I really like iced coffee. There just isn’t much that’s more refreshing on a hot summer day than a really good iced coffee. I have a major issue though with iced coffee from most chain coffee places. They tend to… what’s the phrase… mutilate it.
They take their normal coffee which has been brewed and probably burned and stick it in a plastic cup with ice. Done deal. This means that the coffee not only tastes burned (more so than if it were hot), but it’s also watered down because the coffee isn’t cold when they add the ice.
I get visibly distraught when this happens to me after I fork over my hard-earned bucks. So now I have a one strike policy with coffee joints. It’s harsh, but whatever. You serve me one cup of bad coffee (especially iced coffee because I love it so) and you are forever blacklisted.
Most DC coffee joints are blacklisted. Luckily, I’ve learned how to make my own.
In my opinion, the real way to make really good iced coffee is to cold-brew it. Well, actually you room temperature brew it, but it’s colder than how you would normally think to brew coffee.
Instead of letting heat do the work for this coffee, you let time do the work which results in a really mellow but still very intense coffee flavor. It’s so good.
Cold Brewed Coffee
Yield: 1 pitcher
Cold-brew Starter (for lack of a better word)
1 part coarsely ground coffee. Freshly ground is best.
4 parts room temperature water.
Cold-brewed Iced Coffee:
1 part coffee starter
1 part water (adjust the ratio depending on how strong you like your coffee, but a 1-to-1 ratio makes for a pretty good starting point.)
Ice (If you want to get really crazy you can pour 1 part water and 1 part coffee starter into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then you're coffee will stay equally delicious throughout the glass.)
Sugar and cream (optional)
Coffee Grinder (This is the one I use which is great for the price.)
1) Pulse coarsely ground coffee in grinder for a few seconds.
2) Add room temperature water slowly and give the mixture a stir to make sure that there aren’t a lot of clumps.
3) Let this sit at room temperature covered for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
4) Strain twice - line a sieve with a normal coffee filter and pour it through slowly. Try not to press down on it or anything.
5) Use this mixture to make a cold-brewed iced coffee.
I’ve only used coarsely ground coffee for this. Just pulse it in the grinder for a few seconds until it looks like this.
Then add your room temperature water slowly and give the mixture a stir to make sure that there aren’t a lot of clumps.
Forget about it
Let this sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours. I let it sit overnight and that works great. Cover it though or your cat might drink it and that would leave you with a very hyper cat. If you don’t have a cat, well, cover it anyway.
To strain this, just line a sieve with a normal coffee filter and pour it through slowly. Try not to press down on it or anything. Just let gravity do it’s work for a few minutes.
I strain mine a second time through a fresh filter just to make sure I get all the little particles.
You’ll end up with a very fragrant and richly colored liquid. I wouldn’t recommend drinking this straight. It’s very intense.
What I would recommend doing is making the best glass of iced coffee you’ve maybe ever had with it.
This coffee is so smooth and delicious that it really doesn’t need much, but some days I feel like adding some extra sweetness to it. A little cream or milk and some sugar can do the trick. Plus the milk makes it pretty. A glass of black liquid isn’t all that photo-friendly.
This is one of those posts that I really feel like should be accompanied by a warning. If you have this coffee, it will be very hard to find a good cup of iced coffee that compares. I know of very few places in DC that match up to it. And I really don’t even know all that much about coffee – although I’m learning.
I’m serious. Make this. For better or for worse, you’ll never look back.