Coffee keeps making news with its ever-growing list of health benefits. Inspired by AICR reports that link coffee with lower risk for several cancers, possibly due to its many natural protective substances, I want to share the way I enjoy coffee most – cold brewed and iced.
I cold brew coffee by combining ground coffee with room temperature water and letting the mixture stand on the counter or in the refrigerator, similar to making sun tea. Passed through a filter, the result really tastes different and better than coffee brewed with hot water. Comparing them, the cold brew is brighter and has more complex flavors because heat somewhat oxidizes the aromatic compounds in coffee. Also, cool water pulls less acid from the grounds, making a drink that is gentler on the stomach and that allows the flavors of those antioxidant aromatic compounds to shine through.
Besides its taste, I also like the ease of putting ground coffee and water in a glass jar, giving it a good shake and then filtering off the resulting brew. I have also used one of the special brewing devices made for this method and say to save your money. Using a jar is every bit as good. The only drawbacks to cold brewing are the wait and advance planning needed, since brewing time is eight hours to overnight.
Cold brewing makes sensational iced coffee. But if you prefer your coffee hot, cold brew coffee on the counter, then add hot milk for a latte or cappuccino, or zap a mug of the cold brew in the microwave.
Cold brewed coffee keeps its flavor for several days when stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator. This means you can make a double batch and use it for iced coffee or reheat it, one cup at a time.
When making iced coffee, I use half a batch, or some leftover conventional brew, to make coffee ice cubes. Combining cubes with chilled coffee, I enjoy full-strength coffee down to the last drop. Also, I use an African blend or varietal like Ethiopan Yergacheffe, rather than South American blends that taste more acidic.
Perfect Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
- 1/2 cup medium-coarse ground coffee preferably African
- 3 cups filtered water at room temperature
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk or 1 percent milk chilled
- 2 tsp. dark brown sugar optional
Place ground coffee in 1-quart glass jar or other glass container with cover. Add water. Stir vigorously to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours or overnight.
Place coffee-brewing cone fitted with size 4 paper over another jar (or use fine strainer lined with double layer of cheesecloth and set over a bowl) and strain coffee. If filter becomes too full of grounds to strain all the coffee, replace it with second filter.
Pour 1 cup coffee into standard ice cube tray, filling 12 cavities and freeze. Cubes may be stored in freezer for up to 3 days.
In two 12-ounce glasses, place 6 coffee ice cubes. Add remaining coffee, dividing it evenly. Add 1/3 cup milk. Sweeten with brown sugar, if using.
Cold brew coffee can be refrigerated in covered glass container up to 24 hours. Recipe can be doubled.
Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
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