It's already hot and sticky here on the East Coast, so I switched my morning cup of coffee over to iced a few weeks ago. In talking with friends, I'm amazed by how many people don't know how to make coldpress iced coffee... especially because it's so simple.
- High quality coffee beans* coarsely ground**
- French press OR a pitcher with cover, colander, coffee filters, and large bowl/second pitcher
- Cold water
Put your coffee beans into your French press/pitcher. The amount of beans varies upon how much coffee you're making. A good rule to keep in mind that you want coldpress iced coffee to be a little less than twice as strong as hot coffee. So, in my large (51oz) French press, I usually add 3 0.25oz scoops of coffee grounds to hot coffee. For coldpress iced coffee, I use about 5.5 0.25oz scoops of coffee grounds. You want the mixture to be quite strong because later you'll pour it over ice, watering it down.
Then, fill up your French press/pitcher with cold water. Don't use hot water, as it will release bitter flavors from the coffee grounds (this is why one can't simply make hot coffee in a coffeemaker, then stick it in the fridge -- it will taste bitter!) Then put the lid on your container. If using a French press, make sure that the plunger stays raised. Then, set your mixture aside to steep for about 12 hours. You can put it in the fridge, but my French press doesn't fit until the plunger is pushed down. I usually make my coldpress iced coffee while making dinner, so it has plenty of time to steep overnight (this is why it coldpress iced coffee at a coffee shop is more expensive than hot coffee, because it takes longer to prepare.)
The next morning all you need to do is filter your coffee. In a French press, this is as simple as pressing the plunger down. If you're using a pitcher, then you'll need a few more steps. Grab your colander and set it up above a second pitcher or large bowl. Lay your coffee filter in the center of the colander, then slowly pour your coldpress iced coffee through the filter separating the grounds from the coffee.
Once separated, pour your coldpress iced coffee over ice (protip: pour some coffee into your ice cube trays. Use these in your coldpress iced coffee so that it won't be watered down!) and mix with milk and sweetener as preferred.
*I will say, coldpress iced coffee is one time where the bean quality really matters. There's always a big difference between good and bad coffee. When coffee is hot, it's almost like a fine wine -- only experts can really tell the difference between good and great. However, with coldpress iced coffee, the bean quality makes a palatable difference. I know, I always roll my eyes whenever I read statements like that and think to myself, "well, I'm just going to use what I already have at home." That's fine! Your coffee will still be iced and still taste pretty good. But, I definitely noticed a difference when I switched from Target brand coffee over to local roasters.
**You want your beans ground coarsely if you're using a French press especially so that the grounds won't clog up the filter. If not using a French press, you can use fine grounds, but then you may want to add extra filter paper to ensure that no grounds are getting through.