One of my biggest pet peeves is ordering an iced coffee and watching the barista pour piping-hot coffee over ice, a sure way to yield an insipid, watered-down drink. Chilling hot-brewed coffee is marginally better, but cold-brewed coffee is where it’s at. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just time and a big pitcher, and you’ll have smooth, concentrated coffee that you can dilute with water, ice, or even a little booze.
Game plan: The coffee needs to steep for at least 12 hours, so plan accordingly.
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.
The resulting coffee from this brewing method is concentrated, so consider diluting it with equal parts milk or water. If you don’t heed this advice, don’t blame us for the jitters!
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
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.