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Cold-brew coffee for instant iced coffee

I've tried saving surplus brewed and cafetiere-pressed coffee for iced coffee; I used to freeze it as coffee ice cubes or just chill it in the fridge, but it always tasted a bit bitter and sludgy. I was looking for something to do with kidney beans that isn't chili and came across an intriguing recipe for cold-brew coffee which led me to discover an entire coffee movement around cold brewing coffee concentrate for iced coffee; in New York you can get it delivered, in New Orleans you can buy it in convenience stores, and making it is easy.

We use the Illy coffee pods that work in most espresso machines (well, the Waitrose own-brand version); they're like a fat round tea bag and they simplify cleaning up. But we have a handful of hotel coffee single-brew, sealed in a filter bag coffee pouches that make terrible coffee in a cafetiere, and there's always a dog-end of ground coffee hanging around in the back of the fridge, so I thought I'd try this out.

Coarse ground coffee is recommended in most of the recipes, and the proportion is 4:1 water to coffee - so a third of a cup of coffee to a cup and a half of water. Use cold water, in a jug and mix the ground coffee if it looks as if it's forming lumps in the water, then leave for at least 3 hours and more likely overnight, especially if you're doing it in bulk.

When it looks ready, strain. I used a tea mesh ball (like a mini sieve) lined with a double folded sheet of tea bag paper that came as packing in an Republic of Tea order; muslin would also work. The woven cotton sock I use for brewing herb teas inside the sock didn't strain quite as effectively (I am comparing a brew of hotel + bagged coffee to all bagged coffee). Next time I'm going to try reusing the filter bag from the hotel coffee pouch ;-)

What you get is strong, cold coffee; a little on the strong side to drink black, ideal diluted 3:1 with milk - US recipes often dilute with cream and water, but cream in coffee is a very US thing ;-)

The cold brewing turns awful hotel coffee into something very drinkable; you get far less acidity and bitterness - either less of the coffee oil comes out or not heating it makes a difference. And there's none of the powdery sludge you get from the bottom of the pot. Straining is fiddly; doing the cold brew in a cafetiere (without plunging) and using a wide mouthed bottle to pour into make it much easier. Other than that, easy and a nice way of getting real iced coffee on tap.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
15th Aug, 2011 21:52 (UTC)
I've never used a coffee press but this sounds interesting. Erm, unless it actually involves kidney beans which I admit I'm confused about.
16th Aug, 2011 12:18 (UTC)
no, I'm just all about the sideways (I'm sure there's a way to make kidney beans not be lumps of beanlike bean but I've not found it and I found this while I was looking)

you only use the coffee press as a brewing container and first pass strainer; it's not like using a coffee press to make coffee (which is just a matter of proportion and timing)

Edited at 2011-08-16 12:23 (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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