Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coffee Concentrate To Make Iced Coffee

To say that I am excited about this post is an understatement!! Or maybe that's the caffeine talking... and I take my caffeine pretty seriously. I've wanted to make coffee concentrate for iced coffee for a long time, but honestly I was scared. Of what, I don't know. This is SO easy! And now that the sticky days of summer are finally here, I'm going to share it with you.

Here's how I do it. I based my recipe from the method used by PioneerWoman (Ree). It's pretty much the same but I cut the quantities of water and coffee. If you want to see a great pictoral step-by-step, go here.

1 gallon cold water - I use cold water from the tap
1-1/3 cups ground dark roast coffee - I like the generic Wal-Mart brand, but use the roast and brand that you prefer. You may need to increase the amount of coffee for lighter roasts. Everyone's taste is different, I found my quantities by doing the math. 'Cuz I'm nerdy like that.
A few other things that come in handy:
     two one gallon pitchers with a little extra room at the top and lids
     plastic colander or fine mesh sieve
     medium sized pyrex bowl
     paper towels or coffee filters or cheese cloth

Five minutes before going to bed, place the coffee grounds into a container that will hold a little more than a gallon. Gently stir to moisten all of the coffee. Cover and let sit for 8-10 hours. (In other words, go to bed and we'll finish this in the morning).

In the morning, if you're really patient, place a fine mesh sieve over a second one gallon container. Place a single coffee filter in the sieve. Ree uses cheesecloth, but filters work fine too. Slowly pour coffee mixture through the filtered sieve, allowing to drain into the new container. This will take a bit of time and several "pours" to get all of the coffee grounds strained from the concentrate. Occasionally change the filter for a fresh one at least once during the process to help speed things up.

---OR---

If you're not so patient in the morning like me, grab a medium sized pyrex bowl, your favorite plastic colander and two or three Viva paper towels. Line colander with paper towels and place over pyrex bowl (colander should fit on outside bowl rim, just slightly off the bottom). Slowly pour about half the coffee mixture into filtered colander, allowing to drain into bowl. Empty bowl into second pitcher as needed.

After the first time you do this, you should have a feel for how much to strain at a time so that you can go off and do other stuff - like wake up your kids, get ready for work, pack lunches... check FaceBook...

After concentrate is filtered from the grounds, cover and place in fridge. I recommend allowing it to chill completely before serving. This keeps well for about 3 weeks in the fridge. After 4 weeks it gets a little bitter and at 5 weeks it went a little "spotty" (which is my-speak for "might have been moldy but couldn't really tell so I tossed it just to be safe"). And if you're wondering why this hung around so long in my fridge: it was my first batch that I made this spring and it was too durn cold to drink iced coffee. Poor timing on my part.

To serve: Fill glass with ice. Fill half full with coffee concentrate. Fill remainder of glass with milk, sweetener and stir. [I use 2% milk and a splash of flavored creamer.] Enjoy!

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