Summer Cocktail: Cold-Brewed Coffee

A mason jar full of cold brew coffee

During last summer’s heat wave throughout the Northeast, I didn’t want to turn on the stove for anything. Not even to make coffee. That’s when I turned to cold brewing coffee. After nearly a year of finessing the process, here’s what I do today:

I prefer using blends rather than single origin coffee beans because they have a more complex flavor profile. At first, I was using expensive coffee beans, which were great, but I found that even inexpensive beans, such as Joe’s blend from Trader Joes ($4.99 for a 12 oz. can), worked just as well. Moreover, I would recommend using light roasts, rather than a dark roast, to allow the natural flavors of the bean to come through.

Using one of those giant 64 oz. mason jars, add coarsely ground coffee. To get the 9:2 ratio that everyone recommends, fill it with coffee ground so that it reaches halfway between the 250 and 500 ml. lines on “metric side” the jar. Fill the rest of the jar with water, stir aggressively, and cap the jar. For the next few minutes, shake the jar so that the grounds don’t settle in one place. Place jar in refrigerator for about 13-15 hours. Using a strainer with a fine mesh, filter the coffee into another large jar. The resulting mixture needs to be diluted with an equal amount of ice water.

The coffee should have no bitterness and should bring out the flavors of the beans. It in fact is so sweet that you don’t need to add milk, sugar, or anything to “soften” the brew. The first time I had this, it was the most delicious coffee I had ever had. There really is no going back to hot-brewed coffee in the summer.