cold brew coffee

Iced Coffee, an Update

It’s summer, and I’m left like some other southerners who enjoy coffee contemplating how best to get my cuppa’ joe fix without having to drink something hot.   While frappes and similar drinks are tasty, they’re not usually economical or kind to my waistline.   Making them at home is doable, but not as mindlessly simple as firing up the coffee pot.   Enter Iced Coffee.

If you’ve read my blog previously, you may remember my post in early May about making your own Iced Coffee.  The results were well worth the moderate effort, and no special equipment was needed, short of a large pitcher and some cheesecloth.   Thanks to discussion of this concept with a good friend and connoisseur of all things coffee, I’ve revised the process a bit for something that works exceptionally well and the cleanup is quick.   It does require the purchase of one specialty item that can be purchase for about $7 on Amazon.  (For those like myself who don’t live in a huge metro area, the internet has made getting quirky kitchen gadgets a lot less work.)   That specialty item is a nut milk bag.   In a nutshell (pun intended) it’s reusable cheesecloth, stitched up to make a bag shape.    There’s a number of them to choose from online, but for the price, I think this one does a pretty good job.

Pitcher of Iced Coffee, brewing via cold brew

Pitcher of Iced Coffee, brewing.

So to revisit and revise what I did previously, let’s look at the previous recipe.   It started with adding 6-8oz of coffee to the pitcher, and filling it with water.  Wait several hours, then use a cheesecloth lined strainer to slowly strain the liquid goodness through, leaving the grounds behind.   That works, but admittedly it can get a bit messy.   I’ve tried since then other ways to improve on the process.  Then my friend came across the idea on LifeHacker to try this technique with the bag.   After a couple of tries, I’ve made some tweaks and I think I have it down to a way to easily and satisfactorily make iced coffee, with minimal fuss and cleanup.

Just as before, you’ll need some ground coffee.   I use about 3 to 4 oz.   Also you’ll need a 2 1/2 quart pitcher (or larger), water, and your nut milk bag.  Fill the pitcher with about 2 quarts of water.   Place the bag in the top of the pitcher, with the top open.   You can use the pitcher sides to help keep the bag open.   Measure out 3 to 4 oz of your ground coffee and pour it into the bag.   Close the bag and place the lid on top to hold the bag in place.  (Mine has a draw string, so I drape it out of the pitcher and use the lid to secure it.)

Set the pitcher somewhere out of the way.  Wait as little as 8 and up to 24 hours, depending on how strong you like your iced coffee.   I usually let to sit for about 12 hours.

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee – how to get your coffee fix in the heat of summer.

When you simply can’t stand it any longer, carefully remove the bag from the pitcher.   Discard the grounds, or use them in your garden/composting.

Depending on how willing you are to tolerate very fine grounds and how good the nut milk bag is at filtering the grounds, you may want to filter the coffee a bit further.   If so, you likely already have the perfect device for filtering it – your coffee maker.   Put a filter in the basket and slowly pour the iced coffee into the basket, letting it drain into the coffee pot as you go.  This may take a few minutes but if you want to avoid the grounds entirely, this is a simple way to do it.   Plus the only cost is a single coffee filter.

Refrigerate the coffee once you’ve filtered it to your satisfaction and once it’s chilled, pour yourself a glass.    I suggest you try the same ratios as before – 1/2 glass of ice, cover the ice with coffee, then top off with cream & sugar, or your favorite coffee creamer, either to taste.

Looking for the original recipe?  Get it here.