Stone cold brewing iced coffee

Stone cold brewing iced coffee

This is my second post in two days about coffee. It's like that time I kept writing about alcohol over and over again. Basically, this blog is all about me sharing my vices with you. Wait until I start writing about Skylanders.

My sister-in-law (the same sister-in-law who told me about putting butter in your coffee) mentioned the other day that Trader Joe's is now selling cold brew iced coffee concentrate. We both agreed that cold brew is supposed to be much better than hot brew because the cold water tempers some of the coffee's bitterness. I had been wanting to try it for a while. I tried to find said concentrate at my local TJ's and both ladies there said, "Put down that wine, and, no, we don't carry iced coffee concentrate at this juncture."

So I went to my sister-in-law and said, "A) We should start a coffee-centric lifestyle blog called 'Bean Bitches (don't google that),' and B) I have a killer cold brew iced coffee recipe I've been dying to try, if only I hadn't gotten rid of my French press, like a moron."

Luckily, she had a French press, and sent it my way lickety-split.


I used the recipe out of America's Test Kitchen's DIY book (naturally, because everything I make comes from some ATK cookbook). In preparation, I went to my local coffee house (read: Starbucks) and asked them which medium roast would be best to make me some iced coffee. The dude was all, "Brezza Blend," which is seasonal. The lovely folks there ground it up for me, and I was on my way.

The first hiccup came when I realized my (OK, my SIL's) French press was too small to handle the quantity of coffee in the recipe. The recipe calls for a two-quart French press, which mine was not. So, I reduced the amount of coffee and water to two cups each (basically the recipe calls for equal parts of everything). You put the coffee in the press, stir it after it's had some time to settle, and then plastic wrap it and leave it on the counter for twenty-four hours.

You see, this recipe is not good for on-the-fly iced coffee consumption. This recipe takes a little foresight.

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After twenty-four hours, I plunged that bitch and poured the coffee concentrate through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter (this contraption was, obviously, sitting on top of a bowl and not just my countertop). It took, no exaggeration, nineteen minutes for the coffee to make its way through the filter. I had been expecting instant iced coffee, but instead I had time to clean the kitchen (read: guess blind items on Crazy Days and Nights).

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That done, I lined another bowl with triple-ply cheesecloth and dumped in the grounds. My cheesecloth, however, was not wide enough to accommodate all of the grounds (I probably should've laid two pieces crosswise on top of each other; as Alanis says, "You live, you learn"). But of course, like a fool, I took that cheesecloth mess and started squeezing it right over the bowl of filtered coffee concentrate. This resulted in a massive clump of coffee grounds landing -- splat! -- right in the pristine liquid.

So, I went through another round of filtering, and one more to be sure, and then I poured half a cup of water and half a cup of coffee concentrate over a glass of ice. I sprinkled the mixture with some Kosher salt, and voila. Iced coffee, only twenty-five hours ex post facto.

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Was it worth it? Yeah? Taste-wise, I'd say so. Output-wise, maybe not. All that coffee and all that water yielded only one cup of concentrate. That's two iced coffees, if you use my coffee/water ratio. I did learn some valuable cheesecloth lessons, so I'll be able to avoid the same mistakes in the future and make the process easier on me. And the cold brew iced coffee is really delicious. The resulting drink is only mildly bitter and it's as smooth as George Clooney on a yacht on Lake Como. Maybe I should try putting butter in it.

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Tags: coffee

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