Pouring a hot brew over ice is a sure way to yield watered-down iced coffee. Chilling hot-brewed coffee is only marginally better (you lose a significant amount of coffee aroma). The best method, by far, is cold brewing. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just time and a big pitcher. You’ll end up with a smooth, concentrated extract you can dilute with water, ice, or even a little booze. You can brew the coffee in a 32-ounce French press if you prefer. Place the ground coffee and water in the pitcher, place the plunger lid on top, but don’t press the plunger down. After the coffee grounds have steeped, gently press down on the plunger until the grounds reach the bottom of the pitcher. Then proceed with step 2 of the recipe. Whichever method you choose, the coffee needs to steep for at least 12 hours, so plan accordingly. Remember to make a batch of Simple Syrup before you begin.
- Yield: 2 cups of coffee concentrate
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 10 mins, plus 14 hours steeping and chilling time
- Active: 10 mins
For the coffee:
- 4 1/2 ounces coarsely ground coffee (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 3 1/2 cups cold water
- Milk, half-and-half, or water
- Simple Syrup, see above
For the coffee:
- Place the coffee grounds in a 2-quart pitcher, add the water, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
- Line a fine-mesh strainer with a standard coffee filter and fit it over a medium bowl. Working in batches, slowly pour the coffee into the filter until all of the liquid has passed through the strainer (the coffee will pass through in a slow stream; don’t force it through); stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the pitcher (don’t pour them in). Discard the grounds and the contents of the strainer.
- Wash and dry the pitcher. Transfer the strained coffee into the pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.
- For each cup of iced coffee, dilute the concentrate with an equal portion of milk, half-and-half, or water. Sweeten with simple syrup if desired and top with ice.