I love coffee. I am not a three cup of coffee a day kind of girl, but my tall glass of iced coffee in the morning makes me happy and starts my day out on the right foot. While we do occasionally by ready to drink Starbucks or Stok iced coffee at the store, for the most part we brew it at home. When I say we, I actually mean Bruce, because even though he doesn’t drink it, he has become the leading expert on home-brewing in the relationship. What can I say? He loves me, so when he sees that I’m getting low, he starts a new batch. However, I am in Saint Augustine, FL with Skylar who is nursing an injury and Bruce is away on a short business trip, which means I am the one who is in charge of brewing the coffee.
As almost everyone knows by now, cold brewing coffee gives it a much better and less bitter flavor than warm brewing. What I thought that meant for a long time is that it had to brew in our refrigerator. That was great when we had a second refrigerator in our garage, but that is not so easy when a.) you have a small fridge in an RV and/or b.) you only have one fridge. By a stroke of luck, I was discussing this with a Starbucks barista and she pointed out that Starbucks “Cold Brew” is really brewed at room temperature. Since then, I have been doing the same thing with great results. So, if you don’t have room to brew in your refrigerator, don’t sweat it. Brewing it in your cabinet is still going to give you really good results.
It is surprisingly easy to make iced coffee at home. Sure, at first it seems like a lot, but by the time you have done it twice, you will be a pro. It also tastes great, because you can pick your favorite coffee grounds. I have tried a ton of brands and flavors, and strangely enough I keep coming back to Folgers Gourmet Supreme Deep and Full Bodied (Dark Roast). I like this one in particular for the full deep flavor that I crave in the morning. It’s the best part of waking up, especially when it’s delivered to your bed in the morning. Bruce really is the best. 🙂
You will need a 2.5 gallon plastic tub with a lid, a 10 to 16 oz bag or cube of your choice ground coffee, and two gallons of water. You can even use espresso grounds. I have and it came out very well. I am showing my favorite, because we use it 99% of the time. Instructions: dump your coffee grounds into the bottom of your tub. Pour two gallons of water over the coffee grounds. They will start to float. It’s fine, keep pouring until all the water is in the tub. Then, take a whisk and stir until there are no more grounds floating on top of your brew. Make sure the grounds are mixed in pretty well. It will smell like heaven at this point. Angels may start to sing. Your heart may skip a beat. All of this is perfectly normal.
Once your concoction looks like coffee soup, put the lid on your container and the container into your cabinet or fridge. Anywhere is fine as long as it’s not going to get hot, you want room temperature or cooler. Now, you just have to wait for 48 hours, stirring the mixture thoroughly twice a day. We didn’t do that in the beginning, but Bruce discovered that I like the flavor better if he did it. I think it gives more depth to the brew. After 48 hours, you will need to strain it. There are several ways to do this, so I took photos showing different options. My daughter has what she calls her “Double Filter No Grounds Process”, which she uses to prevent any stray grounds from ending up in her final cold brew. She stacks a bowl, a colander, a paper towel, a strainer, and a coffee filter, then strains the batch through, see below:
Bruce and I usually use a Single Filter Process with either the colander and the paper towel (my preference) or the strainer and the coffee filter (his preference). The reason I like to use paper towels is that is the fastest method. I just want to get it done, and get on with other things. I’m an Aries, so I can be super impatient. I like efficiency. For this post, I am going to be using Skylar’s method, since I’m at her house right now.
Once you decide on how you are going to filter your coffee, all you have to do is ladle the brew out of the plastic bin and let the grounds sift out through your filter. After two or three scoops have gone through your filter, you will need to throw it out and put a fresh filter/paper towel in, toward the end there will be more grounds so keep changing out as necessary. If not, it will start to drip super slowly and will take forever. Also, if you notice that your brew is just sitting there and not draining, it usually means that you need to transfer your coffee from the catch bowl into it’s final container. We use a large glass container with a nozzle. Sky found a really pretty one at Ikea that holds the full 2 gallons of coffee.
I forgot to take a photo right after I had filled the container. This is after we already had a few glasses of iced-coffee. This container was full almost to the top by the time I was finished straining the batch. The coffee grounds can be used for composting; gardens love coffee grinds. You can also use them to make a body scrub. If nothing else, your trash can will smell awesome for a bit until you take out the garbage. I am sure they could even go down the garbage disposal.
I hope you give this a try! It is a pretty easy process to master, and there is nothing like knowing you have a refrigerator stocked with iced coffee that you brewed for yourself. If you have any questions about the process, leave a comment and I will be happy to clarify.