Cold Brew Coffee

23 Apr

One of the questions I get asked the most on Instagram is how I make my cold brew coffee. I thought it a good idea to write up a detailed explanation and post a link to this post on my Instagram for those who want the complete instructions.

I've been making cold brew coffee long before it was popular. In fact, no one had heard of it and my friends all thought I was crazy. But I kept telling them how much creamer and smoother it was and handing out samples to anyone who expressed interest and eventually I started getting asked to bring it to parties and events. Then coffee shops started selling it and now it's "a thing."

It's probably been around longer in other areas, for longer than it has in my neck of the woods and everyone seems to have their own ideas on how to make it. I don't guess there's a "right way" to do it, but I'm gonna share how I make it for those who are interested.

To Make the Cold Brew:

I use the Toddy system to make the cold brew. It makes a concentrated coffee that's almost syrup-like. When I first started making it, coffee was sold in 16 oz. bags so I used the recipe that came with my Toddy. Now that coffee mostly comes in 12 oz. bags, I've had to adjust it just a bit. I'm going to give you directions for both sizes as I honestly think the 16 oz. bags give you a better flavor. If you want to use the full pound of coffee recipe you'll likely want to go to a coffee shop and get your coffee, not the grocery store. None of the grocery stores in my area sell a one-pound bag of coffee anymore.

You can purchase any type of coffee for cold-brew although some is certainly better than others. I would suggest you try several until you find one you like the best. I currently use Peet's Coffee, Major Dickason's Blend. If you are buying beans from a coffee shop, ask them to give you a rough grind. That makes the best although the grocery store grinds work ok too and most won't notice a difference in taste either way.

1. I put the stopper in the bottom of the Toddy plastic canister and press a wet filter down in the bottom ring of the canister. (The Toddy system comes with the filter and the stopper.)

2. I add a a small amount of water (about 1/2 inch) to the bottom of the canister. Then I pour in about half of the ground coffee. ( 6 oz or 8 oz depending on the size bag of coffee you have.)

3. Slowly pour water over grounds until they are covered with water. Do this very slowly so that the grounds get wet. If you just dump the water in, all the coffee will rise to the surface and the water will sink to the bottom. Work slowly and move the water around to cover all the grounds.

4. After you are done step 4, you should have the canister about half filled. Let it set for five minutes to settle and let the water continue to wet the grounds.

5. After the five minutes, add the last half of the grounds and cover with water as before until the water reaches about 1/2" from the top of the canister.

6. Place plastic wrap over the top of the canister and let it sit on your kitchen counter for at least 12 hours. I recommend 16 or so unless you are using an exceptionally dark coffee. I usually set up the grounds when I get home from work and are making dinner and then let them sit overnight.

7. After they've set on the counter for at least 12 hours, take the stopper out of the bottom and set the canister on top of the glass carafe. It will take a little bit of time for all the water to move through the filter. DO NOT stir the coffee, shake the canister or press down on the filter. Any of these could cause a layer of sludge to end up in the glass canister.

8. When the liquid is drained, remove the canister, put the lid on the carafe and place in the fridge. The coffee concentrate you've just made will last at least 14 days and up to 21 days depending on the type of coffee blend and the coldness of your fridge. It won't really go bad for awhile but the taste will start to change somewhere between that 14-21 day window.

9. To clean the canister, use a spatula to clear all the grounds out of the canister and into the trash or compost bin. Then use a straw to pop the filter out of the bottom. Rinse the filter off under cold running water and then place in a ziploc bag. ( I recommend putting the stopper in the bag as well as it's easy to lose!) Then place the bag in the fridge until the next time you need it. According to the people who make the Toddy, you can use it about 10 times before you need to throw it out and use a fresh one. (You can purchase additional stoppers and filters on Amazon or direct from the manufacturer.) Lastly, I rinse out the container well and wipe it down. I do not wash it with soap.

Now, you have a nice big carafe of cold brew coffee. The next step is to make it into a delicious beverage ready to drink.

To make the Coffee Drink:

1. Because the cold brew is a concentrate, you'll want to dilute it with milk or water, or some mixture of both. If you made your cold brew from a 16 oz bag of coffee, you'll want to use a 1 part coffee to 2 parts milk/water ratio. The 12 oz. bag would be weaker and would need less, so that would use a 1 to 1 ratio. I usually do the 1 to 1 ratio and use a large mason jar, so I'd add 6 or 7 ounces of cold brea and 6 of 7 ounces of milk to the jar.

2. Then I add 2 Tablespoons of Hershey's dark chocolate syrup and stir well.

3. Then I add ice to fill the jar.

Some Tips:

• I will sometimes freeze brewed coffee in ice cube trays and use those to ice my cold brew drink, especially if I'm drinking it out on my patio on a hot day. The ice melts so fast and really dilutes the drink too much when I use regular ice.

• You can use flavored creamer, half & half, heavy cream, water, almond milk or chocolate milk if you prefer. Just make sure you dilute the coffee syrup with something as the concentrate will be really strong, especially if you used the 16 oz bag of coffee to make it.

• Don't put the cold brew in the fridge while it's in the canister. In my experience, it slows down the process and give you a weaker brew unless you leave it in the fridge for 24 hours or so.

• You can use flavor syrups like coffee shops use to add additional flavors. My favorite add-in is toasted marshmallow syrup. If I use that, I will still use the Hershey dark chocolate syrup but just put less in. I like my coffee mildly sweet some days and use less at times. You'll have to experiment to see what you like.

It seems like there's a lot to this, but once you've done it a time or two I think you'll be glad you tried it. I make it all summer long and sometimes in the winter for a treat. If you have specific questions I haven't answered, just leave me a comment. And if you give it a try, let me know how it goes, ok? Enjoy!

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