September has sprung upon us at last and while we had high hopes for cool temperatures and pumpkin spice as far as the eye could see, we were lucky enough to only get one of the two wishes granted. Here in North Carolina it will still be scorching for about another month unfortunately. Don’t worry my friends! I have just what you need to get your pumpkin spice fix with the icy cold refreshment you crave that won’t break the bank.
It was around this time last year that I began my journey for better mental health and curbing alcoholism. Although I will admit to drinking an occasional craft beer while out to eat, I have been clean of liquor for a year now. What is the correlation between cold brew and sobriety you ask? Well for each time I would crave booze, I would make a cup of coffee and for some reason it worked for me. It was good because the weather was in my favor last year and hot beverages kept my mind and soul warm through it all.
This summer has been particularly hot and humid. I can’t remember a summer as a child where it was so uncomfortable that you couldn’t go outside to play. There was once a point where I would guzzle beer after beer to beat the heat but non-alcoholic beer didn’t even appeal to me. Then I discovered something at Starbucks called cold brew coffee. For around four dollars and change it’s essentially my perfect cup of iced coffee. At it’s base it’s dark as night and smooth as velvet; add creamer and it’s sweet as vanilla and creamy as ice cream.
As delicious as it is, my caffeinated little mermaid friend tends to be on the expensive side. Let’s say theoretically you were to get a large coffee every day for five days. Do you realize what else twenty dollars can go towards? I decided at that point that we needed to take a break. I’m sorry sweetheart… it’s not you. It’s me…
After doing some research online I discovered that all cold brew coffee is, is concentrated coffee that separates from the grounds that soak in cold water after sixteen to twenty-four hours. Now, some of you out there may be thinking, “Shelton… Just make a pot of hot coffee and put it in the refrigerator. It’s the same thing.” Technically, you’re right but there actually is a difference. The coffee grounds develop a different flavor profile in cold water rather than being made traditionally in hot water. The best part is, you can make a gallon of homemade cold brew coffee for around three dollars!
So if your interested in making your own cold brew for the remaining weeks of heat ahead of us, here is what you’ll need:
- 2 gallon sized tea pitchers
- 1 mesh strainer to fit into pitcher
- 1 flour sack cloth
- 1/2 lb. course ground coffee of your choice. I prefer dark coffee like French roast but it MUST be ground in the machine at the grocery store and be course grounds. Finely ground coffee will make a muddy mess.
- 1 gallon of purified drinking water (unless you have filtered water)
- Coffee creamer of your choice
When you buy your coffee grounds, the bag will probably hold one pound unless you decide to buy from a wholesale club. For your knowledge, 1/2 pound is about three cups. In one of your two pitchers, pour in the coffee grounds and the water. Put the lid on the pitcher and put it in the refrigerator for sixteen to twenty-four hours. That’s it! It will do it’s thing overnight and and become delicious coffee. The longer the grounds steep, the stronger the coffee will taste so remember, patience is a virtue.
Once you are ready to separate the grounds, get your second pitcher and put your strainer inside the top. The mesh will catch most of it, but from experience the flour sack cloth is necessary. Place it inside the strainer and pour your coffee into the new pitcher. Dump the grounds into the flour sack and wring out the excess coffee from the grounds. You can then throw out the grounds, rinse the excess from your cloth, and hang it to dry for future use as a dedicated coffee filter.
Congratulations! You just made a week’s worth of coffee for less than five bucks. You can experiment with different creamers and find what you like best but with the fall seasons upon us, pumpkin spice will be filling shelves and refrigerators across the nation.
I hope you enjoy and give it a try! This is my first attempt at a “how to” blog so thanks for the patience. If you’re new here, I hope you subscribe although the content isn’t typically this “tasteful” (no pun intended). Until we meet again, be smart, be safe, and be happy!