I worked at Espresso NEAT the first year out of college. I expected an experience with good company and fantastic food. What I found was a deep passion for well-made coffee and an even deeper passion for working in a store. A dream that developed in childhood took hold with much more force. Plans of my own shop not only took form, but found deep encouragement from the passion of my coworkers, like Leyla of Lorca, and their ability to open up shop at a young age.
Among the other things in my life that I have been putting back in order (filmmaking, blogging), I have begun brewing coffee at home. My lovely mother bought me some of the necessary tools as a Christmas present, and with my very own scale, coffee grinder, and kettle, my boyfriend and I have been brewing coffee fresh in the mornings. Or evenings. But the more I brew coffee hot, the more I have craved a thick, delicious, cold brew iced coffee.
One of my absolute favorite drinks from NEAT is a well crafted, chocolately, rich number called the Not-so-Neat, a gem of a coldbrew mixed with thick whole milk.
Having left NEAT for a couple of years now, I had completely forgotten the memorized ratios I would need to brew coffee cold. Fortunately, my good friends at Lorca were quick to remind me, and within a couple of days I was brewing fresh cold brew overnight.
Cold coffee is much simpler to brew than hot coffee. All it takes is a large glass container (or plastic if that’s what you prefer) and freshly roasted coffee beans. Cold brew tastes best when the beans are ground coarsely and brewed over a long period of time. If you think about the way espresso, hot coffee, and cold coffee are brewed, this makes perfect sense. Espresso is ground very finely and brewed quickly, over immense pressure. Hot coffee is ground at a medium level and brewed hot over a couple of minutes. Cold coffee, which water does not extract taste from nearly as quickly, is ground coarsely over a long period of time.
If you have your own coffee grinder at home, make sure to brew your beans fresh, as their taste immediately begins to lessen once they are ground, and as coarsely as possible. Unfortunately, this is a science that is difficult to master at home, and it may take some fiddling before you figure out the perfect level to grind your beans. If you do not have your own coffee grinder, visit your local store, purchase a bag, and have them grind the beans for you.
While this method works very well with a Toddy, which makes drainage a snap, you do not need to purchase anything beyond your beans to make this work. You can simply combine your coffee with cold water in a glass or plastic pitcher and drain the water from the beans with a fine meshed strainer.
Perfect Cold Brew Iced Coffee
12 ounces of coffee
7 cups of cold water
Since cold brew is like espresso, it tastes best to most when it is “watered down,” make sure to add water or milk (or almond, or soy, which do best with some agave or sugar since they are not as sweet as whole milk) when serving. If you are a latte drinker, I would recommend a ratio of 1:3 coffee to water. If you prefer a cappuccino or a cortado, I would recommend a 1:2 ratio of coffee to milk. However, these things are best left up to taste and certainly do not need to measured, so play around with it.
- Grind twelve ounces of coffee very coarsely. You can do this either at home with your own grinder or you can request your local store to grind the coffee coarsely, for cold brew, for you.
- Add the following to your Toddy or to a large glass or plastic pitcher: 1 cup water, 6 ounces coffee, 3 cups water, and then an additional 6 ounces coffee.
- Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes and then add an additional 3 cups of water.
- Place mixture into your fridge and let brew for 12 hours.
- Remove from fridge and drain water from coffee grinds with a fine meshed strainer.
To serve, combine cold brew with water or milk to taste.