Cold-Brewed Coffee Made Simple

by Julia Robarts on August 22, 2015

in Beverages, coffee

The coffeemaker broke about a month ago. Considering my recent tumble into a love affair with coffee on ice, this was a potentially devastating event. Discovering cold-brewed coffee saved me. Without it, in fact, I would not have survived to tell this tale.

Overly dramatic? Of course. But consider this: I love iced coffee with the same intensity and passion that my teenage self loved Ralph Macchio.

Yes, Daniel-san. That much.
Simple Cold-Brewed Coffee for Summer -- Juggling with Julia

My Love Affair with Coffee

I can’t help it. It’s not just the intoxicating smell of roasted beans. I love the clink of the crushed ice, the gurgle of the rich, dark coffee as I pour, and the way the half-and-half swirls and curls seductively as it makes its way to the bottom of the glass. I even love the coffee-flavored water left by the melting ice.

How did I ever survive in my post-Keurig world? At first, it was with the help of – who else – my mum. She happily kept me supplied in the beginning, setting aside a cuppa every morning to cool off for me. It was a nice arrangement for all – I got fresh coffee and she and the dog were guaranteed a daily visit. But soon enough I could see this solution couldn’t last. Sometimes, she wasn’t even home (the nerve). And eventually, like, say,  mid-January, running up the path to her house was not going to hold the same joy as it does on a sunny summer morning.

It was time to get back to brewing my own.

As with all new ventures in my kitchen, it was easier and less scary than I thought.

How You Can Make Cold-Brewed Coffee, in Just a Few Easty Steps

1) Soak.
Simple Cold-Brewed Coffee for Summer -- Juggling with Julia Simple Cold-Brewed Coffee for Summer -- Juggling with Julia
2) Strain.
Simple Cold-Brewed Coffee for Summer -- Juggling with Julia
Simple Cold-Brewed Coffee for Summer -- Juggling with Julia
Newsflash: Coffee Does Not Need to Taste Bitter

While I’m no coffee expert, I’ve tasted enough hot-brewed black coffee to know that the type of bean, the amount of coffee used, and how finely ground it is all impact flavor. What I did not realize was that black coffee does not need to taste bitter. Really and truly this was a huge OMG moment for me, and is what sold me on cold brewed coffee. Was it magic? Or chemistry? I’m still not sure. I used the same beans I’d been brewing hot for a couple of weeks (a dark roasted Costa Rican bean I was gifted from Coffee on the Porch – Camden, Maine.) I already loved its strong, robust flavor when brewed hot, but the smoothness when I cold-brewed it absolutely blew me away. No bitterness at all! I could easily have drunk it without anything added.

So, if iced coffee is your passion, your poison, your Kryptonite – start cold-brewing today! The hardest part is the waiting 🙂

Simple Cold-Brewed Coffee for Summer

Makes ~28 ounces of coffee concentrate

Prep time: 5 minutes (before);  Wait time: 8-24 hours

4 cups cold water
1 and 1/3 cups ground coffee (not quite finely ground)
disposable coffee filter
fine-mesh strainer

Mix the water and ground coffee together in a large measuring cup. Cover with a lid and let sit at room temperature for a good long while (anywhere from 8-24 hours).

Line a fine-mesh strainer with a coffee filter and place securely over a bowl or wide-mouthed measuring cup. Slowly poor in the coffee/water mixture and allow it to filter through.

This liquid is your coffee concentrate. Taste it. You need to know what it tastes like so you know how much to dilute it. If you like your coffee strong, like I do, add half as much water as concentrate (a 2:1 concentrate:water ratio ). A little less strong? Try a 1:1 ratio. No need to be exact, just experiment.

Then, add whatever you like to your cold-brewed coffee to make it YOURS. For me, that’s just enough half-and-half to make it a gorgeous caramel color. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t forget the straw. I have a serious straw-habit, to go with my crushed iced and coffee habit.

Wax on, my friends! I’m off to brew some more, as I just drank the last of batch #2. I’ve heard you can keep it for a week in the refrigerator. I’ll let you know when mine lasts past three days…





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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelly August 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm

I made this last night after reading your blog. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!!! I love cold brew, now I can easily make my own! Thank you! 🙂


Julia Robarts August 24, 2015 at 6:13 pm

This made me so happy – thanks for stopping by to comment! Will raise my cup to you tomorrow am when I have mine 🙂


kristina August 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I’m going to try this! it sounds great! This might be the answer when camping and the need for lots of caffeine is strong!!!!!!


Julia Robarts August 24, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Kristina 🙂 YES this would be great for camping! Doesn’t need heating or even extra cold water. Just don’t use pond water, I guess 🙂 Miss you!


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