5 Tips for Better Iced Coffee

Smart Coffee for Regular Joes

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You may call this time of year "summer." I call it "cold brew season."

If you want to cut down on your coffee shop bills and stay cool at the same time, homemade cold-brewed coffee, served over ice, is the way to go. Here are five tips for making such good and easy cold iced coffee you'll never buy it again.

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What's Cold-Brewed Coffee?

What's cold brew? Most iced coffee is actually "cold-brewed," or brewed slowly in cold water in the fridge overnight, instead of brewed quick and hot in a French press or coffee maker. The resulting coffee is smooth, low-acid, and cold — the perfect brew for iced coffee.

If there's anything I love more than summer, it's the fact that in summer you get to drink as much cold brewed coffee as you want. Although as a friend recently put it, "When drinking cold brew, set limits and have a safe buddy." It's cold and delicious, which means on a hot summer day you may need to watch yourself so you don't consume one too many.

But a cold brew habit can get expensive if you're always buying it at the coffee shop. There's certainly a time and place for enjoying cold brew made by professionals, but rest assured that you can make good tasting cold brew at home too.

How To Make Cold-Brewed Coffee

As for making cold brew at home, you can actually buy cold brewing devices, but as long as you have coffee, water and a sieve at home, you don't need a fancy set up.

I find that the easiest way to make tasty cold brew at home is to do the French press method. It really is as simple as grinding your coffee, adding in cold water and letting your French press stand overnight.

5 Tips for Better Cold-Brewed, Iced Coffee

Once you've mastered that, you may be thinking to yourself, "now what?" If you're trying to up the ante on your cold brewing, here are a few ideas that may help you get exactly the taste and flavor you want in your iced coffee.

1. Tweak your coffee to water ratio

Cold-brewed coffee needs a strong brew, especially when you're going to be adding cream or milk. Recommended coffee to water ratios vary, but you can aim for somewhere in the 1:4 to 1:8, range. You can of course tweak this depending on your tastes and find what works for you.

2. Try different kinds of coffee

Switch up your beans! Most cold brew recipes will have you go for a medium to darker roast. But play around with different roasts and coffees to see which one you like best; a lighter roast might be more to your taste. Keep track of what you're brewing so you can remember which one your favorite was.

3. Get a good grind

Just like with a good hot coffee, for a good cold brew coffee, you want an even grind and that means a burr grinder. You want to grind coffee for your cold brew fairly coarse, but you can play around with it to get the exact taste you want. Note that using too fine of a ground will lead to a more bitter, sour tasting cold brew.

4. Filter your cold brew

A good cold brew should be dark and silky smooth. If you're using the French press method, you can filter your cold brew an additional time by pouring through a coffee filter to ensure you get all the sediment of coffee grounds out.

5. Make coffee ice cubes

What's nice about cold brew is that it's already cold from the start. However, if you have a preference for adding ice, you don't want to dilute your cold brew. Solution? Ice cubes made out of coffee. You want to get really fancy? Make your ice cubes out of cold brew coffee.

What are your best tips for really great iced coffee?

(Image credits: Chris Perez; Dennis Tang under CC BY-SA 2.0)

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