It’s a good day for me if I get a some quiet time all to myself in the afternoon. Lately it’s been a rare occasion to have both kids nap at the same time, but when they do, I take full advantage. Usually that means pouring myself a glass of this iced coffee, grabbing a snack, and sitting down with my laptop to either read a few blogs or work on my own. While there may be laundry and housework that needs doing, taking a few minutes just for myself re-energizes me so that I have the patience and energy to tackle the rest of the day.
Before this recipe, I tried a number of different methods for making iced coffee. I would brew some extra-strong coffee in my coffeepot, wait for it to cool a while, and then add some ice. This method was not the best in flavor, plus who wants to go through all of that waiting time when a craving for a glass of iced coffee hits? I’ve even gone through the trouble of making coffee ice cubes so that my iced coffee wouldn’t get watered down. (And yes, I even posted that recipe because at the time, when I didn’t know better, I was ok with going through all of that for a glass of iced coffee. I’m so glad I’ve moved on from there!)
To make perfect iced coffee, the secret is cold-brewing the coffee. That means you pour coffee grounds in a large container, add cold water, give it a good stir, and let the mixture sit at room temperature overnight. After straining out the coffee grounds, you are left with coffee concentrate that you can then store in your refrigerator for whenever you need a little pick-me-up. With this recipe, there’s no worry about watery coffee because the coffee concentrate is already made and chilled, plus it’s strong enough that even if some ice melts it still tastes great. Cold-brewed iced coffee is the best because it has a smooth flavor and none of the bitterness that you can get from regular brewing.
I used to place cheesecloth in my fine mesh strainer to strain out the coffee grounds, but now I use paper towels and find they work just as well if not better. Plus, now I don’t have to buy cheesecloth. (My kitchen helper was at it again- even though she’s way too young for iced coffee herself, she still loves to watch me make it. Love that little hand in the photo!)
You just can’t beat the convenience of having delicious iced coffee ready to go at home. I’m no longer tempted to run out to the local coffeeshop, where I would pay almost $4 for an iced latte, plus the fact that carting two kids in and out of the car is not an ideal way to get my coffee fix. It’s much better to save that energy for something more important, like playing with those kiddos.
You can add whatever you like to your glass of iced coffee. I either add a splash of half n half and a generous pour of lowfat milk, or skip the half n half and pour in some of William’s whole milk. I love my coffee, and it’s worth the splurge.
Perfect Iced Coffee
Makes about 2 quarts*
- 4 oz. ground coffee**
- 2 quarts cool water
- Half n half, milk, or whatever you like to mix into your iced coffee
- Place the coffee grounds in a container large enough to hold the water. Pour in the cool water and then stir until all the grounds are wet. Cover the container and let sit at room temperature overnight, about 8-12 hours.
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl, pot, or other container. Place a few layers of paper towels or cheesecloth in the strainer. Carefully pour the coffee/water mixture through and allow all of the liquid to go through the strainer. Press down on the grounds with the back of a spoon to get the last of the liquid out. Discard the grounds and place the coffee concentrate in a storage container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make a glass of iced coffee, fill a glass with ice cubes and pour in some of the coffee concentrate. Add half n half, milk, etc. as desired and enjoy!
*You can double or even quadruple this recipe to make more coffee concentrate at one time. I make the amount below, which is ¼ of the original recipe, because I think the taste is best the first week.
**You can even make half-caf coffee by using half regular and half decaf ground coffee. That’s what I do!
Source: Slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman.