Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Iced Coffee---A New Cold Brew

Blue Bottle, Kyoto Style Ice Coffee
As I sat waiting for my two young daughters to finish their PB&J bagel sandwiches in Brugger's Bagels, my eyes wandered the art work and promotional posters covering the walls. One in particular struck me; "Cold-Brewed Coffee!" What did they mean? Was that the opposite of brewed iced tea? Wasn't there a beer that claimed it was "cold-brewed"? While my girls polished off their lunches, I pondered the concept of "cold-brewed" coffee. Until recently, I never drank iced coffee. It seemed watery and lacking in flavor. Iced lattes were another story---they were robust and refreshing. But was "cold-brewed" coffee more satisfying than regular iced coffee?

The very next day, the lead article in the New York Times Dining In/Out section featured cold-brewed iced coffee ("Iced Coffee? No sweat!" by Cindy Price, June 27, 2007). According to the author, cold-brewed coffee was fuller and sweeter than its hot-brewed sister. She claimed that by not introducing hot water, the coffee does not become bitter and retains a more pleasant flavor. Cold-brewed coffee could be easily made at home, she continued, with a simple mason jar, coarse ground coffee, cold water, and a coffee-filter lined sieve. By mixing the coffee grounds with cold water in the mason jar and allowing it to sit on the counter overnight, by morning one simply needs to strain the mixture through the lined sieve, and voila! Mix with ice, add milk and/sugar, and a cold-brewed delight awaits you!

I tried her technique and it produced an excellent result. The coffee was so sweet, it barely needed sweetener. However, rather than fussing with the sieve and coffee filter, why not just use a French coffee press (pictured left)? Simply add the coffee and cold water to the press (1 heaping tablespoon per 4 ounces water), and let it sit overnight, to allow the coffee to infuse into the water (when hot, it takes only a few minutes to do so). The next morning, press, pour, and enjoy a perfect cup of iced coffee! You'll get the same great cold-brewed coffee with a minimum of effort.

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