If you’re like me, you like your coffee-making to be inefficient and time-consuming with not a single of thought of convenience. For almost all of my coffee addictions, I swear by the french press. I grind my beans for the morning pot, boil my water, stir the grounds in and wait the allotted time until it’s done steeping. Start to finish usually runs around 20 minutes. But, as the mornings gradually slip out of their grey winter gear and change into the greens and blues of spring and summer, I find myself wanting to drink hot coffee less and less. I want it iced. I want it cool. I want it refreshing. Most importantly, I don’t want to spend two dollars and fifty cents at the corner coffee shop every time I want one. But, how to make my morning coffee cold? How about Cold Press coffee?
Cold press coffee is the method of making coffee that is basically no method. Zen coffee. Cold press was out there practicing flawless No Mind while you were still taking Freshman Intro to Eastern Philosophy and having your mind blown by Fellini films. Simply put, you take the grinds and you put them in the water. Wait twelve hours. The coffee is done. Barring the use of the refrigerator and the grinder, you can actually make this coffee with zero electricity. (TOTALLY OFF THE GRID) While I do find that interesting, it’s not really the reason why I’ve been making it this way. The real reason is the lower acidity that cold brewing achieves. It’s the simplest, smoothest cup of iced coffee that you’ll ever drink. Add the concentrate to hot water and you’ll find you have a smooth cup of hot coffee and you don’t have to be a snob to make it.
The first time I tried this method, it didn’t work out too well for me. It wasn’t nearly as concentrated as I thought it would be and my coffee ended up watery. It wasn’t until my fourth try that I really got it right. So, be patient and don’t be intimidated.
1. Grind your coffee for a medium coarseness. Somewhere between drip and french press. I usually grind a bit finer as I like the stronger flavor it produces.
2. Get yourself a jar. I’ve been re-using a 28 ounce spaghetti sauce jar. Any jar will do, but try to find a slightly larger one.
3. Put your grinds into the empty jar. As I’ve been using a jar that holds three cups of water, I mix in around ⅔ of a cup of coffee grinds. Again, this will be something you’ll have to test out.
4. Add the cold water. Now, I’ve read that you aren’t supposed to stir it at all. You add some water. Wait five minutes. Add more water and so on. I think that’s dumb. Fill up your jar with water half way, close the lid and shake it. That way, you’re getting the water in contact with all of the grinds. Open it back up and finsh filling it. At this point, you’ll notice that all of the grinds will be floating at the surface. Over the course of the next twelve hours, they will settle to the bottom.
5. Either on the counter top or in your refrigerator, let your coffee steep for twelve hours. I use the refrigerator as it leaves you with a cold end product.
6. Wait. Wait. Wait for twelve hours.
7. Depending on what you have around your house, figure out the best way to strain your grinds. I was pouring it over a paper towel stretched over a pitcher, which worked, albeit slowly. But, in a strike of pure genius, I realized how dumb I was and just poured it into my french press, plunged the screen down, poured out the coffee and was done. And now that I think about it, I can use the french press for the entire process.
8. If you brewed in the refrigerator, then you don’t have to wait for your coffee to get cold. Since you’re dealing with a coffee concentrate, you need to dilute it a little to get the flavor correct. Try using ⅓ coffee to ⅓ ice to ⅓ water. If you need it to be stronger, just add a little more coffee. I also add a little creamer (soy milk, actual creamer, almond milk and sometimes skim if I’m desperate enough) and a pinch of sugar. Stir vigorously and serve.