cold-brew iced coffee

So much of the Internet is already taken up with dudes nerding out about coffee, so I don’t really feel the need to add to the Greater Body Of Work. But if you need proof of my coffee geek cred, consider that I have a whole shelf devoted to coffee supplies. Currently, I’ve got:

— a French Press
— an Aeropress
— a Vietnamese iced coffee dripper thingy
— a Hario V-60 pourover device (thanks, Sarah)
— various pitchers, carafes, mugs, and other coffee service accouterments
— and, oh yeah, 8 pounds of green (unroasted) coffee beans and two popcorn poppers in which I roast my own coffee (this is a post for another day)

I would LOVE to add a Technivorm to this collection, along with a Chemex and one of those awesome Hario pourover kettles. But really, one of my favorite coffee brewing methods is also by far the simplest: the cold-brew method.

Cold-brew coffee is great for iced coffee, and is the same method that the Toddy system is based on. Basically, we’re going to take a ton of coffee, saturate it with a relatively small amount of water, let it sit overnight, and then strain it out. You’re left with a coffee concentrate, to which you can add water or milk to make a delicious iced coffee.

This method is incredibly forgiving, and is a great way to use less-than-perfect coffee beans. It’s a great way to prepare chicory coffee, to make a New Orleans-style or Vietnamese-style iced coffee. It’s also an excellent method for casual summer entertaining as the concentrate lasts for up to a week. I like to make a big batch of cold brew concentrate and pack it up in a SLOM for easy, refreshing, summertime caffeination.

Cold-brew iced coffee concentrate

Cold-Brew Iced Coffee

makes about 32 ounces coffee concentrate, enough for at least 8-10 tall glasses of prepared iced coffee


8 ounces of medium-ground coffee
36 ounces cold water (1 quart plus 1/2 cup), filtered if you have crappy tap water


Dump the coffee into a coverable container that can hold about 1 1/2 quarts of liquid. If you have a big 1/2 gallon jar, that will work great, but anything works here (more often than not I just use a small saucepan). Add the water and mix well; you should have a thick, oily sludge. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and leave out on the counter for 12 hours, or refrigerate for 24 hours.

After the mix is done steeping, strain it through a strainer and a piece of cheesecloth (or do what I do and strain through one of these reusable produce bags, which are terrible for produce but great for reusable “cheesecloth”). Decant into a bottle and store in the fridge.

When you’re ready to serve, mix 1 part coffee with 2 parts water or milk and serve over ice. Enjoy!


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