There is nothing like a glass of ice cold, smooth coffee when the weather is warm. It is my absolute favorite drink, lightly sweetened, with some cream. If you are a fan of iced coffee, you may wonder why it never tastes as good at home as it does in your favorite coffee shop (or why it tastes good at some coffee shops and not others). Just pouring hot coffee over ice can make an iced coffee that is watery and bitter.
I learned while working at a coffee shop years ago, there is a much better way to make iced coffee! Allowing the coffee to brew at room temperature for a longer period of time creates a richer, smoother iced coffee that is not watered down at all! This is exactly what is meant by “cold brew,” which has become a popular buzzword lately, and many places charge a lot of money for it. It is actually ridiculously easy to make your own cold brew coffee. Just follow these steps:
1. Start with 1/2 lb of fresh whole arabica coffee beans (or about 3.25 cups of whole beans). I recommend a medium to dark roast that is smooth, not tart or acidic. If you want to make a smaller batch, you can use 1/4 lb. of beans (and 1/2 gallon of water in step 3).
2. Grind beans for a french press (or have them ground where you bought them).
3. Place one gallon of cold, filtered water in a pitcher or jar that will hold at least 1.25 gallons (or use 1/2 gallon of water if making a smaller batch with 1/4 lb. coffee beans).
4. Add the ground coffee beans to the jar, on top of the water. Stir gently until all of the ground coffee is wet. It is okay if the coffee is still mostly on top of the water.
5. Let it “brew” for 12-24 hours. Just cover and let it sit overnight and do it’s thing!
6. Strain it through a fine metal coffee filter like this one. You can scoop any coffee that has risen to the top off with a spoon first to make things go a little quicker. Then pour the rest through the filter, into another container. The easiest way I have found is to put the filter inside a size 4 ceramic pour over like this, which is also my favorite tool for making hot coffee.
That’s it! Pour your delicious cold brew coffee over ice, add cream, flavor syrup, and/or sweetener, and enjoy! I usually add a bit of half and half and stevia/erithrytol blend for a sweet treat.
Follow these steps, and you should end up with a pitcher of iced coffee that is smooth and delicious. Check out our natural flavor syrup recipes here for flavored iced coffee.
Let me know what you think!
P.S. Here’s the recipe format for those who like to print or read all in one place:
Cold Brew Iced Coffee
If you are a fan of iced coffee, you may wonder why it never tastes as good at home. Learn how to make your own cold brew coffee here, using the cold brew method. (Don't worry, it's super easy)!
- 1/2 lb whole Arabica coffee beans about 3.25 cups
- 1 gallon water filtered, if possible
- 2 glass (or plastic) jars or containers 1.25 gallon capacity
- 1 metal mesh coffee filter
- 1 ceramic pourover coffee dripper optional
Grind beans for a french press.
Place water in a pitcher or jar that will hold at least 1.25 gallons.
Add the ground coffee beans to the jar, on top of the water. Stir gently until all of the ground coffee is wet. It is okay if the coffee is still mostly on top of the water.
Let it "brew" for 12-24 hours. Just cover and let it sit overnight and do it's thing!
Scoop out and discard any coffee that has risen to the top off with a spoon. Then pour the rest through metal filter, into second container.
Serve over ice, add cream, flavor syrup, and/or sweetener, and enjoy!
You can also cut this recipe in half: use 1/4 lb of coffee beans with 1/2 gallon of water.