August 7th, 2015

Iced Coffee: Chill Out While You Rev Up

Yeah. I’m that guy.iced_coffee - 20

I’m an all-season hot coffee man. Spring, summer, winter, fall … no matter the season, you can find a cup of Joe in my hand. On chilly days it warms me up. During the summer when the mercury is blasting through the top of the thermometer? You guessed it. My theory is that hot drinks help your body adapt to hot weather, which may not be so crazy after all.

But, my coffee love doesn’t really stop there. Coffee ice cream? Yep. Coffee mixed in when my wife whips up pot de crème? Heck yeah! (Check here for Chef Lee Vance’s version. She doesn’t add coffee, but you could give it a try! )

All that being said, it’s a little weird that I’m not a fan of … iced coffee.

I’m not sure why, but it just hasn’t translated to my palate. Part of it may be my affinity for drinking coffee black (unless it’s an Irish coffee).  On top of that, a big part of my coffee experience is enjoying it hot. Inexplicably, it seems the molten “muddy” coffee hasn’t made for an enjoyable translation to an iced beverage for me.

So with that mystery in mind and looking for ways to chill out during the summer, I thought I’d try to overcome my frosted reservations by brewing up my own ice coffee.

The Quickie:iced_coffee - 5

7 tablespoons dark roast coffee (I prefer to grind the beans)
5 cups boiled water
1 splash milk
2 teaspoons sugar

People are going to tell you it takes hours to brew good iced coffee, but I’m here to tell you I don’t believe that’s true.

The concern with simply pouring hot coffee over ice is that it dilutes the coffee. While this certainly can be true, I counter this concern in 2 ways. First, I make hella strong coffee. I grind about 7 tablespoons of dark roast beans and let it brew in the French press several minutes longer than normal. Second, I make iced coffee into dessert coffee. That is to say, I add cream and sugar.

For all intents and purposes, make yourself a hot batch of coffee in your French press (or brewing vessel of choice). Fill a glass with ice, then slowly pour the coffee over the ice. I’m particularly cautious here to not just dump it in. Hot coffee + ice + glass … I just have visions of bad things happening. But if you take your time and pour it over the ice it chills the coffee and doesn’t blow the glass to smithereens.

Now, add cream and sugar to your taste. Or not. Your coffee, your call.

Voila! Semi-instantaneous iced coffee. Sip and enjoy.

The Long Haul:

iced_coffee - 214 tablespoons dark roast coffee (or to taste)
10 cups cold filtered water

I’ve never cold-brewed coffee before, so I leaned on some tips from to help me figure things out.

Of course, if needed, grind your coffee. Place it in a large container and mix it with cold, filtered water. Stick it in the fridge and let it brew for about 8 to 12 hours (depending on your brew strength preferences).

Now comes the fun part:

The link I referenced suggests using a fine strainer and cheesecloth to strain the grounds from your brew, pouring through this filter and into a new container. I, having access to neither at the time, used a small strainer and a coffee filter. It wasn’t fun. But be smarter than me and use the strainer and cheesecloth.

Purists swear by this coffee. For me, the labor wasn’t worth the outcome. Again, I added cream and sugar. Frankly, it didn’t taste any different than my Quickie version. I think the biggest plus to this method is that you can brew a higher volume. I’m definitely willing to take another stab at this and try using the strainer and cheesecloth to see if it’s a less annoying experience.

All in all, the coffee was good. But I’m still going right to that steamy cup of Joe to keep me chilled out when things heat up.

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Posted in Dear Diary
2 comments on “Iced Coffee: Chill Out While You Rev Up
  1. Elena says:

    I think the hot coffee preference could be a family trait—relaxing with with a good hot cup of coffee—yes.
    If you’re an iced coffee lover, I would certainly give this brewing method a try.