Recipe: Cold Brew Coffee Made Easy (AKA The Best Iced Coffee You'll Make at Home)

I'm not a coffee snob nor do I claim to be an expert but I can tell the difference between a good and bad cup of coffee.

Going about in coffee-obsessed Korea, one can almost look in any direction and find coffee or something coffee related but in this summer heat, finding a cup of good of iced coffee is harder than you think and this has a lot to do with the commonly used practice of making iced coffee.

I think anything loosely related to the term "cooking" (as in, making/preparing some sort of food/drink) we tend to equate "heat" with flavor and taste- searing a steak, baking a cake, boiling water and tea leaves, etc. While brewing, pressing, heating, etc has its place in extracting the complex flavors of coffee beans, high temperatures also brings out coffee's acidity and bitterness. This becomes all the more evident when piping hot coffee is unceremoniously dumped over ice, resulting in a watered down yet bitter and acidic iced coffee drink. And if you're out and about... you're paying some 2-4 dollars a day for that ish!

I began hearing about this "cold brew" coffee long ago and feeling curious and inspired, experimented with my first batch last week. And hallelujah, for upon my first sip, I became a convert.

Initially what you'll notice on your first taste is the smooth and subtle sweetness of the coffee. There's absolutely no acidic or bitter tastes and rather a low, underlying and oh-so-subtle "sweet" taste that lingers as the full flavors expands. Then the subtle notes follows of dark chocolatey, dark caramel-y, slightly smoky goodness. And it goes down just beautifully, especially when you're parched, drained and baked from the summer day.

What I love even more is the fact that it's so easy to prepare and make and you can make it in big batches so you can enjoy to your heart's content for a week (though you may have to stop yourself from getting second and third cups). A lot of instructions utilizes fancy and expensive presses and other contraptions but this is my easy version to make your cold brew coffee concentrate.

What you end up is a concentrate of coffee goodness that you can mix with milk or water, over ice and just enjoy the moment.

So give it a go and prepare to be hooked!

Cold Brew Coffee
Makes about 6 cups of coffee

You'll need:
- 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee beans (a light to medium roast is best)
- A big pitcher (I used a 2 liter-sized lemonade pitcher)
- 4 1/2 cups of filtered, cold water
- 2 coffee filters OR some sort of fine mesh strainer or sieve (more on that below)
- Ice

1. Take your (freshly) ground coffee and pour it into the pitcher.

Pour your grounds into your pitcher

2. Slowly add the filtered water and then use a spatula, spoon or any long utensil to give it a stir. This will help ensure all the ground coffee is thoroughly mixed with the water.

Pour in your filtered water

Give it a stir

3. Cover the pitcher and set aside in room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours. It's not a bad idea to do this steeping part at night while you sleep.

4. After 12 hours it's time to strain out the coffee grounds. Uncap your pitcher and get your filter ready over another clean pitcher. Slowly pour out the coffee concentrate through the filter until you've poured all the liquid through.

After 12 hours, strain your coffee concentrate twice

Note on the sieve: I have this individual sized two-part coffee filter thing from Starbucks I got from a friend long ago. The bottom part has a fine mesh sieve which works perfectly for this straining part. If you don't have any sieve like this one, use a coffee filter or cheese cloth.

The sieve on the right is what I used to filter out the coffee grounds

Very inexpensive from Starbucks and useful for making single serving filter coffee too

5. Dispose and wash out the remaining coffee grounds in your original pitcher as well as the coffee grounds that were filtered out through your sieve. Place your sieve back on top over the original pitcher and strain out the coffee concentrate one last time. If you're using a coffee filter, I recommend using a new filter for this second straining. 

6. Voila! Now you have a big pitcher of cold brew coffee concentrate. If you're not going to enjoy right away, store it in your fridge up to a week or two. 

When serving, fill a tall glass with ice and then pour equal parts of the coffee concentrate and equal parts, milk, half and half or filtered water depending on your preference. Add syrup or sweetener if you choose (if you add a tiny pinch of salt, it helps accentuate the flavor!) and then give it a mix. Now take your first sip and be blown away. Cooled, but blown away.

No bitterness, no acidity, just pure ice-cold coffee decadence.

Your move, summer heat.