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Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee Recipe

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee Recipe

Back earlier this summer, I created a spiked iced coffee recipe here on Culicurious. In that recipe I spoke a little about the technique and process of making cold brewed iced coffee. But today, we’re really going to explore that concept in depth. Yes, I know it’s fall and past summer. But hey, I live in the South we have the joy and privilege of being able to drink iced coffee year-round. It’s one of the few perks of not actually having real winter around here.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I met my friend Kevin Pedeaux for some delicious lunch and an awesome discussion about coffee. Kevin works for Coast Roast Coffee, based in Long Beach, MS. We’ve been friends on Twitter for years, and we meet up periodically to discuss coffee and life. Kevin knows quite a bit about coffee. He’s been working for Coast Roast for several years now and does everything from sales to roasting to cupping. He’s pretty much a jack-of-all-trades in the coffee world. I was pleased to be able to pick his brain.

Coast Roast Iced Coffee Bean Blend

So the main reason Kevin and I met was to discuss iced coffee. He’d seen my recipe earlier in the summer and wanted to offer me a pound of his special iced coffee blend of beans. Being the iced coffee nut that I am, I leapt at the opportunity. I figured a custom-made iced coffee bean blend would be the perfect way to introduce the cold brew method to you all.

I’m going to back up here and explain what I mean by cold brewed. Some of you may not have ever even heard of that term. Cold brewing coffee grounds is actually just slowly steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in room temperature water. What’s left at the end of that time is a rich dark black coffee concentrate. AND a whole lot of coffee grounds – which we’ll discuss a little later on.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee Recipe

The biggest advantages to cold brewing coffee is that the resulting brew is less acidic, less bitter and contains more caffeine than if you’d hot-brewed the same beans. When heat is applied to coffee beans, it causes them to release bitter flavors and acids. This is why a cold cup of hot brewed coffee basically tastes awful. The soft and nuanced flavor essences are essentially “stripped” away by that coffee maker you use every day.

Cold brewing is ideal for iced coffee because the coffee actually never needs to be heated – you’re drinking it cold so why heat it at all? Of course you can heat up cold brew concentrate if you want, but I’ve really never done it. If I’m going to have hot coffee, I usually just brew it the old-fashioned way. Although from time to time, I’ll actually do the French press method. But honestly, I rarely ever do hot brewed coffee anymore. To say I’m an iced coffee fiend is a bit of an understatement. I’ve had to cut myself back to 1 cup a day because I was getting crazy on it.

Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate

Not many coffee companies take the time to create special cold brew bean blends. But Coast Roast isn’t your average coffee company. Kevin explained to me that he likes to use a blend of beans for his iced coffee blend because the flavors remain more consistent when you’ve got a larger variety of bean flavors to start with. Not surprisingly, the taste of a particular type of coffee bean can vary a bit. It’s a plant item grown in nature so variations are bound to happen. But Kevin finds that if he uses a blend of several coffee beans, the variances are less noticeable. Each specific bean contributes less overall to the flavor profile than it would if you were only using 1 or 2 bean types.

Something else to be aware of is that when you’re cold brewing coffee you want to use a very coarsely ground coffee bean. This means that you need to buy either a coffee that was specially ground coarsely (not typical). Or you can buy whole beans and either have them ground where you bought them OR you can invest in a grinder and do it yourself. Either way is fine. I always buy whole beans and grind them myself, whether I am brewing hot or cold coffee. Whole beans taste fresher and can often times be of better quality than pre-ground coffee. Also, select a bean with a lighter roast  – it has better overall flavor.

Coarsely ground coffee beans for cold brewed iced coffee

So now that you’ve got your coarsely ground coffee beans, you might be wondering how exactly you go about cold brewing them. To me the easiest way is to bite the bullet and purchase a cold brew system. These run between $30-$40 on the cheap end and make cold brewing coffee amazingly easy. If you don’t want to shell out the cash, you can do it manually with a bowl and a coffee filter and some type of jar or bottle, but to me it is a pain and takes more time and can be very messy. If you’re serious about doing home cold brew, invest in the proper equipment. It makes all the difference.

Below is the cold brew system I have at home. It’s made by a company called Toddy and consists of the glass carafe you see below on the left and the steeping bucket you see on the right. What you don’t see is the key to it all – a small fine-mesh quarter-inch thick filter inside the steeping bucket that makes this process both easy and neat. The water and coffee are combined in the steeping bucket and are allowed to sit for 12 hours. You don’t really do a lot of stirring in this process because you don’t want to clog the filter. As long as all the beans are wet and submerged, you are fine.

Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker System

Below is what is looks like once you have the coffee and the water combined.  You can’t really see it but the steeping bucket is securely placed on top of the glass carafe. It’s smart to set it up like that from the beginning so you’re not having to really mess with the whole thing once the water and coffee is in it. The coffee/water mixture kind of looks like a wet slushy, sludge. And it just sits there and steeps quietly. No need to do anything.

Steeped coffee grounds for cold-brewed coffee

After 12 hours, you simply remove the small cork at the bottom of the steeping bucket and the coffee concentrate drips into the glass carafe. If you’re doing a whole pound of coffee, the concentrate will nearly fill up the carafe. Also, while the beans/water steeping set up doesn’t have to be refrigerated, you need to refrigerate the concentrate once it’s strained. Oh and back to the coffee grinds – they can be kind of a mess even with a cold brew system so just be careful with it. A pound of coffee grounds is no joke.

Key Ingredients for Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee Recipe

Once you have the iced coffee concentrate, you can make all kinds of coffee drinks with it. Below I’ve shared a recipe for a standard iced coffee. This is my personal preference for it, and of course yours might vary depending on your tastes. But start here and see where it takes you. It’s just like with regular coffee, you have to try a few things to figure out what your optimal mix is.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee Recipe

Have you ever tried cold brewed coffee? Have you made it at home using a process similar to this? What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear how you do iced coffee at home.

Yield: 1 coffee + lots of extra concentrate

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee Recipe

This iced coffee recipe employs the cold brew method for steeping beans. This provides a delicious, less acidic coffee concentrate.

Ingredients:

  • Tall glass filled with ice
  • 2 fluid ounces cold-brewed coffee concentrate
  • 2 fluid onces whole milk
  • 1 fluid ounce water
  • Optional: sweetener, to taste

Method:

  1. Start out by preparing the iced coffee concentrate according to the directions from your cold brew system.
    1. If you're not using a cold brew system, you can coarse grind a half pound of beans and combine that with 4 1/2 cups of water in a metal mixing bowl. Mix well to ensure no dry spots. Allow it to sit for 12 hours to steep. Strain with a coffee filter inside a funnel over a large jar or bottle. It may take a while because the coffee filter drains slowly. A cold brew system is advantageous because it does the straining/draining work for you neatly and cleanly.
  2. After you have the cold brew concentrate, add all the ingredients to the glass filled with ice. Stir gently and consume immediately.
  3. For optimal quality and taste, keep the cold brewed coffee concentrate in a sealed container. Use within one week. While it will still be usable after a week. the flavor and taste will start to decline as the time passes.

Prep:12 hour

Total:12 hour 5 min

Print Recipe

Disclaimer: Kevin from Coast Roast provided me with a pound of coffee beans and bought me lunch. This post was not required in return. All opinions expressed here are sincere and my own. This post contains this affiliate link.

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