Perfect Iced Coffee


Perfect Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is my life. When I wake up, often around the time party animals on the west coast are just heading home, I start each day not with a cup of freshly brewed hot java, but with a tall, blessed glass of creamy iced coffee in a glass. I’ve been an iced coffee freakazoid for years and years. To say I couldn’t live without it is an understatement. It gives me the tools I need to cope.

Iced coffee is a complicated thing, and there are many different approaches. One would think that one could merely pour brewed coffee into a glass full of ice and call it a day…but I find that method extremely flawed. First, no matter how packed with ice the glass is, once the hot coffee hits, some of the ice is bound to melt. This has two disastrous results:

1. The overall strength of the coffee flavor is diluted.
2. The iced coffee isn’t as cold as it could (or should) be. The finished glass of iced coffee should be frigid, not sorta cold with half-melted ice cubes floating around.

Given the previous set of facts, one would assume that the logical solution would be to brew hot coffee, then transfer the brew to the fridge, allow it to cool, and use it to make iced coffee from there. It’s an okay solution, one I subscribed to for quite awhile…until I picked up an issue of Imbibe Magazine three summers ago. It contained a huge spread on the subject of iced coffee, and suggested the following cold-brew method for creating a sort of iced coffee concentrate. I tried it immediately, have made it this way ever since, and can tell you that there is no better (or simpler) method for having the most delicious iced coffee at your fingertips.

There are reasons this method results in a smoother, richer, more delicious concentrate than simply brewing strong coffee and refrigerating it. I would take the time to explain them to you if I knew what they were. But since I don’t, I’m just going to show you instead.

(Note: I’ve totally adapted/tweaked coffee/water amounts to suit my own tastes. Experiment to find your own perfect ratio.)

I start with a big ol’ container. I love these food storage containers, by the way. I got these at restaurant supply, but Sam’s Club had them last time I was there.

You can use a big bowl, a large pitcher…even a really clean bucket will work if you’re going for a huge quantity. (Or you can halve the original quantity and use a pitcher.)

 
Open a pound of ground coffee. Any kind will do; the stronger and richer the better. Pour in the coffee. Pour in 8 quarts (2 gallons) cold water. Give it a stir to make sure all the grounds make contact with the water…
Then cover the container and go live your life as the coffee steeps for at least eight hours. (And you can go much longer if you’d like.)

When the time has passed, grab a separate container and place a fine mesh strainer over the top. Place a couple of layers of cheesecloth inside the strainer… and slowly pour the steeped coffee through the strainer.

It’ll take awhile for all the liquid to pass through. (Doesn’t this look like one of the acid pools at Yellowstone?)

Use a spoon to gently press/force the last of the liquid through. And note: I’ve tried the straining method without the cheesecloth, and stray grounds did make it through the mesh strainer. Definitely try to use cheesecloth (or even paper towels) to filter out the finer pieces.

You can store the liquid in the same container, or you can transfer it to a pitcher or other dispenser. Though it’s difficult to wait, I refrigerate this gorgeous concoction before consuming it. It’s meant to be cold!

Note: this amount of coffee concentrate lasts me a good three weeks to a month if kept tightly covered in the fridge.

Now, when you’re ready to make yourself an iced coffee, you can do two things. Start by filling a glass with ice. Reach into the fridge and dispense enough of the coffee liquid to fill the glass half full (or maybe a little more).

Splash in skim, 2%, or whole milk…or, if you’re a naughty, naughty bad girl like me: half-and-half.

Make that naughty, naughty, naughty, bad, bad girl.

Add enough sugar to achieve the level of sweetness you like, or you can drizzle in vanilla or hazelnut syrup if you have those kinds of things lying around.
Stir it all up… Stick in a straw… and go fer it. Look at that miracle. The ice is all there. The flavor’s all there.

I’m all there.
             
VARIATION: VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE

And now for something entirely different. Same…but different.

This is a variation on classic Vietnamese Iced Coffee (also recommended by Imbibe), which actually does begin with a hot brew…but I’m using the cold stuff.

Fill the glass with ice and coffee concentrate as we did before, then crack open a can of sweetened condensed milk. A glorious substance. One you should get to know better if you don’t already. Drizzle in at least 2 tablespoons for a big glass (I wound up adding three.)

Come…to…MAMA.

On top of this, add a small splash of milk or half-and-half.
(I recommend the latter, of course.)
Glorious. Stir, take a small sip, and add a little more sweetened condensed milk if needed.

I’ve tried all combinations of milk, half-and-half, sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavored syrups, and sweetened condensed milk, and I will tell you that there is no more winning combo than the half-and-half/sweetened condensed milk mixture. It is out-of-this-world creamy and wonderful, and is worth at least a spot in your weekend rotation if you’re not willing to go there daily.

Either way, try this cold-brewed method of iced coffee sometime soon. The flavor, convenience (and cost savings) can not be underestimated.

Love,
Pioneer Woman

Recipe for Perfect Iced Coffee

INGREDIENTS

1 pound Ground Coffee (good, Rich Roast)
8 quarts Cold Water
Half-and-half (healthy Splash Per Serving)
Sweetened Condensed Milk (2-3 Tablespoons Per Serving)
Note: Can Use Skim Milk, 2%% Milk, Whole Milk, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrups...adapt To Your Liking!

INSTRUCTIONS
(Adapted from Imbibe Magazine)

In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight. 

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds. 

Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed. 

To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed. 

Ice Coffee and More


 
Leftover coffee too precious to be thrown down the drain.

Ever end up brewing a little more than you end up drinking, and since you're the only one in the house who drinks it, you have to figure out something to do with the leftovers?

Coffee Ice Cubes – Pour that leftover coffee into some ice trays and store in the freezer. Then bust those ice cubes out any time you need to add some cool coffee flavor. Make your favorite smoothie or shake, add some cinnamon, cocoa powder, and some of those coffee ice cubes for a cool, energizing, mocha-flavored treat!

Roast it – Yes, I bet you knew coffee was roasted. But I BET you didn’t know that you can add leftover coffee to your pot roast to make the gravy/broth richer and more flavorful! I learned this from watching a TV chef several years ago, and it’s a great way not to have to waste leftover coffee.

Add to baked goods -  instead of water or milk. Why not? I would love some coffee flavored muffins to go with my coffee flavored coffee – and don’t forget the bacon. (But leave that one alone, it has its own great flavor).

Coffee Gummies

  • 1 cup hot fresh brewed coffee
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsps gelatin

    Sweeten to taste with honey or maple syrup

    Blend all in your blender until mixed well and frothy. Pour into candy molds and put in the fridge until set (time varies from 20 minutes to 2 hours). Pop out of the molds and store in a baggy or jar until you are ready to eat them. These travel very well and provide a quick energy boost along with healthy fats and protein!

 

 We are committed to sustainability

 

 Lake Superior Coffee






 

Events Around Lake Superior

Twitter