With the temperatures in Britain reaching a record-breaking 36.9oC yesterday, it really was one of those days where all you wanted to do was drink ice cold drinks all day long.
By nature, I’m not an iced cold drink kind of person – I’m more inclined to drink lovely warm drinks, regardless of the weather.
But today, it was hot… I mean HOT! And nothing but iced cold drinks would do.
It got me thinking about the latest trend that is cropping up all over the place – cold brew coffee.
What is cold brew coffee you ask?
I’m not talking about the typical iced coffees we’ve seen in years past. Those frothy, whipped concoctions full of cream, flavours, and sugar.
Even “iced coffee” that you see in high-street chains is typically hot-brewed coffee chilled and then poured over ice. Generally, the coffee is brewed much stronger to account for the ice that will ultimately dilute it. What you end up with tends to be more bitter and intense because of the extraction of the beans with hot water.
What I’m talking about is “cold brew” – a way to brew coffee by steeping coarse coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for about 18-24 hours. You end up with a concentrated coffee essence, which is generally diluted and served chilled. The lack of heat means that there isn’t the same harshness and acidity that you can get with hot brewing methods. As you might imagine, the process is much gentler to the bean, meaning that you end up with a much softer and sweeter brew, allowing for the subtle flavours of the beans to really shine through.
There are all sorts of snazzy contraptions that you can buy designed specifically with brewing iced coffee in mind, like this very swish cold-brew coffee bottle from Hario:
But you don’t really need any special kit to give it a try. Try this recipe for super easy, and super delicious cold brew coffee:
Cold Brew Coffee (makes 4 cups of concentrated cold coffee, which gives about 8 cups of finished cold coffee to drink)
1 1/3 cups ground coffee (*you want the grind to be coarse…If it’s too fine, you’ll end up with powdery, grimy coffee – and that’s bad!)
4 cups water (cold or room temp)
Big jar or pitcher
Fine mesh strainer (or a clean dish towel, a coffee filter, or anything to filter out the grounds)
What to do:
1. Put your ground coffee in the jar or pitcher. Pour the water over the top.
2. Stir gently to combine.
3. Cover it and let it sit for at least 8 hours at room temperature. Ideally, you’re looking to leave it for 18-24 hours to get a good, strong brew. The longer you leave it, the stronger the brew becomes.
4. Carefully, pour the mixture over a strainer into another pitcher or a large bowl. Clean your original jar or pitcher because you’ll need it again.
5. Carefully pour the strained mixture a second time into the clean jar or pitcher.
6. There you have it – Cold brew coffee concentrate!
The 4 cups of cold coffee concentrate will make about 8 cups of iced coffee. This should keep in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long!).
You’ll want to dilute this before drinking, roughly 2 parts of water for 1 part of cold brew coffee concentrate (i.e. 2 cups of water + 1 cup of cold brew coffee). Add more or less water, depending on how strong you like yours! You can add some milk (almond, coconut, dairy) if you’d like, and something sweet to taste. You could even get really snazzy and create some really interesting coffee cocktails… coffee martini anyone?!
And of course, if you just can’t wait 18-24 hours for an ice cold brew, there are many brands of ready-to-drink proper iced coffee now on the market.
At the London Coffee Festival, I had the pleasure of trying a few. Personally, my fave from the show was Good Beans.
Another really deelish off-the-shelf brew is Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. I have to be honest, I’m not entirely sure if it’s a cold-brew or simply a hot brew coffee made cold…Either way, it’s yummy!
With some more hot & sweltering days on the way, why not give cold brewing a try?!
If you do, let us know how you get on! Leave us a comment, or share with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! We’d love to hear from you!