I grew up in a house where iced coffee was made by pouring the hours-old coffee pot leftovers over a glass of ice. Maybe a little milk was added, or, if you were feeling extra fancy, a splash of flavored creamer. Embarrassingly far into adulthood (before Keurig came along and cramped my style), that’s how I made my “cold brew.” For years, this was how I drank my warm-weather coffee. But oh, did I have it wrong.
In case you’re unaware, cold brew, real cold brew, is made using an entirely different method than hot coffee. While hot coffee is generally made by running hot water through finely-ground coffee beans, cold brew is made more like our grandmothers made sun tea – set to steep for a while, becoming flavorful and delicious on its own with nothing added but love, water, and time.
The result is a much smoother, silkier, bolder and more flavorful cup of morning magic. When coffee is steeped this way, much of the bitterness smooths to be much gentler on the palette, allowing you to really taste the flavor of the beans in a whole new way. So how do you make cold brew at home?
There are plenty of gizmos out there, like cold brew coffee makers, jugs, and infusers, but there’s no need for these. Like many needless kitchen tools, these accessories end up being shoved into the back of the pantry, never to be seen again. Our favorite method of making cold brew coffee involves nothing more than a good old-fashioned French press.
How to make cold brew coffee
Cold brew recipe
- 2 cups coffee beans
- 3 1/2 cups filtered water
- Grind coffee beans to a medium/coarse consistency.
- Add coffee grounds to a large french press and add water, stirring to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
- Place the lid on the French press and slowly press the plunger down.
- Pour the cold brew into a pitcher and discard grounds.
- Serve plain or with any desired add-ins, such as milk or sweeteners.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Cold brew coffee tips and tricks
- If you’re not a fan of watered-down coffee, cold brew cubes are an easy solution! Simply freeze some of your leftover cold brew in ice cube trays and use them instead of regular ice. Problem solved!
- While finely ground beans are great for hot coffee, you’ll want a coarser ground for cold brew. Cold brew made with finely ground coffee beans can easily become muddy or overly infused.
- While it isn’t necessary, filtered water makes for the best flavor when making coffee, be it regular or cold brew. A simple filter like Brita works great for this.
- If you don’t have a French press, this process can be easily done without one. Simply steep your grounds and water in a jar or pitcher in the fridge. After 12-24 hours, strain the liquid through a strainer and cheesecloth, filtering out all of the grounds.
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