Ask any coffee connoisseur and they'll tell you: cold-brewing is all the rage. But the notion of making iced coffee at home the right
way can be a bit daunting--especially in a pre-caffeinated state. So we called on Nick Griffith, co-founder of , LA's (frankly genius) coffee subscription service, which offers its members top-tier, expertly sourced beans roasted and delivered directly to their door. A former west coast sales director for cult coffee mini-empire Intelligentsia, Griffith answered all of our pressing questions about this new artisanal beverage frontier.
What's the main difference between making good iced coffee and making regular coffee?
Brewing coffee, iced or hot, is primarily about ratios. When I brew regular coffee at home I use a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water--so 20 grams of coffee to 320 grams of water. When making cold brew, I use a 1:8 ratio. Keep in mind when you cold brew coffee you're making a concentrate that will be diluted and then poured over ice.
What are the most common mistakes people make in preparing iced coffee?
1. Brewing regular hot coffee and immediately pouring it over ice - results are weak and watery. 2. Some people brew hot coffee and allow it cool down in the fridge and then pour it over ice - results are stale and old tasting. 3. Cold brewing longer then 14 hours--I think 12 to 14 hours is a sweet spot. Beyond that and this really tannic flavor starts to appear and that's not very refreshing.
What's the most important tool you need to cold brew at home?
First and foremost, you need a good burr grinder. This is a must if you want to up your home coffee game. Any and all tools after that are just fancy doohickies for adding water to coffee. If you want a device specifically for making cold brew, pick up a .
Magic numbers to keep in mind for coffee concentrate-to-milk-to-water ratios?
There are no steadfast rules. Everyone's palate is different, and all you can do is choose a starting point and adjust to taste. With cold-brewed coffee, I'd suggest starting at a 50/50 water to concentrate and then pouring that over ice. I like iced coffee to be sweet and refreshing. Acidity should be balanced and body similar to iced tea. Milk to taste.
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Griffith stresses that the resourceful among you can probably make cold brew with the items you currently have in your kitchen--check out the brand's on how to filter DIY-style. If you're like us, and prefer a more foolproof approach, check out our easy step-by-step recipe below.
WHAT YOU NEED
French press (Griffith recommends )
1 cup of coffee beans
3 1/2 cups filtered water
(Yields approximately 24-ounces of iced coffee concentrate)
1. Grind your beans on a medium setting--the consistency should be course, or in Griffith's words: "like sea salt"
2. Add 1 cup of grinds to to your French press, then pour 3 1/2 cups of cold filtered water slowly into your coffee, stirring gently.
3. Cover your French press with foil or the top of the press (just don't plunge it yet), and leave it for 12 hours minimum, 14 hours maximum.
4. After leaving it to set, plunge your press to strain your coffee, which is now a concentrate.
5. Mix your concentrate with equal parts water, then pour over ice and enjoy straight-up or doctor with milk and sugar, as you prefer.
Note: The concentrate will keep in your fridge for up to two weeks, or make the remainder into coffee ice cubes and enjoy several weeks later.