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the Rise of Cold Brew: ICed Coffee Concentrate Recipes

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the Rise of Cold Brew: ICed Coffee Concentrate Recipes

The Allure of Cold Brew

I’ll be honest, I’m much more of a cold weather person. Give me crisp air and 60-degree highs any day. There’s nothing quite like a steaming mug of coffee on a cool morning. But when the temperatures start to soar, I find solace in the refreshing, silky smooth goodness of cold brew.

It all started a few summers back when I stumbled upon a recipe for iced coffee concentrate. Now, I wasn’t about to waste my go-to organic, fair-trade beans on an experiment. So I filched some of my stepdad’s Kirkland grounds, which had been sitting untouched since he kicked his coffee habit. Little did I know, my sister Molly and I were about to embark on a caffeine-fueled journey, gulping down quart jars of the stuff like there was no tomorrow.

The only problem? We were both five and seven months pregnant at the time. Needless to say, my mom had to stage a full-blown intervention after a health scare with my nephew Hamish. Coffee may not have been the culprit, but we learned the hard way that it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to fetal development.

Fast forward to the next summer – now Molly and I both had newborns and toddlers in tow. Guess what made a roaring comeback? You guessed it, iced coffee. We never went too crazy, just the occasional cup here and there. But this year? Oh, this year. Between the move, the stress, and the post-miscarriage blues, I found myself turning to cold brew on a near-daily basis. Don’t judge – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to stay sane!

The Cold Brew Revolution

The modern cold brew craze can be traced back to the introduction of the Toddy system in the 1960s. As the story goes, inventor Todd Simpson stumbled upon the technique while traveling in Guatemala. Served a carafe of chilled coffee concentrate and a pitcher of boiling water, he was struck by the smooth, less acidic flavor profile. Thus, the Toddy cold brew method was born.

But the cold brew revolution truly took off in the early 2000s, as coffee enthusiasts began experimenting with various techniques and recipes. Gone were the days of simply tossing hot-brewed coffee into the fridge and calling it a day. Cold brew had arrived, and it was here to stay.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, it all comes down to the science of solubility. You see, when you brew coffee with hot water, you’re able to extract a wide range of flavor compounds, from the bright, floral notes to the robust, chocolatey ones. But crank down the temperature, and those soluble bits just don’t come out to play in the same way.

That may sound like a downside, but cold brew aficionados like myself would beg to differ. Sure, you might miss out on some of those beautiful aromatics, but you’re left with a uniquely smooth, low-acid elixir that’s perfect for sipping on a sweltering summer day. And let’s not forget the crazy-good shelf life – we’re talking weeks, not days, before that cold brew starts to go stale.

Crafting the Perfect Cold Brew

Ready to join the cold brew revolution? It’s easier than you might think. The basic formula is simple: coffee, water, and a whole lot of patience. Here’s my go-to method:

  1. Measure and Grind: Start by weighing out your coffee and water. I like to use a 1:2 ratio, which translates to 1 cup of ground coffee for every 2 cups of water. As for the grind, aim for a coarse, even texture – think the consistency of sea salt.

  2. Steep and Strain: Combine the coffee and water in a large container, give it a good stir, and let it steep at room temperature for 24 hours. When the time is up, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter to remove the grounds.

  3. Store and Serve: Pour the concentrated cold brew into an airtight container and stash it in the fridge. When you’re ready to enjoy, simply dilute it with water, milk, or any other favorite mixer. I’m partial to a pinch of sea salt, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a splash of creamy, raw milk. Shake it all up over ice for the perfect summer pick-me-up.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – 24 hours? That’s a long time to wait! But trust me, the results are well worth it. This slow, steady extraction process yields a remarkably smooth, low-acid coffee that’s bursting with rich, chocolatey and nutty notes. And thanks to the lack of heat, that precious caffeine punch sticks around for weeks on end.

Endless Possibilities

Once you’ve mastered the basic cold brew method, the possibilities are endless. Try experimenting with different coffee beans and roast profiles to find your perfect match. Darker roasts tend to lend themselves beautifully to cold brew, with their inherent sweetness and velvety mouthfeel.

For a real treat, consider making a batch of homemade coffee liqueur. Simply combine your cold brew concentrate with a touch of sugar and your favorite spirit – vodka, rum, even whiskey if you’re feeling adventurous. Shake it up and pour it over ice for a grown-up version of an iced coffee.

Or maybe you’re more of a traditionalist. In that case, why not try your hand at a classic cold brew float? Just scoop a few scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream into a tall glass, then pour the cold brew concentrate over the top. Finish it off with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a truly indulgent summer sipper.

The beauty of cold brew is that it’s endlessly customizable. Whether you prefer it straight-up or dressed to the nines, this refreshing coffee concentrate is sure to become a summertime staple in your household. So why not whip up a batch today and discover the joys of the cold brew revolution for yourself?

Happy brewing, my fellow caffeine addicts! 🧊☕️

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