Here at the Captains Coffee headquarters its been in the 80s all week and for the mountains, thats hot! Since everyone has been stopping by for iced coffee, we have been working on a few different forms of chillng our favorite beverage and thought we'd share them with you!
The tried and true cold brew method begins with coffee ground for french press (course) and some tepid filtered water mixed together at a ratio of roughly 1/3 pound of coffee per qt of water. If you want to scale this down for home use, take something like a mason jar full of water and 5 oz of ground coffee and let this sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours after stirring the coffee into the water thoroughly (it'll be sludgey). Be sure to cover your container to keep oxygen and fridge smells out of your vulnerable coffee! If you have the patience, you'll get optimal extraction of the coffee into the water by waiting as long as 24 hours. Pour the coffee through a filter to seperate the grounds and you now have cold brew concenetrate. This stuff is strong, so watch out! We pour a glass of about 40% concentrate 60% water and it can still give ya the jitters.
Pros: We find the classic cold brew (or toddy) method results in a very rich, strong and low acid iced coffee. This is also a great method for making a good bit of coffee at a time, say for a few days worth or an afternoon gathering with friends.
Cons: All the coffee oils and flavors simply cannot extract using cold water, no matter how long it's brewed, which will result in a more dull cup. Also, did we mention it takes 12-24 hours?
japanese iced coffee
This method, developed by Japanese baristas, is brewed very similarly to normal coffee. For best results, use a pour-over or chemex brewer, but you can do this with a drip brewer as well. Prepare your brewing method normally but put half the water you would normally use into the bottom of your brewer as ICE. This means you're essentially brewing a double strength concentrate which is immediately diluted when the brewed coffee hits the final container with the ice. So if you want to make 10 cups of cold brew, use enough water for about 5 or 6, then fill your carafe (or bottom of your chemex, or pour-over mug) with ice. For folks seeking exact measurements, your ratio should be 1.8 grams of coffee to one fluid oz of water, which also equals one ounce of ice by weight.
Pros: The coffee is brewed hot, meaning optimal extraction of all the subtle flavors resulting in a brighter and more flavorful coffee. Also, it only takes a few minutes to prepare vs 12-24 hours.
Cons: For folks who like the lower acidity and more classic taste of a cold brew, that option may be better for you.
For those fortunate enough to have an espresso machine, this is a fantastic way to make iced coffee. Simply pull your shot (or 2....or 4....) then pour into a glass half full of water. Give the hot espresso a minute to acclimate to the coolness of the water, then add ice to the top. If you prefer your espresso to have more of a "shocked" taste (a bit more of a bitter bite) pour the hot espresso directly over ice then add water. Add less water for a stronger iced americano.
Pros: All the flavor and creaminess of a pressure-extracted espresso in iced form! Like Japanese Iced coffee, this method allows for fuller flavor and the more subtle nuances of coffee brewed with hot water.
Cons: Ya gotta have an espresso machine, so this is defintetly the most expensive method. But invest in one nice espresso machine and save yourself a life time of coffee shop prices!