Coffee is an absolute must for me every day. And it’s definitely not unusual for me to have 3 or 4 cups a day. My preferred method of making coffee, especially during summer, is the cold brew method. My favorite thing about it is that I just take a little bit of time one day to make enough coffee for the entire week. I make a gallon of cold brew about once every 5 days or so. A typical 12oz cold brew runs me about $4 at my local shops, so that’s $44 (+tax and tip) for a gallon of cold brew per week. If I make it at home I can get a $16 1lb bag of coffee and make 2 gallons with it! So I am saving a TON by doing it at home.
Great coffee is SERIOUSLY all about the beans. I have used shitty beans to make cold brew, drip, Aeropress, whatever, and it’s always tasted like shit. But they still will work if that is all you have. I have used good beans to make coffee in all the ways.. even in a 70s drip coffee maker and it has been great! I know a lot of you don’t have access to FRESH (most important!) quality beans, which can be a problem. There is a subscription service called Trade that I used the first several months of the pandemic, as most of the coffee shops were closed, and it was amazing! You get beans from the best roasters all over the country based on your preferences. And they are roasted and then shipped… often times the same day! And the price is the SAME (sometimes even cheaper) as it would be if you bought them in the store (from $14-$18)! It isn’t like +$7 for shipping or something. It’s free shipping, and great beans! So if you are hard-pressed to find quality beans in your area, definitely check out Trade! It’s also fun because you get beans from all different places throughout the country.
Okay, back to cold brew. I’ve pretty much honed in my process after making it for many years. I use this burr grinder, which isn’t necessary, but I love that it holds a 12oz bag of beans and it doesn’t get jammed. I was using this pitcher for a while but it started coming out too slowly for my impatience and then I noticed that the metal strainer fit perfectly into this vintage sun tea pitcher I had. So I now use that, and it makes me happier to see it’s desert glory every morning. If you have a large Ball jar laying around you can get just the strainer and it will work too. You can also use pre-ground coffee but it will not taste as good. And it won’t make your whole house smell good like it does when you grind beans.
I typically use around 2 cups of coarsely ground coffee (on my grinder it is 50 seconds at grind level 12) and fill the pitcher up to about 110 ounces (basically to the top, once the beans are in there). I leave it for at least 18 hours or so, sometimes 24, sometimes 12. As long as you leave it for at least 12 hours it should taste good, 24 is the sweet spot I think, and more than that generally makes it taste worse. Depending on how strong you like your coffee you can pour a bit of the cold brew into your cup and then add water and milk (if you use milk) or you can add about 16-24 ounces of water directly to the pitcher once you empty the beans out. That’s a much more efficient way to do it. Or don’t add any water at all and drink it dark and black like I do. That’s actually the most efficient way.
Cold Brew Coffee
- 1 Gallon Glass Pitcher
- Coffee Grinder (preferably burr)
- 1 1/2 cups quality, fresh roasted beans (if you can)
- 110 ounces cold water
- Coarsely grind 1 1/2 cups of coffee beans
- Pour into strainer
- Fill pitcher with water (about 110 ounces)
- Put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours, preferably 18-24
- Lift the strainer out of the pitcher. I like to squeeze it to get the last drips out.
- Compost (or trash) the beans
- Optional: fill container to top with water.
- Pour into a glass and drink
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