We can’t get enough of iced coffee. We brew it stronger than we normally would for hot coffee, because that melting ice eventually dilutes it. (Unless you make this recipe for coffee and cream ice cubes.) Brewing it extra-strong means extra flavor and, yes, extra caffeine! (Can you tell we’ve had some?) And our iced coffee tastes even better with a little full-fat milk (live, people, live!). So here’s everything you need to know before you start brewing and sipping from a tall icy glass with a fancy straw...
Cold Brew Decoded
Here’s why cold brew is better: When heat is used to brew coffee, it releases acids and oils that are intensified when coffee is cooled in the refrigerator, resulting in a bitter brew with a short shelf life. Cold brewing – steeping the coffee in cool water – produces an intense but smooth flavor that’s more stable in the fridge.
We’re big fans of Grady’s Cold Brew. They make a New Orleans style blend of roasted coffee and chicory that’s smooth, rich and delicious, but must be refrigerated, which makes vacationing with it challenging. So we were thrilled when they introduced their DIY Cold Brew Kit, with bags of coffee that you soak in cold water overnight in the fridge. Each canister comes with four bags and super-simple instructions for overnight brewing, so you get a perfect brew, every time.
BIY (brew it yourself)
Used up your Grady’s? You can turn any of your favorite coffee beans into iced coffee with the below recipe. This is a great use for beans a little past their prime because iced coffee doesn’t bring out the same flavor variations as hot coffee (it’s too cold to taste that much difference).
Here's our go-to recipe for a batch of coffee to keep in the fridge all week:
- Coarsely grind 8 oz coffee and add to a large stainless steel or glass container. Pour in 4 ½ cups of cold water and let it sit overnight at room temperature (between 12 and 18 hours).
- Strain your cold brew into a fresh container or pitcher. We like to use a coarse metal strainer, then re-strain it through a coffee filter for a super-smooth texture.
- Store in the fridge. To drink, mix 1:1 with filtered water or milk. Ice cubes and fancy straws highly recommended!
A spoonful of sugar...
If you like it on the sweeter side, skip the granulated sugar since it won’t really dissolve. Instead, make simple syrup. Just bring a cup of water and a cup of sugar to a simmer, then let the syrup cool. Stored in the fridge, this will last for a month and is great to have on hand for iced coffee (and cocktails)!