How to survive a steamy summer: Brew coffee in the refrigerator, creating a smooth and low-acidity coffee concentrate for making iced coffee and coffee smoothies.
It happens every summer, some years during an unseasonably hot June, some years in always-steamy July.
Predictably, even if the timing is inexact, one morning hot coffee suddenly offers no pleasure. On that morning’s dime, I switch from hot java to iced coffee.
For years, I brewed hot coffee, then chilled it in the fridge. Last year, praise be and thanks to Dinner with Julie, I discovered cold-brewed coffee. What a revelation.
How easy is this? Simply mix ground coffee with cold water and let it rest for a few hours.
But cold-brewed coffee is more than 'easy'. The coffee is smoother and less acidic. It’s easy to make just enough for one or two. It's oh-so-sippable, a cool treat to accompany the soundtrack of a steamy summer.
I love the rhythm of cold coffee. Day One, I mix the first batch of concentrate in a glass jar. Day Two, I strain the coffee through the coffee maker’s filter into a second glass jar, freeing up the first jar to make a fresh batch for tomorrow. While tomorrow’s coffee brews, I sip on today’s iced coffee all day long.
Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, all summer long.
Time to table: 8 – 24 hours
Makes 1-1/2 cups coffee concentrate (easily multiplied for more)
- 1-1/2 cups cold water
- 1/3 cup ground coffee (that’s 5 tablespoons or 4 of those little funnel-shaped coffee scoopers)
- 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
- Pinch of cinnamon, optional
- Water or milk
- Palm sugar or sweetened condensed milk
COFFEE CONCENTRATE Stir the water and ground coffee in a glass jar, making sure to wet all the grounds. If you like, stir in sugar and a little cinnamon, especially if you are a fan of flavored coffee. Cover and let steep in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. Drain through a coffee filter. If drinking later, refrigerate.
ICED COFFEE Combine equal parts coffee concentrate and water or milk. Pour over ice and sweeten as desired.
COFFEE SMOOTHIE Combine ¼ cup coffee concentrate, 1/4 cup cream, 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar and five ice cubes in a blender. Yum!
ALANNA’s TIPS Brew the Coffee Concentrate with fresh-ground coffee beans if you like. But I stick with my everyday coffee, the wonderful Folgers 100% Colombian. Yes, I know: Folgers and ground coffee, cancel my foodie credentials. But this stuff is good – and affordable, $7 or $8 on sale for a huge tub. A little coffee grit will accumulate in the bottom of the jar and even the cup. But it’s no more than, say, what you’ll find at Starbucks. Via SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle has published still more ideas on variations of cold-brewed coffee.
Ways to Strain the Coffee Grounds
There are different ways to strain the coffee grounds to make the Coffee Concentrate.
As pictured, use a paper coffee filter tucked into a strainer. Just be sure to pour the liquid in slowly, otherwise, it'll spill all over.
My coffee maker has a metal filter that works great for straining the cold-brewed coffee.
Jennie from In Jennie’s Kitchen uses a French press for brewing and straining, brilliant! I loved this idea so much that I bought a French press and so far, use it exclusively for cold-brewed coffee.
More Cold Drinks for Hot Summers
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