The Iced Coffee Myth
I am a self-proclaimed, full-fledged coffee addict—at any point of they day I have so much caffeine coursing through my veins that I’m quietly grinding my molars to dust—but there are some times when drinking a piping-hot cup of Joe is simply out of the question. When it’s 90 degrees with 90% humidity, drinking a steady supply of strong iced coffee feels like the only way to survive until cocktail hour. And considering that nearly every person you pass on the street in NYC between the months of May and September will have a dripping cup of iced coffee in one hand, I know I'm not alone.
The problem is, supporting an iced coffee habit can be expensive. While your regular cup of drip coffee usually tops out at $2.50, a single iced coffee in New York City can set you back as much as five dollars. Yep, you heard me. Five dollars. For coffee. And Ice. Which, I will remind you, is really just water.
Until recently, I’ve attributed the premium on iced coffee to the process of “cold brewing,” which I have seen written on chalk boards in front of hip cafés but never really knew what it meant and thus assumed it was some highly complex process that must involve a super expensive temperature control device or pressurized brewing contraption. Or maybe you have to go to special cold brewing school and only like, four coffee artisans in the tri-state area are qualified to make it! I don’t know! In my imagination, all of this sounded a lot like knitting—something I will pay for if someone else makes it but seems too frustrating and time-consuming for me to do myself.
Then, one weekend I saw my friend Roxy take a pitcher of iced coffee from the fridge of our summer rental in Montauk, and when I asked where she got it and she replied that she MADE IT. My world was shattered.
As it turns out, the ever illustrious cold brew is actually easy to make. Like really, REALLY easy. All you need is five “ingredients” and you can make a batch of iced coffee that would probably be worth upwards of twenty bucks and your neighborhood coffee shop. Then you can save all of those fivers you were shelling out to feed your addiction and put them towards something you actually need. Like this teepee, for instance.
Below are instructions for home brewing your very own iced coffee. Make it for yourself, make it for your friends. Impress everyone you know and then revel in your resourcefulness. Just try to exercise some self-control with this stuff. We don’t need anyone’s heart exploding now do we?
Homemade Cold Brew:
What you need:
- A jar, pitcher, or basically any kind of container
- A measuring cup
- A fine-mesh strainer (or just a regular strainer with a coffee filter in it)
- Ground coffee (anything courser than espresso grind should work fine)
Measure one cup of ground coffee and pour it into your jar. Next, add six cups of water, give it a stir, and throw it in the fridge. Let it steep in the fridge for at least 8 hours (I make mine in the evening so it can sit overnight) but the longer you let it sit, the stronger your coffee will be.
After brewing for 8+ hours, pour the mix through a strainer or coffee filter to catch all the grinds. I usually strain mine into a bowl and then pour it back into the jar I steeped it in.
Pour over ice and that's it! You just DIY'd cold brew! Serve with milk, simple syrup, or just on it's own. Delicious.