have ready to drink coffee for a longer period and not have to make it every few days.
HOW TO MAKE COLD BREW COFFEE
First you want to know how much you are making. I say make a big a batch so it will last longer.
- So we will start with a 2-quart pitcher, can be glass, plastic or ceramic (preferably one with a lid). Some people like using 2-quart canning jars so if that’s what you have you can use that also.
- Once you have your measured grounds, you can mix them with your water, adding the grounds first. Stir the mixture for a few seconds to make sure all the grounds are completely saturated and immersed in the water.
- Put the top on and let steep for your desired time, no less than 12 hours though. You can stick in it the refrigerator if you like or leave it on the counter. Either way the steeping time is the same.
- After the time is up, grab a large measuring cup or a large bowl, and a noodle strainer. Put the strainer over the cup or bowl and, using a cheesecloth (some use flour sack bags or milk nut bags), pour the concentrate through the cloth lining. If you do not have one of these and want to use a regular coffee filter, just try to make sure it doesn’t rip while straining so no grounds get into the coffee.
- Once again, DO NOT press or squeeze the grounds! Let it drain naturally! This will result in a very sweet and smooth cold brew coffee.
- Transfer your fresh Cold Brew coffee to a new clean pitcher and cover.
- Now you can serve your cup!
As mentioned previously, Cold Brew coffee is naturally stronger than normal drip brewed coffee. So it is okay to dilute it with water, milk, half-and-half, or nothing at all if you like it strong.
- Starting with a 1/2 cup of coffee, I would add about 1/4 cup of water, and you can adjust to your liking as always, and sweeten it with anything you like.
- You can add ice or stick it in the microwave for a couple minutes, once again, your preference.
- If you like you can freeze some coffee in ice cube trays and use that for your ice! This will give you an extra kick with your cold brew!
- Another tip is to add spices to your grounds before you steep them. Vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon are some good choices. You can even add some orange zest or chocolate flakes, or any other spices you may like in your coffee to give it a good flavor kick.
Note: Storing your Cold Brew without diluting it will extend its life span from a couple days to a couple weeks. So I suggest only diluting it when you are serving a cup. Otherwise it will only be good up to 3 days. Undiluted it will last up to 2 weeks.
Before Cold Brew came around, we all thought that iced coffee was where it was at. Now that we realize the difference, most of us turn to the cold brew. If you do not like cold brew, or do not want or can’t take the time to make cold brew, there are some simple tips that will help you make that iced coffee taste even better than before.
So what is Iced Coffee?
Well, iced coffee is exactly what it sounds like, coffee with ice in it. It is brewed with hot water through a coffee maker of your choice, and then poured over ice. Some even brew right over the ice, which will cool it down immediately and cut out most of the bitterness.
When measuring grounds for iced coffee, you are going to want to use about double what you would for a normal pot of hot coffee. This is to ensure that your iced coffee does not come out too diluted once ice is added. If you use the same amount of grounds as per a normal pot, then you chance your coffee becoming too watery when the ice melts, which will make your coffee weak.
You can use the same trick from the cold brew method above, and freeze your coffee in ice cube trays and use those instead of regular ice. This will help keep your coffee tasting the way you want and avoid the watered down effect.
HOW TO MAKE ICED COFFEE
It’s actually pretty simple to make this sweet drink just right. Just follow a few steps and you have yourself a pretty close cafe style iced coffee.
- First thing first, make your pot of coffee. This can be done with whatever coffee maker you normally would use. That’s what is nice about iced coffee. You can make it in any coffee make out there so the process is really easy.
- Use the same amount of water, but double the coffee grounds. This is so your coffee does not become watery when the ice melts in it. So if you use 1oz or 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds per 1 cup of water, then use 2oz or 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per 1 cup of water. You can easily add more or less to fit your liking.
- Grab a tall glass and fill it with ice, and grab a long spoon that will touch the bottom of the glass.
- As previously mentioned, you can freeze your coffee in an ice tray and use those instead of regular ice. This will give your coffee that extra kick you might need in the morning.
- Once your coffee is done brewing pour it straight over your ice. Most of the ice will melt so you might need to add more, but this is why we add double the coffee grounds. To prevent the ice from watering our coffee.
- Add anything you like to sweeten your cup, or drink it black. I usually just make it the same way I would a hot cup of coffee.
Note: If you let your coffee sit after the brewing process and let it cool a while, you won’t have the ice melting right away and this will help prevent over dilution of the coffee.
So Which Is Better?
I will let you be the judge of that. I enjoy my coffee in many ways, and I love experimenting new things and expanding my knowledge on the art of making coffee. So try them both if you like! One thing we can all agree on I’m sure, is that sipping a chilly iced coffee or a refreshing cold brew on a hot summer day, is a perfect way to beat the heat and still enjoy that cup of joe we all love so much. So go ahead and throw some ice in that coffee and be your own judge on which is better. Iced coffee, or Cold Brew?
If you would like to leave any comments or have any questions about this post, please leave them in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!
For the Love of Coffee