Wednesday, July 11, 2012

cold brewed coffee

It was one-hundred-and-thirteen degrees here last week. Iowa is a steamy, tropical, prehistoric nightmare of a place. Anyway, I had to make iced coffee.

Cousin Gabe, culinary extraordinaire, sent me this Bon Appétit recipe for cold-brew iced coffee concentrate. Click on it here if you want to make it, and you can follow my photos below.
I don't have much better to do this summer than make a complicated overnight recipe so I said, "yes!" to life.

"Is it especially delicious," you are asking me. "Is it even better than regular iced coffee?"

Answer: Yes. It is smooth and completely free of any of that coffee-y bitterness.

"Is it worth it," you are asking me. "Is it worth it to make this iced coffee that takes lots of time and also lots of coffee?"

Answer: Not really.

The recipe calls for a full 12 oz of (coarsely) ground coffee-- that's practically a whole bag. By the time I'd soaked it and steeped it and drained it all out, I had about half a container of the concentrate. I expect it to last for about 7 cups of iced coffee.

Let's call this a luxury item, and bookmark it under special occasions only. For example, if you have a houseguest for the weekend. Plan ahead though, because the coffee needs to sit for at least 15 hours. That is not the equivalent of one night's sleep, much to my chagrin on the morning I woke up ready to drink it.

First, grind 12 ounces of coffee. Keep it fairly coarse, which Bon Appétit recommends to keep the liquid clear. That's about 60 tablespoons of ground coffee, at 5 tablespoons to an ounce.

Pour seven cups of cold water over the coffee, making sure all the grounds get soaked. It will look disgusting.

Cover with cheesecloth and let sit for 15 hours.

This is the delicious, locally roasted coffee that I've been getting from the farmer's market. (Watercolor effect my own.)

The next morning, the coffee looked like a cross-section of earth.

Line a strainer (I have a nice fine one) with the cheese cloth and pour through. Expect to wait about 45 minutes for all the liquid to drain out. I hooked it over the edge of a large pot.

Last but not least, strain AGAIN through a filter. If you don't have one of these babies, line the same strainer with a coffee filter and do it like that. 

Remember: this makes concentrate, so you can dilute it with a little water (or milk) to make it the strength you like. 

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