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Cold Brew Coffee Done Easy (If not Quick)

I know it’s the end of summer (technically), but no matter the weather, cold brew coffee is the quickest, easiest way to get your morning (or afternoon) caffeine hit–deliciously. I’ve tried the French press method (yuck, what a mess, and after all those hours of brewing, you only get a small batch–even with a larger press).

Yes, I realize I’m no barista, and certainly no expert coffee brewer, and, admittedly, my perfect cup of summer coffee is a professionally brewed nitro cold brew (yum). But for a morning hit of Joe straight from the fridge? Cold brew is the ticket!

With that in mind, I would like to share with you what I’ve learned trying to accomplish a decent cold-brewed cup of coffee with minimal effort and cost (besides the beans, upon which I refuse to compromise!)cold brew jar

What to Do About the Coffee?

With a houseful of coffee-drinking guests for last weekend, I needed a better solution than French press cold brew or one-cup-at-a-time Keurig. Ideally, I wanted a way to make a large batch (a gallon?) of excellent coffee (yes, I’m a snob), make it easy to serve and even easier to clean up. A tall order, I know (taller than a Venti Nitro, right?)

I’m aware there are “toddy” brewing systems, cold-brew systems and other contraptions that make it easier to concoct an excellent cold brew. Some are easy to use; others more complicated. Some are expensive, some less so. I’m all for cheap…and…easy…easier…easist…

So, cruising the virtual aisles of my local Amazon.com, I finally hit upon the solution to my coffee woes. Armed with a one-gallon glass Mason-type jar (with spigot for serving) and a batch of disposable brewing sacks, I was ready to tackle the project.

I grind my own beans (I said I was a snob, besides, my son, an excellent barista–he’s currently at Greater Goods Roasters in cold brew bagsAustin, Texas, BTW–bought us an upscale burr grinder for our anniversary) so I needed to know the correct setting for making a batch of cold brew using a bag. It took a bit of experimentation.

First, I tried a medium coarse grind and found the cold brew horribly under-extracted (that means “weak” for the non-coffee snobs reading this). Next, I tried a grind somewhere between medium and fine (more fine than medium), which, with the measure of grounds I used seemed to create a perfect cold brew, tasting absolutely yummy. But I’m sure you can use pre-ground beans as well and with a bit of tinkering come up with your perfect cold brew coffee. Personally, I prefer the finer grind, but the experts tend to suggest coarse (like what you’d use in a French Press). So, your mileage may vary.

Here’s exactly what I did:

Equipment:

  • I gallon Mason Jar equipped with a serving spigot
  • One gallon of water (or however much you desire)
  • Disposable filter bags with long strings for securing the grounds and easy retrieval
  • 3 cups (the bags each hold about a cup of grounds) of fresh ground coffee. (The filter bag directions suggest one cup of grounds per 32 ounces, but I found that using three bags and the gallon jar filled to the top of the jar’s shoulder seemed to make a really good brew).

Process:

  • Place grounds in the bags
  • Place filled bags in the filled mason jar
  • Brew for 24 hours on countertop (I moved the jar to the fridge after 10 hours)
  • Remove bags from jar and serve from spigot. (The spigot is essential if you don’t want to keep hefting that big heavy glass jar in and out of the refrigerator!)

If the coffee is too strong, you can dilute it with water or creamer. Enjoy!

 

 

About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books.Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."

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