A while back, I stumbled upon a passionate discussion of a cold brew coffee making device, and became intrigued with this method. However, I'm notoriously
cheap thrifty, and couldn't see the sense* in paying $30 for a device that will hold a gallon of liquid at room temperature for a day, before filtering.
In fact, I happened to have a pound of ground coffee, a standard glass gallon jar and a manual coffeemaker** at home. Risking only wasted coffee and wasted time, I gave it a try.
It was wonderful! The coffee developed a beautiful crema as it brewed without gadgetry, without electricity, and without contrivance, overnight on the kitchen counter. The next morning, I filtered the result, using a regular paper coffee filter, and then diluted a bit of the result with hot water.
It was a great cup of coffee, without any bitterness or acidity.
This method yields many advantages:
- no electricity required
- no device required
- the "coffee sense" stores for weeks in the refrigerator (or can be frozen in ice cube trays for longer term storage and/or use with iced coffee and/or flavoring other drinks***)
- once a few varieties are made, different types of coffee can be served to different individuals simultaneously
- each person can make his own cup to the strength of his own liking
- once made, it is virtually instant coffee (that doesn't taste like instant coffee)
- for iced coffee, it doesn't need to cool down
- observant Jews can enjoy it on Shabbat (If you're an observant Jew and a coffee
snoblover, Saturday mornings can be a bit of a challenge...)
- the kitchen gets messy one time for a week (or two)'s worth of coffee drinking
- less coffee is wasted because there is no need to brew an entire pot; each cup is brewed as needed
- the big lump of coffee grounds can be dumped in the compost heap in one trip
Here's what I did:
I put a pound of ground coffee in a glass gallon container, and added enough water (about 10 cups) to fill the container. (Perhaps any non-reactive container would do, but I was hesitant to use plastic because it often changes flavors.)
I waited a day. Other websites suggested a minimum of 12 hours. I like my coffee strong, and wanted to experiment to see if a whole day would be too long. I didn't taste any bitterness or staleness after more than 24 hours.
I filtered it through the large manual coffee filter, lined with a standard paper filter. This needs to sit, unmolested, on the counter for a long time, up to an hour, to extract every drop... of extract. I use either a large measuring bowl or the decanter from the manual coffee maker to collect the result. I'm sure this can be done with any filtering method, including a big strainer lined with cheesecloth, "gold" coffee filters, etc.
Depending on the drinker's preference, dilute 4:1 (water:extract) 3:1 or 2:1. Enjoy!
Here are some others' approach and appreciation of this method:
- This is a pictorial description and enthusiastic review of the aforementioned device
- Iced Coffee? No Sweat by Cindy Price
* note: Apologies for the obscure and terrible pun. Some observant Jews, in preparation for Shabbat, will make something mentioned in the Mishna Berurah called "tea sense" (or "tea essence") which is a brewed tea concentrate, that can be diluted on Shabbat with hot water to make tea. For some, this is the only legal and practical way to have hot tea on the Sabbath.
Others allow tea bags to be used on Shabbat if in the "second" or "third" cup.
The cold brew method of making coffee is the equivalent of brewing a "coffee sense" which, to my knowledge, is not mentioned in any sacred text... yet.
** I hope to post soon about why I travel with part of this device
*** Some favorites include adding the "coffeecicles" to soy milk, milk, or cream for instant iced "lattes". Since the coffee cubes are very concentrated, they impart more and more flavor as they melt and the amount of other liquid decreases. This is the opposite effect of adding ice to a cold drink, which dilutes the flavor as it melts.