You’ll never be without your iced coffee with this dead-simple recipe.
By Dan Souza | August 4, 2011
<< Back to Article: How To Make Cold-Brew Coffee
I don’t think I’ll be trying this again–it’s very expensive for questionably better results.
Couple of issues:
- Brewing vessel size: needs to be at least 40 ounces. I tried using my large (8 cup/34 oz.) Bodum french press and could not fit the grounds and coffee.
- Extraction volume: I only got 13 ounces of concentrate, after steeping, filtering thru mesh, pressing the solids thru a potato ricer (!) to get as much out as I could, and then running all the liquid thru a coffee filter
This process was verrry inefficient–I got 13 ounces of coffee concentrate from 7 ounces of ground coffee to make a final 26 ounces of coffee drink (1:1 ratio). That same amount could’ve brewed at least 95 ounces of french press coffee, or over 3.5x as much.
And the coffee made this way…it was fine, but nothing transcendent.
My favorite way of brewing iced coffee this summer has been the “japanese” method–brew 2x as strong coffee (29g to 8 oz. water) and then pour hot over ice (8 oz. by weight), to produce a pint of lovely, undiluted coffee. Much easier, efficient, and economical.
Also, this is essentially a rehash of NY Times approach from 2007:
They use a 5:1 water to coffee ratio and yours is 4:1.
Sorry, if I’m being harsh, but it was a lot of work and a ton of coffee for not much in the end. Thanks for posting it, though–I appreciate your diligence!
Indeed, a lot of coffee for a small reward. Still, there are things to take from it and apply to my own recipe and technique.
I also remember the Times introduction of this process – I tried their method, and then adjusted it to my own taste….. I use less fresh ground, make smaller batches and keep a covered jug in the refrigerator so I can throw together a refreshing beverage whenever the urge strikes…..full flavor is attainable with less investment than described here simply by soaking the grounds in room temp water then straining thru a coffee filter – perhaps that will make Mr. Cohen (above) happy ….. but I AM intrigued by the kosher salt suggestion – gotta’try that!!
–LadyFville: what ratio have you had success with? I realize it’s hard to mimic hot-brewed coffee with cold, as you won’t extract the same flavors.
–My wife uses a Toddy unit due to a medical need for low-acid coffee. I like how easy it is to use and clean-up, but find the coffee has a weird medicinal flavor. It could be that we need to replace the supplied filter (been using a few months; Toddy says 3-4 months) or it could be the coffee used (Puroast low-acid).
–They call for a 4.5:1 water to coffee brewing ratio, but then only 3:1 water to concentrate drinking ratio–this makes an understandably weaker cup than the method here.
Oh, and I’ve been using a pinch of salt in my coffee for a few years now, since Alton Brown mentioned it for french press coffee on a breakfast episode of Good Eats. It really does perk it up nicely!
I tried this because cold-brewed coffee is supposed to preserve more antioxidants. The result was many times too weak compared to the latte I usually make.* I added quite a bit more concentrated coffee, but the flavor was unpleasant.
*Using a drip coffee maker, use 1/2 cup coffee grounds to 24 oz of water. I mix 1/2 cup of concentrated coffee with slightly less than 1 cup of cold milk.
mark… the times uses a 5:1 water to coffee ratio by volume; this recipe uses 1:1 by volume, 4:1 by weight.
potato ricer? really?
you look like a cud
Interesting – I’m going to try it. If I can lower my acid intake, it would be worth the effort. Since the body will use calcium from bones to neutralize acidity, high acid can cause osteoporosis. A little extra effort – and lowering my electricity bill by not boiling water – might be well worth it.
Would anyone please guess at (or actually measure) the caffeine content produced by the volume 1:1, 24 hour room temperature method? Would it be similar to this?:
I make my cold-brewed with 8-10 ounces of coffee and 1 gallon of water. 12-16 hours of steeping and into the fridge it goes. I’ve found the actual coffee (roast, grind, flavor, etc..) used is the largest determinant on outcome.
No ice, neat. Why water down goodness? In the summer, I’ll put a couple glasses in the freezer, martini-style; and use those.
I’m a bad boy, I guess, because I dilute the coffee with 1-2T of sweetened condensed milk…
@pporter Try a 1/8-1/4 tsp of baking soda to neutralize the acidity and save your bones. Enough to balance out the acid and not enough to be noticeable. Better than crunching on Tums…
I’ve been wanting to try to make my own cold press coffee for quite some time because of the lower acid. Beats buying it from Caribou. And I am excited to try adding the salt, I’ve never heard of that before and am intrigued.
pporter – have you ever heard of Javacid? It’s a product to add to your coffee to lower the acid content. It works fairly well and I actually use it on my cold press coffee I buy from Caribou because even the cold press still bothers me unless I do.
I liked this recipe. Yeah, it takes a lot of coffee to produce 2 cups of concentrate, but compared to hot brewed coffee, it’s much less acidic and bitter and has an awesome dark chocolate aroma and flavor. I feel like I’m negating the health benefits of coffee because I have to put so much cream and sugar in hot brewed coffee to make it drinkable. I still used milk in the cold brew coffee, but I didn’t have to use nearly as much sugar, and it made a kick-ass iced coffee. My only complaint about the method was that the french press plunger left a little valuable concentrate in the pressed grounds at the bottom of the press. Next time I think I’ll skip the press (although very convenient) and pour the liquid and grounds through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and then filter again with a paper filter.
Ground Coffee (French roast)
Heavy whipping cream
vanilla, almond or hazelnut extract
Coffee – I use a refrigerator jug(~50 oz.) and put one cup by volume of coffee grounds into it and top it off with water.
Soak overnight or a few days. Doesn’t seem to matter. I do it at room temp most of the time, sometimes in the fridge.
I filter it through a filter. I got one of the large filter holders and use a lemonade pitcher to filter it into.
I pour it back into the jug and top it off with more water.
Syrup – I use 1 part water and one part sugar with a splash of vanilla for the syrup. I usually make about a cup at a time, once a week or so. I do this at room temperature. Just put it in a jar and shake it now and then.
So, I take a clear glass and put about 1/2 ice. Fill it to about 80% with the coffee, then a splash of cream and the syrup. You will need to adjust to your taste.
I have never tried the salt. I may give that a go.
This is a cheap method that makes the best coffee.
Yield is certainly quite low, but the 1:1 ratio for both brewing and dilution is also quite a bit stronger than I find necessary, so I’ll be getting about the same amount of drinkable product from my half pound bag as I would have by other means–and I won’t be getting terrible heartburn in the process from the looks of it.
Not entirely sure why mrmambo had trouble fitting the ingredients into an 8 cup container, why he felt it was necessary to employ a potato ricer, or why he seems to be under the impression that anyone interested in cold brewing is doing so because they want to emulate the flavors of hot brewing, but pretty much all of these statements are contrary to reality.
You guys made me laugh at all the comments about my comments…I look like a “cud”? I’ve never been compared to partially-digested food…yum!
I’m glad this method works for lots of folks; it just didn’t for me. In the spirit of Cook’s experimental approach I posted other cold-press alternatives I’ve tried (Toddy, japanese method) with more success using less coffee. I’m out of work, so producing good results with less is attractive. That’s also why I used the potato ricer–I was just trying to extract more coffee from the slurry.
And I never said I expected it to taste like hot brewed coffee–I’ve been making cold-press for 4-5 years thru different methods and appreciate the differences. Reducing the acidity helps my tummy, too, and I sometimes prefer the different flavors and body.
For those of you concerned about the ratio of coffee to water and the work to pleasure, I use a super easy method, which might seem rather crude and Philistine to the baristas, but here it is for your consideration.
Take a clean 1 litre soda bottle (I use club soda bottles) and put a generous 6 tablespoons of coffe it it (I use coarse ground). Use a dry funnel to get it in easily and cleanly.
Fill the bottle to the top with room temp water and put the cap on the bottle.
Shake it about a bit to mix the coffee more thoroughly into the water.
Lay the bottle on it’s side on the countertop for a few hours, rolling it back and forth once or twice whenever you pass it.
Before going to bed, but the bottle in the fridge upright.
The next morning (and during the day) put some ice cubes in a glass (about 3/4 full and I use a 16oz glass) and gently pour (like you would pour wine) the coffee straight into the glass. I sometimes run it through a metal coffee filter, but that isn’t necessary for the first couple of glasses.
I add half and half and drink away.
I notice that several people say that they used French roast or even espresso…recipe states in first line to use medium roasted coffee. That’s what I used. I am primarily an espresso/dark roast drinker/server, but went out on limb and got whole bean medium roast as recipe recommended. We’ll see how it comes out…
I was a bit skeptical when approaching this recipe, but I have to say that the end result is one of the best cups of coffee I’ve had in quite some time. The yield does make the process a bit on the expensive side, but who doesn’t deserve a nice treat every now and again? I used Starbucks Colombian from my local grocery store and followed the recipe from there. The salt is an interesting touch, too. Thanks for the recipe, Dan!
I’m thinking of using this as an extract (with some natural cane sugar) to make a coffee soda using seltzer water to dilute. I’m thinking it will taste pretty good.
I agree that this is an expensive method to brew coffee. Even friends of mine that are coffee roasters won’t make ice coffee this way. No one could afford it. However, I have a bag of coffee that I didn’t much care for and am giving it a shot since I read that even poor coffee beans taste good using this method. My favorite way of making iced coffee is Vietnamese ice coffee and Mark Prince’s (coffeegeek.com) Areopress method http://tinyurl.com/8ydrqpz .
Haven’t tried it yet, but recipe is clearly explained and the iced coffee sounds delicious.
Love this recipe. I like strong bold coffee and this concentrate is real nice. I do about 1 part concentrate and 2 parts milk or water. YUM!
I have tried Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s coffee concentrate and it is great: http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/beverages_coffee_concentrate.html. And it lasts for a couple of weeks, no problem (if I don’t drink it all first).
It’s not straightforward to compare the that yield to this recipe’s, but maybe I’ll try this one and compare. I haven’t made the concentrate often because it’s such a hassle to filter (I use a repurposed gallon cider jug), but I’m going to try the rough filter through the fine metal sieve, then filter again through the coffee filter.
AKT has yet to let me down.
I dunno, I thought this was pretty easy to make. I did as suggested and used the press to get most of the liquid separated and then put it through a coffee filter lined strainer. Let it sit and work for like 30 mins (like the recipe says) then use a spatula to push the rest of the liquid through. I even emptied the press and pressed those grounds through the filter too. Get all the good concentrate. I found the flavor to be muck like everyone else said, chocolatey and smooth. Good work.
If you’re going to put it through a coffee filter anyways what’s the point of using a french press? Couldn’t you just use a jug?
After letting the coffee and water (finely ground, equal parts) sit for 18 hours, I was unable to plunge the French press and felt if I plunged any harder I’d break it (my coffee/water mixture was much thicker looking than the picture shown in the recipe). Now I’m trying to strain a very thick silty mix, slow going. What I’m curious about is why the author of this recipe hasn’t responded to quite a few unfavorable comments with at least an explanation or a modification.
I didn’t follow any recipe (though afterwards wondered what everyone else did, hence winding up here), but over the weekend I dumped a bag (12oz?) of Italian Roast (Yeah, gasp! But hey, I like it dark and smoky.) ground very fine into a gallon jug of distilled water (with about 3 inches poured off the top to compensate). Put it in the fridge overnight (ended up not getting back to it for about 30 hours). Filtered it through a cheap nylon mesh (paper filter replacement) filter. and came away with about 2/3 of a gallon of VERY strong concentrate. Mixed 1:1 was way too intense (but still good), even with milk. I have yet to try other ratios.
Trying my first batch overnight tonight. Went with two cups of beans, ground, added to 8 cups of water. It’s sealed up and sitting on the counter. I’ll give it a shake before I go to bed.
I am looking forward to try it.
http://shop.funraniumlabs.com/products/bbote-sampler-ten-50ml-test-tubes.html makes and sells expensive concentrated coffee. It is incorrect if you look at it as low yield it as it is Much more concentrated in Caffeine, 40x, and some of the better parts of coffee with less acid and bitter parts we wouldn’t want concentrated like putricine. Many of the serving suggestions are at a ratio > 1:3 and the caffeine content will still be High. Just drink less (think espresso cup – Demitasse) at lower concentrations (more dilute) and the ground coffee will “last” relative to several doses but if you take it straight Of Course it will be a low yield if measured in only quantity of liquid sips.
Sounds simple and i’m eager to try it. I’ve especially enjoyed cold brewed coffee before and will try this for sure. Thanks, Dan Souza.
More trouble than it’s worth to try for me….think I’ll just stick my brewed coffee in the fridge for a while, add milk, sugar and ice, and drink!
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