It's really true what they say about not knowing what you've got till it's gone. This isn't always a bad thing, of course. Sometimes something you think you enjoy as-is can become even better when it loses something.
Take cold-brew coffee, for example. I've always been a coffee lover, but it wasn't until I started drinking cold brew that I realized how burnt and bitter the coffee from my electric coffee maker tasted. When my coffee lost that particular layer of flavor my eyes opened to a whole new world of deliciousness.
Cold brew coffee is incredibly smooth and mellow. It has the rich flavor of coffee that I love but it's missing a certain quality that I have since come to loathe. Some might call it "toasty", but personally I have come to love my coffee tasting less acidic and less, well, overheated. The smooth flavor of cold brew also makes skipping the sugar and sweeteners a little easier.
All I need is a splash of milk to fall in love with my hot morning cup of java or my afternoon treat over ice. It's a far cry from my previous Italian syrup habit which was definitely racking up my daily sugar intake.
Oh, and did I mention that cold brew typically has about 3x the caffeine of conventionally brewed coffee? Yowza. It's a good idea to treat your cold brew as concentrate and to dilute it accordingly but the truth is that I indulge in the occasional full-power cup.
It makes me feel alive.
So, if you have never tried cold brew coffee I would highly recommend checking it out. It's been my "new" favorite thing for a couple of years now. The only big drawback is that a cold brew habit can get a little expensive - that is if you buy your concentrate online or at the grocery store.
Luckily, making your own cold brew at home is really easy - like stupid easy.
The best part? Cold brew makes coffee taste so good that you can even use the cheapest, most generic, store-brandiest coffee and STILL have it taste good. Thrifty people rejoice!
All you need to get going is a quart-sized mason jar with a re-usable lid and something called a nut milk bag. This same method will work just fine with cheesecloth or another type of strainer - just make sure the mesh is very, very fine or you will wind up with cloudy (possibly even gritty) coffee. I've actually used this kind of metal mesh strainer with great results.
Tip: If you are grinding your own beans go with a coarse grind to help make the cold brew even easier to strain.
I hope you give this recipe a try! Trust me when I tell you that you won't miss the expense of fancy store-bought cold brew OR the burnt acidic flavor from your electric coffeemaker once those things are gone. For once, parting won't be such sweet sorrow.
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Makes almost 1 quart
- 1/2 cup ground coffee (or 3/4 cup beans)
- 1 quart water
- Fill a nut milk bag with ground coffee and tuck it inside of a quart-sized mason jar. Fold the top edges over the rim of the bottle so that they remain dry.
- Add water to the jar until it is completely saturating the ground coffee and filling the jar.
- Screw a re-usable cap onto the jar - right over the edges of the nut milk bag. You should be able to see the very edges of the bag peeking out from beneath the tightened cap.
- Place the jar in your refrigerator for about 48 hours.
- Strain the coffee from the jar by pulling out the nut milk bag and squeezing the contents gently.*
- When you are ready to enjoy your concentrated cold brew make sure and dilute at a 1:3 ratio. That means 2/3 cup water for every 1/3 cup of cold brew. The remaining concentrate should last for at least one week in the refrigerator.
*Alternatively, you could add the grounds directly to the water (sans bag) and then strain the whole jar through the bag after the grounds have finished soaking. It doesn't really make much difference which order you do this in. It's a personal preference thing and if you try it both ways you will quickly discover which method you find less messy or troublesome.