For most of the year, I start each day with a piping hot cup o’ joe. There are those who argue that hot coffee will help you cool down on summer days, but science be darned. When the weather heats up, I’ll take my coffee ice cold, thank you very much. Once the domain of caffeinated hipsters, iced coffee has hit the mainstream over the last few years and is available at coffee shops, fast food chains and the occasional gas station. So why is it so disappointing when you make it at home?
It may seem straightforward to pour freshly brewed coffee over ice, but doing so all but guarantees you’ll end up with a cold drink that is depressingly weak, bitter or both. For those looking for that perfect glass of iced java this summer, there is a better way: Cold-brewed coffee.
Cold-brewed coffee might more accurately be called coffee concentrate. Using a much higher grounds-to-water ratio yields a brew that is nearly three times stronger than coffee brewed in a drip coffee maker, but with roughly one third the acidity. The result is a full-bodied brew that is remarkably smooth. Strong yet never bitter, it is meant to be diluted with ice, milk or water. This is iced coffee as it was meant to be.
This can’t-miss coffee concentrate will hold its flavor for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Serve over a full glass of ice and add as much milk as you like. Deceptively mellow, this stuff is super strong and will stand up diluted at a ratio of three to one or even more.
We brew ours in gallon containers, but the recipe can be scaled as desired. Follow the simple steps below to caffeinate your summer as it was meant to be done.