How to Make Cold Brew Like a Pro
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Written By: Brianna Snyder
The first time I ever heard of cold-brew coffee was with my mother in some central Massachusetts town. “Ew,” she said, her nose scrunching up. “No, thanks.”
That was, like, I don’t know, 1999 or something ancient. And I totally bought into my mom’s ew about it. When I saw all my friends drinking iced coffees, I imagined it tasted like room-temperature day-old sludge in the bottom of a mug somewhere. Probably with a cigarette in it. I could gag right now thinking about that.
So when I first had iced coffee–in 2005!!!–it was a Dunkin Donuts French vanilla iced coffee with cream and sugar and obviously to my young palate that was heaven on earth. And I’ve hardly drunk hot coffee since then, although as I’ve gotten older I’ve gradually fazed out the sweet stuff. No more French vanilla, no more pumps of pumpkin spice, no more extra sugar.
All of that is to underline that cold brew is really the way most of us take in our caffeine these days. Lots of us are sipping our icy drinks through St. Patrick’s Day. My husband and I cold-brew our coffee all year long. Our method is the nut milk bag method, where you just load up a teabag-looking thing with ground coffee and let it steep in a pitcher of water overnight. It makes for easy cleanup and a good-tasting cold coffee.
But it turns out there’s a better way.
According to Teah Teriele, marketing manager at Death Wish Coffee in Round Lake, New York, the traditional methods of making iced coffee are outdated.
For those unfamiliar with Death Wish, the Round Lake, New York-based coffee is known as the strongest in the world. Since 2012, DWC has carried the banner for most-caffeine-per-ounce coffee, which, incidentally, also happens to taste amazing. (That is, if you like a strong coffee, which, come on, don’t we all?)
Remember when you used to get those watery, lukewarm iced coffees from Dunkin Donuts sometimes, and it was such a bummer? That’s because what we were drinking in those miserable days was leftover hot coffee thrown in the fridge, which made for weak, thin, stale-tasting iced coffee. If there’s one thing that can be said for 2018, it’s that we are in the primo days of cold brewing and good eating and drinking in general.
So what’s the best way to get great iced coffee? Look to your trusty Chemex, of course. That pretty device, known for its extra-thick filtration method (which reduces bitterness), isn’t just ideal for hot coffee. You can make a mean cold brew, too.
“The reason our cold brew method is so appealing is you’re not getting that bitterness that comes with other methods,” Teriele says.
Want to do it the Death Wish way? Here’s their secret:
What you need:
Death Wish Coffee, ground coarsely
A Mason jar
Coffee filter (preferably Chemex)
1. Fill your Mason jar (or any container) a third of the way with coffee. The best thing about cold brew is that it is forgiving. Eyeball it, you're a risk taker. You've got this.
2. Coarsely grind your coffee. (Pre-ground coffee is too fine for this method.)
3. Add water. Fresh, filtered water below 40 degrees is best.
4. Shake it. Shake it good.
5. Wait 24 hours. Shake it every once in a while when you think of it.
6. If you've made enough for one serving, put the filter directly over your ice filled mug. Pour the coffee slurry directly over the filter into the mug. A regular coffee filter should work, but a Chemex filter is better if you have it.