With the Summer temperatures still blasting the US, keeping cool is of the utmost importance. Hydrating yourself will go a long way to accomplishing that task. Water, sports drinks, juices, and even coffee and tea are great ways to keep your fluids up. With the heat index climbing, you might prefer to stay away from hot coffee. Substitute cold brew instead. And for even more flavor, try an infused cold brew coffee or iced tea!
We’ve talked about how to make cold brew here. But here’s a refresher.
Tools and Ingredients:
Ground coffee – choose a single-origin, organic, or blend (NO flavored coffees!!)
A container for the water/coffee ground mixture
Somewhere cool/cold for the container (preferably the refrigerator, but a cool countertop will do)
A filtering mechanism
You can literally use any kind of coffee you prefer except flavored coffee. (We suggest using a mild coffee like our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe). The oils used to flavor the coffee are not conducive to this process. There is no need to use the most expensive coffee, though you can if you wish. Cold brewing is ideal for coffee that you might have had hanging around for a while. When grinding your beans, don’t go to fine. A coarse grind, say for drip or French press, would be best. Too fine (no espresso grinds, please!) and you might get a bitter extraction, plus you’ll likely have coffee grounds in your final product.
Use a ratio of 1:1 when making your cold brew coffee. For example, one pound of coffee to one gallon of water (which is a LOT of coffee!). Most homebrewers will do fine with 1/4 cup of coffee to 4 cups (a quart) of water. Room temperature water is what is typically used, but if you need to speed up the process, you can certainly heat up the water. This may even highlight some flavors you wouldn’t normally find with just tepid water.
Simply put your coffee grounds in the bottom of your container. A Mason or Ball jar would work just fine. Anything with a tight fitting lid. Add your water. Give the mix a little stir and place it in the fridge (or your cool counter spot). Leave your coffee to “brew” for 12 to 24 hours. You can experiment with shorter times to see what works for your taste. Generally, the longer you leave the coffee, the more flavor that’s extracted.
Much like infusing a spirit, you can infuse your coffee while it’s brewing. Here are a couple of ways you can impart extra flavors in your cold brew coffee.
This savory herb lends a brightness that will pleasantly surprise you. Using fresh basil, tear about a cup of leaves into strips and mix them with the coffee and water prior to putting your container in the refrigerator. Strain the leaves when you strain out the coffee grounds.
For a slightly spicy brew, add a couple of cinnamon sticks at the beginning of the brewing process. Take two cinnamon sticks and break them in half. Add them to the container with the coffee grounds and water. Strain them out when you remove the coffee grounds.
Like the basil and cinnamon-infused coffees, you can make one that is orange infused. This citrusy coffee will really help with waking up in the morning! Add the peel of one orange to the container when you add the water and coffee. Make sure you use just the peel and not the white pith (that will just make it super bitter tasting).
You had to know this one was coming. Vanilla is a classic flavor that just about everyone loves. To infuse your cold brew with vanilla, simply add a half of a vanilla bean that has been split lengthwise. Leave the vanilla bean for the duration of the brewing process.
If you want to experiment with a few things you already have in the spice cabinet, have at it! Use one to two teaspoons of ground spices like cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and ginger. Go hotter with black pepper or cayenne. Make a masala mix and add that to your cold brew for a fabulous fall concoction.
I did mention tea as well. You can use these same herbs and spices in your tea as well. Whether you choose to brew your tea with the help of the sun or if you go with the cold brew method, just add in your flavorings when you start the steeping process.
What are your favorite flavors when making your cold brew? Have you tried this before or will you be trying it for the first time?