This Summer, I Resolve to Drink More Iced Coffee

cold-brewed coffee at 6 pm

I’m taking a stand, people. No more sweating while drinking hot coffee this summer. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want on a hot morning is a hot cup of coffee. Not when I know that muggy, humid, oppressive summer air is waiting for me the moment I step out my front door.

I don’t know why I’ve never really put the effort in to make iced coffee at home before. Perhaps it required too much foresight, with brewing coffee in advance with enough time to chill, then there was the issue of getting sugar to dissolve, although I could have made a simple syrup. . . . Excuses, excuses.

Then I learned about cold-brewed coffee. Cold brewed, you say? Yes indeed. Unlike coffee that’s brewed hot and then chilled, cold-brewed coffee is brewed at room temperature for a longer period of time. Somehow, through the miracle of science, this allows all of the flavor to be extracted from the coffee but none of the bitterness. The result is the smoothest but most intricately flavored cup of iced coffee you’ve ever made at home. Trust me, you’ll be able to taste the difference.

“But wait,” you say, “you mentioned that cold brewing takes a long time. What about all that ‘needing foresight’ mumbo-jumbo you were saying earlier?” Here’s what’s changed since last summer: I started using a coffee press to make regular old hot coffee this winter. And it’s the perfect lazy woman’s way to transition to cold-brewed coffee.

Here’s how I make it: exactly the way I make hot coffee in my coffee press, except I throw everything together the night before rather than in the morning. I use the same amount of coffee and cold or room temperature water as usual (three rounded scoops of coffee to three cups of water), but I put everything in the press at 6 pm instead of 6 am. I let it steep at room temperature for 12 hours (give or take), pour it over ice, add cream or sweetener as desired, and voila! Perfect iced coffee.

If you don’t have a press, a jar and mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter or even paper towel would do. Others (The Pioneer Woman, Smitten Kitchen, Serious Eats, etc.) have recipes for cold-brewed coffee concentrates that you mix with various ratios of water before serving. These probably save even more time, but let’s be honest, I can’t do any kind of math at 6 am. At least not before I’ve had my coffee.

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