Making Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate in a French Press (Cafetiere)

Making Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate in a French Press (Cafetiere)

“This easy recipe is for anyone trying to ditch an expensive coffee chain iced coffee habit. I can’t promise you free wi-fi and a comfy seat, but I can promise a beautiful taste and pennies in your pocket.”

My mother is no longer here but I always think of her when I drink iced coffee. A bit of a long-standing family joke, really. And as I am fairly getting through the iced coffee these days she is on my mind a lot. It makes me have a wee giggle inside. A nice memory.

Pretty much every morning growing up she would put on her General Electric drip coffee machine, drink a mug or two, then leave the pot sitting on its little hot plate throughout the morning – coffee strengthening to a bitter crescendo as the hours passed.

At some point in the morning, and no matter where she was in the house, my mother would invariably hear one of us rattling around in the kitchen. This would swiftly be responded to with a rather bossy shout of, “Don’t throw that out. I’m going to make iced coffee.” A reflexive response. Like I might fuss, “you’ll have someone’s eye out with that” even if what is being thrown was a towel, into a laundry basket.

I was probably the worst for wanting to chuck the dreggy liquid down the sink, but obediently I would transfer the bitter brew to a mug – a nasty layer of coffee oil already slicking the surface – and pop it into the fridge.

We always did as we were asked but never saw an iced coffee emerge from the kitchen. Iced tea, yes. Quarts per day. But never iced coffee. I don’t know if she made any when we weren’t around, but I am pretty sure I never saw her kick back on a hot afternoon (which they always are in Florida) with a frosty glass of iced coffee. And having actually tried to make iced coffee from cooled down, hot-brewed coffee I can understand why. It’s pretty crap. Too acidic and just plain wrong. Maybe my mother knew this all along. Her little joke on me.

Q: So, how do you make decent iced coffee?

A: Get some good quality coffee beans and follow this easy method. It is fool-proof.

You will see that we are making this a lot stronger than normal coffee. That’s because it isn’t normal coffee, it is a concentrate. When you cold-brew you lose a little of the flavour in the top and bottom notes so therefore you want to make it quite strong. But what you may lose in flavour (which you make up for by making as a concentrate) you gain in a sweeter, more mellow taste, and much better storing. This is because you haven’t aggravated the natural oils as with a hot brew, so you are keeping the acidity lower (by as much as 67%). And, in the absence of heat, the tongue gets to appreciate the caramel, chocolate and even slightly smoky notes that might be disguised while trying to avoid being scalded. That’s also why good beans are a must: you don’t want to be tasting any stale, musty notes after having waited patiently for 12 hours, now do you?

Result: Sweet, all-day sipping.

There is another method that I wish to give a go: Japanese cold brewed, aka “flash brewed.” It is supposed to keep the acidity (where proper aficionados say all the flavour resides). But today I am thinking of the havoc it might wreak on the weak of stomach (lining). Those who like their coffee black may prefer the flash method, but anyone who likes a wee tot of something in their morning or afternoon cup of joe should love this make-ahead-and-use-all-week method. A batch keeps for a week to 10 days.

What iced drinks are you enjoying this summer? If you are from the Southern Hemisphere, what iced drinks are you looking forward to drinking? And, do you have any cooking/drinking rituals or quirks in your house?

Making Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate in a French Press (Cafetiere)Servings: 3-6 (depends on dilution)

Time: 10 minutes preparation/finishing and 12 hours brewing

Difficulty: easy

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This easy recipe is for anyone trying to ditch an expensive coffee chain iced coffee habit. I can’t promise you free wi-fi and a comfy seat, but I can promise a beautiful taste and pennies in your pocket.

You will need:

Ingredients

  • 75g (1 cup) whole roasted coffee beans (or 75g/ 2.65 ounces coarse grind beans)
  • 750ml (3 cups) water
Read the whole recipe on food to glow