Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cold Brewed Coffee

Although I've tried curbing my caffeine intake, I can't stop guzzling cold-brewed coffee. It's different from just regular old hot coffee that's been cooled, you know. As Cindy Price of the New York Times wrote a while back:
Though it pains me to admit, the difference was considerable. Without the bitterness produced by hot water, the cold-brewed coffee had hints of chocolate, even caramel. I dropped my sugar packet — no need for it. The best brews hardly need cream. It really is the kind of thing a gentleman might spend five days in hot-coffee solitary confinement for.
Most days I’m too lazy to hunt down the elusive cold-brewed cup. But recently I discovered an interesting little fact. Cold-brewed coffee is actually dirt simple to make at home. Online, you’ll find a wealth of forums arguing for this bean or that, bottled water over tap, the 24-hour versus the 12-hour soak. You can even buy the Toddy cold-brew coffee system for about $30.
CHOW recently posted a short video teaching you to cold-brew your coffee using a Toddy. But if you already have a French press at home, you can cold brew your coffee the way my sister-in-law taught me. (And even if you don't, a 4-cup Bodum Chambord is the same price as a Toddy, and it's more versatile.)

Cold-brewing with a French press is super-simple:

Step One: Pull out your French press and a 1/2 cup measuring cup.

Step Two: Put a 1/2 cup of coarse-ground coffee into your French press.

Step Three: Fill it up with cold water. Leave an inch of space at the top, dummy.

Step Four: Put the top on. Let it sit overnight (or around 12 hours). Then depress the plunger to filter out the grounds.

Step Five: Pour some out and drink it -- with or without ice. You can also dilute it with water, but I like my coffee concentrated. It's not harsh or bitter. I used to take my coffee with several packets of sweetener to counter the bitterness, but no more -- there's no need. If you're a coffee junkie but looking to wean yourself off sugar or artificial sweeteners, you might want to give cold-brewed coffee a shot.