Have you ever been to Florida in the middle of summer? Let me tell you something…it’s HOT. Now, have you ever been to an outside wedding in the middle of summer in Florida at 1:00 in the afternoon? Yeah…I’m just going to let that marinate with you for a few…
So I had this great idea. We were throwing Jennifer and Joe a super fun, super casual, poolside outdoor wedding at a GORGEOUS house she had found on VRBO. And I thought to myself, “Self, we need to have a DIY drink bar.” and I don’t mean an alcoholic drink bar (although we DID think about an alcoholic drink bar but there were going to be children attending and we didn’t want to take that risk…), I mean an Iced Tea, Lemonade and ICED COFFEE bar. I mean, who doesn’t love iced coffee on tap, am I right? The iced tea and lemonade we purchased from Chick-fil-a because their lemonade is on fleek (Did I use that right? These kids today with their newfangled slang…) and I had enough going on and didn’t feel like juicing a thousand lemons. Also, I don’t like tea so I thought it best to just purchase that as well.
Now, I’m a bit of a coffee snob and believe that people who don’t understand good coffee, don’t understand iced coffee, so I wasn’t about to leave that in the hands of some amateurs. And I swear to God, if I hear one more time that you make iced coffee by brewing HOT COFFEE and putting in the refrigerator, I’m going to scream…or pour out their coffee…but probably just scream because it’s a crime against humanity to waste coffee. I mean, what did that coffee ever do to you?
So the first thing you need to understand about iced coffee is that it’s a cold brew, meaning you use cold or room temperature, filtered water and allow the coffee to “brew” or steep in it for an extended amount of time. And by “extended” I mean 12-48 hours (I prefer 48 hours). The reasoning behind this is chemistry but I don’t want to get too sciency on you so I’ll try and keep the explanation simple (and how I remember it in my head). When you hot brew coffee, you’re basically pissing off the coffee grounds which makes it smell good but also makes it more bitter and acidic. BUT when you cold brew, you don’t touch that shit. You leave it ALONE. You don’t stir it, you don’t agitate it. You think of those coffee grounds like someone’s cranky Grandpa that you don’t want to disturb. By allowing the coffee to sloooooowly extract into the water, you get a smoother, less bitter and less acidic brew (which is also great for those with a sensitive tummy). It will also last longer, keeping in the refrigerator for a few weeks to a month instead of only a day.
Normally, I cold brew my iced coffee in a French Press (I got mine from Amazon) but you can also use a large bowl. (I’ve used the “bowl” method before and it’s a total time consuming, pain in the ass method unless you are still using a french press to filter. Otherwise, you have to filter it using coffee filters or a cheesecloth and this can easily take HOURS as well as a shit ton of filters.) I had done some research and found Bodum was the best brand for french presses and so far I have NOT been disappointed. As a matter of fact, I have two…one tiny one for a single cup of french press hot coffee and a large one for my cold brew iced coffee.
I like to start with whole bean coffee and grind my own, but you can totally use already ground coffee if you want. I like to use whole bean because I have found there is a slight difference in the taste because the ground coffee isn’t as fresh as the whole bean and I also like to grind a courser ground which makes it easier to press later.
- 2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee
- 4 cups filtered water, cold or room temp
Make sure you French Press is thoroughly washed and clean from your last brew. Pour in 2/3 cups coarsely ground coffee (the finer grind coffee, the harder it is to press later).
Next, sloooooowly pour water on top of the grounds being careful to not fill all the way up to the top. There will still be some dry coffee grounds on top of the water.
Take a wooden spoon (or any large serving spoon) and gently press the grounds down under the water. DO NOT STIR, DO NOT AGITATE.
Once all of the grounds are wet, cover (I use a plastic wrap over the top and then aluminum foil over the plastic wrap.
Place aside, out of the way, for 12-48 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more concentrated the brew. This is why I prefer 48 hours. It allows me to make larger batches to keep in my refrigerator while using less room. In a pinch, I’ve done 8 hours. It wasn’t as strong as I liked but I needed coffee…
Once it’s ready, take the aluminum foil and plastic wrap off of the french press. Carefully place the plunger into the container, making sure no grounds are above it, turn the pourer so that it is open, and then sloooowly push the plunger down. If it’s super hard to push, the grounds are too fine, if it’s super easy, the grounds are too coarse.
Once you’ve plunged the grounds all the way to the bottom, pour the coffee into your container of choice to store or directly into your glass for some fresh iced coffee.
If you brew for 12-24 hours, the coffee should be ready to drink as is. If you brew for up to 48 hours (I’ve even done almost 72 hours!), this will be a concentrated brew. When you make your iced coffee later, you’ll want to add some water to your glass. This is my favorite way to make it because I can keep more on hand without running out of room in my fridge.
When you’re ready to drink it, just fill your glass up with ice, pour in your coffee (and water if you made a concentrated batch), next add any sweeteners like liquid sugar, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup…etc, top off with milk and if you really want to get decadent, add a splash of heavy whipping cream at the top. Stir and enjoy!